Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (Video Game) - Dread Central
Connect with us
shsm.jpg shsm.jpg

Reviews

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (Video Game)

Published

on

Silent Hill: Shattered MemoriesReviewed by Ryan “Plagiarize” Acheson

Available for the Nintendo Wii (reviewed), PlayStation 2, PSP

Rated M for Mature

Published by Konami


This winter Silent Hill: Shattered Memories rolled out across the country fittingly accompanied by the first snow storms of the season. For those that haven’t been following closely, Shattered Memories is a ‘reimagining’ of the original Silent Hill game, brought to us by Climax Studios and Konami.

That first Silent Hill game was set during a snow shower, this one is set during a white out, and that’s but one of the many far reaching changes you’ll find here. Given that Climax were behind Silent Hill: 0rigins on PSP which many felt was overly traditional and played it too close to the formula, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Shattered Memories strays so far away from not only the plot of the original game, but indeed the gameplay traditions and series hallmarks we’ve gotten used to over the last decade.

Gone is the cult and all of their religious symbols. Gone are the industrial themes. Gone are the health drinks and ampoules. Gone is Alessa. Gone completely is the combat. So what remains? Well first and foremost Harry and Cheryl Mason begin their journey much as before. Harry loses control of his car on an icy road just outside of Silent Hill (which is now in upstate NY). The car crashes and on reawakening Harry finds his daughter Cheryl missing. A father’s desperate search for that daughter follows, and the revelations that come out of that are equally as surprising as the ones in the original game, if not more so.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (click for larger image)

Another thing that hasn’t changed, the constant for the series, namely composer, producer and occasional director Akira Yamaoka provides what may prove to be his last soundtrack for the series. It’s sad to think that this might be the last Silent Hill soundtrack as he’s left Konami since finishing up this one, but I’m happy to say that this is up there with his best work on the series. Mary Elizabeth McGlynn lends her vocal talents to a few of the tracks, and as ever the combination is haunting. Surprisingly a cover version of ‘Always on My Mind’ is a particular stand out.

Climax brings something else you expect from a Silent Hill game. Technical brilliance. Just as they did amazing things on the PSP, they’ve done amazing things here showing just what a talented developer can squeeze out of the Wii when they put their heart into it. It’s not as good looking as an Xbox 360 or PS3 game, but honestly, I doubt you’ll get much closer than this. Incredible lighting effects. Detailed environments. High res textures. It’s an amazing job.

With your trusty flash light in hand, which beautifully illuminates the snowy night and dark interiors, you’ll try and pick up and then follow Cheryl’s trail. Long time fans may expect to know their way around Silent Hill, and may indeed recognize some of the street names and general layout, but Climax have definitely built their own Silent Hill here.

Though the town has changed, Harry’s journey is a very similar one. He’ll search the streets, the hospital, the school and many other types of locations you’ll remember from the first game in the series. I say ‘types of locations’ because while the names of many places are the same as they were in the original, these are not the same locations.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (click for larger image)

One trusty tool that has been taken away from you is the radio that used to crackle as weirdness approached. In its place is Harry’s phone, which comes complete with a camera and GPS. You’ll use all of its functions as you explore and investigate the weird goings on, and it comes into use regularly. You’ll meet a lot of people with familiar names too, and some of them may even look familiar depending on how the choices you make play out.

Shattered Memories is a game that tries to work out who you are and what makes you tick. It does this in both overt and subtle ways. The chapters of the game are bookended with time spent in a psychiatrist’s office. Your responses to the questions and tests of the psychiatrist will change both obvious and subtle things.

You’ll be very aware at times that these ‘sessions’ have had a direct impact on the game, but there are many other ways the game keeps tabs on you that are not going to be so obvious in a single play through. Spend too long staring at sexual imagery and the characters you’ll meet will be dressed more provocatively, for example. Given the choice of going into two different buildings, the door you attempt to open first will sometimes decide which of the two buildings is accessible. The game takes these choices and uses them to build a psychological profile of the player. They’ve tried to guess what scares and disturbs you, without ever directly asking you. Sometimes it’s going to take what it thinks your values are and then smash them in front of you.

Monsters which start out as featureless mannequins will turn into something else based on which type of person the game pegs you as. I can only speak for myself here when I say that in my case the game certainly had me pegged. The forms that the monsters began to take as the game went on were definitely more disturbing to me than the ones they had at the beginning. Unlike other games in the series Harry has no way of defending himself. Fortunately the monsters only come out when the snow stops and the ice encroaches, engulfing buildings, people, doors … freezing everything. It is these moments where Harry finds himself truly alone, being hunted in the dark.

