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Being a more family orientated console my Wii has always been lacking in some of the more adult themed games. I really wanted a game that would not just entertain me, but also get my pulse racing just like that first time I saw the dogs jump through the windows in the original Resident Evil game. So when I learned that the Silent Hill franchise would be making its way over onto the Wii, I just couldn’t wait to sample this survival horror game in all its dark and spooky glory. The game was released on 4th March 2010 and is basically a re-imaging of the original game in the series. This time around however the motion activated controllers of the Wii give this game a breath of fresh air. As with many other games on the Wii you, as the player are far more involved in the game than what you would be if using just your plain old joypad, and this game takes advantage of everything the Wii has at its disposal.
The game centres on Harry Mason a father who has been involved in a car crash with his daughter. When he awakens from the crash his daughter is nowhere to be seen, and so begins his quest to find her and discover just what is going on around him in this seemingly sleepy town. Along the way you are offered a number of different choices which will in turn alter the way the characters and scenes will appear and interact with you later in the game. The game takes place in three distinctive styles, firstly a form of exploration and puzzle solving, secondly in the “nightmare” sections which see Harry running for his life from faceless deformed creatures, and finally in a kind of psych evaluation with a doctor asking various questions on different subjects which will bare a relevance to the proceeding part of the game.
The game is played in a third person format with the action being seen from over the shoulder of the main character Harry. The unique control devices of the Wii are given a full work out as the Wiimote provides your character with the ability to look round and interact with objects such as turning door knobs or manipulating objects and the Wii Nunchuck providing your character with the means to move around the world of Silent Hill. Alongside these control abilities the Wiimote is also given a very interesting new function as the inbuilt speaker on it converts the Wiimote into a telephone to enable you to hear calls that you make or receive to your cell phone.
Despite the Wii’s naturally low graphical capabilities in comparison to its rival console formats the games overall look is handled very well. Everything from the smooth and fluid movements of the characters, to the wonderful eerie backdrops that make up the game are among some of the finest you are likely to encounter on any Wii title. However it is the finishing touches that really show just how much work has gone into this aspect of the game as we see the chilled air being expelled from Harry as he breathes, and the spooky figures that suddenly dart past the corner of your eye and very nearly make you reach for a clean pair of underwear!
The characters voices, though not by world famous actors are all well played with the likes of veteran Silent Hill vocalist Mary Elizabeth McGlynn once more making an appearance in the gaming series with a beautiful rendition of the song “You Were Always on My Mind”. The real star of the sound aspect of the game is brought to us via the Wiimote’s cell phone ability as eerie voice after eerie voice is played down it just to keep the tension of the game as high as possible to the point of almost nerve shattering. Just like with the graphics the attention to detail is really quite remarkable with every aspect of sound being included in the game even down to Harry’s breathing.
The game itself will last the average gamer several hours and due to the variable options that are presented to you along the way will lead the game into taking slightly different routes each time you play. Though the game doesn’t have any real side missions (short of the odd collectible which seem to serve little to no purpose,) and is told in a linear form the game becomes so involving that playing it a second or even third time does not prove boring or repetitive to the player. So I would certainly say that this game does have a good degree of re-playability, however due to the sometimes jump-out-of-skin moments within the game some may find just the once round to be more than enough for the nerves to take.
Prior to this game I had not really played on any of the Silent Hill games so I knew very little about what to except from it in general, and quite honestly I was taken back with how I could have missed out on such an incredibly well crafted piece of gaming literature in the form of this series. Not only was I treated to a full immersion in just what the Wii could be truly capable of doing, but also I was shockingly entertained by just what the game was offering to me. Do be warned that this game is really not for the faint of heart or those in a nervous deposition as even the toughest of gamers will find themselves diving behind the sofa on some parts of this game.
If you should embark upon this game I hope you make it out of Silent Hill with your sanity in tack.