While the environments are usually quite linear, in these moments when everything freezes over, they turn into disorienting mazes that loop back on themselves and seem designed to be as confusing as possible. You’ll usually know where the way out is thanks to a GPS application on Harry’s trusty cell phone, but you’ll have little more than a vague idea of how to get there, and precious little time to pull out the phone in order to check whether you’re heading in the right direction because the monsters will be right on your tail.

When they catch you, they’ll grab a hold of you, and hold you in place while attacking you. This allows numerous enemies to latch onto you at once, unless you can throw them off by throwing the Wii remote and Nunchuck in the appropriate direction for whichever side you’ve been grabbed.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (click for larger image)

For the most part you’re going to want to run for your life. Charging through doors, scrambling through tight spaces, clambering over walls and hoisting yourself up onto rooftops. There are a few other things you can do in those moments other than run. There are hiding places where you can catch your breath. If an enemy is blocking the path you want to take, you can use one of these hiding places sometimes to wait until the enemy has moved aside before continuing your mad dash, but if you stay hidden too long the enemies will sniff you out eventually. You’ll pass various objects that you can topple as you go past in order to slow the monsters behind you. You’ll want to topple them just as you pass to ensure that you don’t create an obstacle for yourself in the process.

Most usefully you may stumble upon a flare, and the burning light keeps back the monsters for as long as it burns. While you’re holding it, you can’t check your phone to see if you’re heading in the right direction, so if you don’t know that you’re going the right way, you can always drop the flare and take refuge next to its red glow while you pull out your phone to figure out where the hell you are and where the hell you need go. You can also drop the flare in a corridor to hold the enemies back as you press on.

If you do take the time to check your phone, you’ll see it shows a trail of where you’ve been, and also highlights the monsters as little dots so you can see how close they are to bearing down on you. Don’t expect to just be able to always run for the exit though. Sometimes there are going to be puzzles you have to solve in order to get there. Once you do reach the exit though, you can breathe a sigh of relief because you’ll know that you are safe, and that it’ll be a little while before the ice world comes creeping back.

Progress in the regular world is done through character interaction and puzzle solving. The puzzles in the regular world don’t involve any back tracking and most make great use of the Wii remote’s motion control. It’s all very intuitive, as you slide and rotate and shake things usually to find a key for a door in the same room. There’s nothing here that’s going to tax your brain on the same level as the puzzles in the original Silent Hill but there are a lot more of them, and they generally make a lot more sense than some of the abstract puzzles the series used to be known for.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (click for larger image)

All in all whether or not you come away from Shattered Memories feeling that it’s a proper Silent Hill game is going to be down to what you think makes a proper Silent Hill game. For me, it’s a combination of haunting atmosphere with plunges into nightmarish twisted otherworldy versions of the areas you’ve just been exploring, so for me it’s definitely a Silent Hill game. For others the changes to the plot and gameplay may be too much to still think of the game as Silent Hill.

One thing that is definitely going to be divisive is the chase sequences. They work just fine, and while I’ve heard some complaints of them feeling trial and error I experienced no such issues, generally able to just survive on my wits each time without any foreknowledge of where to go. Throwing off the enemies doesn’t always work, and it’s a bit odd that you can’t check your phone and carry a flare. Given that you can only walk while checking your phone, it wouldn’t really give you a huge advantage to be able to do both at the same time.

As cool as the morphing monsters are, it’s also a shame that the changes are just cosmetic, and that there is only one type to worry about. It feels like a fairly solid proof on concept, but the stealth elements could be enhanced. I definitely didn’t miss the combat, and what’s here works, it could just be a lot better.

One thing that definitely works well is the psychological profiling. You won’t know until purposefully replaying and making different choices just how much the game is changing, and really it’s just altering details along the same story until the ending, but it’s still altering a lot, and while the characters may end up at the same places, you’ll meet very different versions of those characters on subsequent replays.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (click for larger image)

And you will want to replay to see all those changes and to get your money’s worth. First time through the game is about six or seven hours long, but on subsequent plays you can probably get through in less than three hours when you know exactly what to do and where to go. To be honest, if the game was any longer it’d feel like a bit of a waste since who’d both replaying a twenty hour game numerous times?

As for the ending … well, there is more than one, and it would be remiss for me to spoil any of them, but the ending I got about blew my mind.

Shattered Memories may have some flaws, the frame rate mightn’t be stable, the chase sequences perhaps could be improved, and a bit better integrated, something to fear while creeping around in the regular world wouldn’t hurt either… but even given all that it’s really stands testimony to what interactive fiction can aspire to.

Because really, that’s what Shattered Memories is. It’s an interactive story. It’s a story that works hard to get under your skin and inside your sub consciousness, and at that it succeeds. The chase sequences may be weaker than the rest of the game, but they’re still probably better than the combat they replace. It’s not a perfect game, but it’s a wonderfully realized experiment that Climax and Konami should be proud of. They aimed for something original in a series that was growing tired, and they succeeded.

If you own a Wii and are looking for something to play to ride out the next snow storm … I can’t think of anything better to do with your time than cuddle up with the lights out and the volume up loud. Then make your friends play it and watch to see their version of the story.

Then play it again.

Game Features

  • Single player

    “>“>“>“>“>

    4 1/2 out of 5

    Discuss Silent Hill: Shattered Memories in the Dread Central forums!

    Get this site 100% Ad Free Support Us on Patreon!
  • Continue Reading
    Comments

    Reviews

    Through the Cracks – Trick or Treat (1986) Review

    Published

    on

    Starring Marc Price, Tony Fields, Lisa Orgolini, Glen Morgan, Gene Simmons, and Ozzy Osbourne

    Directed by Charles Martin Smith


    I have been a horror fan for more than half of my life at this point. Meaning I have seen most of the quality horror offerings under the sun. But that said, every once in awhile a classic sneaks past so we wanted to create this “Through the Cracks” review section for such films.

    Case in point, I had never seen the Halloween horror flick Trick or Treat until last night. I know, right? How the hell did that happen? But these things do happen and so for everyone that has seen the flick a million times, this will be a review of the movie from a super horror fan that – at the age of 33 – is seeing Trick or Treat for the very first time.

    Now let’s get to it.

    First off you have to love the movie’s plot. Mixing horror and heavy metal seems like a given, yet preciously few films Frankenstein these two great tastes together.

    Like many of you out there, I am a big metal fan as well as a big horror fan. The two seem to go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Or Jason and horny campers.

    I dig bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and even those hair metal bands (Dokken forever!) and I’m well aware of the legends surrounding playing these records backward.

    Off the top of my head, the only other flick that combines the two to this degree is the (relatively) recent horror-comedy Deathgasm. I say more horror-metal flicks! Or should we call it Metal-Horror? Yeah, that’s a much more metal title.

    It only makes sense that someone, somewhere would take the idea of “What if Ozzy Osbourne really was evil and came back from the dead (you know, if he had passed away during his heyday) to torment a loner fan?” Great premise for a movie!

    And Trick or Treat delivers on the promise of this premise in spades. Sammi Curr is an epic hybrid of the best of the best metal frontmen and his resurrection via speaker is one of the great horror birthing scenes I have seen in all my years.

    Add to that the film feels like a lost entry in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. More specifically the film feels like it would fit snugly in between two of my favorite entries in that series, Dream Warriors and The Dream Master.

    This movie is 80’s as all f*ck and I loved every minute of it.

    And speaking of how this film brought other minor classics to the forefront of my brain, let’s talk about the film’s central villain, Sammi Curr. This guy looks like he could share an epic horror band with the likes of Mary Lou from Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II and the Drill Killer rocker from Slumber Party Massacre Part II.

    Picture that band for a moment and tell me they aren’t currently playing the most epic set in Hell as we speak. I say let’s see an Avengers-style series of films based on these minor horror icons sharing the stage and touring the country’s high school proms!

    In the end Trick or Treat has more than it’s fair share of issues. Sammi Curr doesn’t enter the film until much too late and is dispatched way too easily. Water? Really? That’s it?

    That said, the film is still a blast as director Charles Martin Smith keeps the movie rocking like an 80’s music video with highlights being Sammi’s rock show massacre at the prom and his final assault on our hero teens in the family bathroom.

    Rockstar lighting for days.

    Even though the film has issues (zero blood, a rushed ending) none of that mattered much to this horror hound as the film was filled to the brim with striking horror/metal imagery and a killer soundtrack via Fastway and composer Christopher Young.

    Plus you’ve got to love the cameos by Gene Simmons (boy, his character just dropped right out of the movie, huh?) and Ozzy Osbourne as a mad-as-hell Preacher that isn’t going to take any more of this devil music. P.S. Watch for the post-credits tag.

    More than a few of my closest horror buddies have this film placed high on their annual Halloween must-watch lists. And after (finally) viewing the film for myself, I think I just may have to add the film to mine as well. Preferably on VHS.

    Trick or Treat is an 80’s horror classic. If you dig films like Popcornand if you put the film off like I did, remedy that tonight and slap a copy in the old VHS/DVD player.

    Just don’t play it backward… God knows what could happen.

    All said and done, I enjoyed the hell out of my first viewing of Trick or Treat. But what do YOU think of the film? Make sure to hit us up and let us know below or on social media!

    Now bring on Trick or Treat 2: The Prom Band from Hell, featuring Sammi Curr, Mary Lou Maloney, and Atanas Ilitch’s Driller Killer from Slumber Party Massacre Part II!

    • Trick or Treat (1986) 3.5
    3.5

    Summary

    Charles Martin Smith’s Trick or Treat is a sure-fire Halloween treat for fans of 80’s horror flicks, as well as fans of heavy metal music.

    Sending
    User Rating 3.62 (21 votes)
    Get this site 100% Ad Free Support Us on Patreon!
    Continue Reading

    Reviews

    AHS: Cult Review – Clowns, Cults, Politics, and Peters

    Published

    on

    Starring Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson, Billie Lourd, Cheyenne Jackson, Frances Conroy, Mare Winningham, and Allison Pill

    Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk


    ** NO SPOILERS **

    It’s here. We’ve reached the end. The newest season of “American Horror Story” has ended and now we are here to provide you guys with our season review of AHS: Cult.

    Spoiler free.

    To start things off let me say I’m not the world’s biggest fan of “American Horror Story”. It breaks down like this: I enjoyed the absolute hell out of the first season of the series (“Murder House”), couldn’t get through “Asylum” (I know, I know, I’ve tried), dug “Coven” for what it was, really enjoyed “Freak Show”, and again I couldn’t get into “Hotel” or “Roanoke”.

    That’s the story of me and “American Horror Story”. Plain And simple. But what did I think of the new seventh season of the notorious horror anthology series? Let’s find out.

    Back when the seventh season of AHS was first announced (then going by the title “AHS: Election”) I was immediately intrigued by the new season because I heard it would not include any supernatural elements. Like the fourth season, “Freak Show”.

    Now I’m a fan of ghosts and weird creature-men with drills for d*cks, don’t get me wrong. But the series has thus far relied almost exclusively on horrors of the supernatural variety (other than “Freak Show”) so this major change of pace was again welcomed by this guy.

    Instead of vampires, aliens, and witches this season relied on terrors of the mind. Psychological fears and anxieties. The horrors man does to man. Deep issues.

    Oh, and clowns. Like a lot of clowns.

    But just because this new season didn’t include anything supernatural, that doesn’t mean the 11-episode season wasn’t filled with twisted visuals and horrifically disturbing acts. No, sir. This season boasted some showstoppers including S&M, gimps, and a house of horrors that wouldn’t be out of place in a Rob Zombie flick. It was all good.

    But let’s backtrack a bit here.

    Allow me to rundown the season’s plot for those who may be unaware. “AHS: Cult” tells the tale of a world post-election night. The literal dawn of Trump’s America. In one corner we have Sarah Paulson’s soccer mom, trying to fight through life with a series of crippling phobias (including clowns, holes, blood, and being a good person).

    And in the other corner, we have Evan Peter’s angry, white (blue-haired) male, looking to seize Trump’s new position of power to bring about the end of… Actually, I want this to be a spoiler-free season review, so I’m just going to say the dude’s got big plans.

    Like Manson-size plans. Let’s leave it at that.

    With these two characters established, the new season then proceeds to send them spiraling into a collision course of political sabotage, intrigue, and clown-based nope, nope, nope-ing that can only end with one – or both – of them dead as Dillinger.

    Overall “AHS: Cult” belonged end-to-end to Mr. Evan Peters. The young actor has continued to show his striking range from season to season of Ryan Murphy’s horror show and this season was no different. Peters’ turn as not only Kai, the blue-haired leader of the titular cult, but as infamous leaders such as David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Charles Manson – to name a few – owed this season.

    I can only hope he doesn’t pull a Jessica Lange and opt-out of more AHS next year.

    Speaking of top performances, “AHS: Cult ” showcases some other chilling and memorable turns with Alison Pill’s strangely vulnerable, put-upon wife character being the best next to Peters in my eyes. This actress needs to be in more films/TV!

    Along with Pill, actress Billie Lourd killed it time and time again. The “Scream Queens” breakout star and Carrie Fisher spawn was yet again a highlight in her second Ryan Murphy series. Bet she has the starring role in next season. Mark my words.

    Add to that, the season also boasts a handful of fun cameos, including John Carroll Lynch’s return as Twisty the Clown, Emma Roberts as a bitchy reporter that will do anything to end up on top, and Lena Dunham as SCUM Manifesto writer Valerie Solanas. The cameo cast killed it and I wish they would have been present for more episodes. What are you gonna do?

    On the sour side of the season, I didn’t dig Sarah Paulson’s character. At all. But I’m sure that was the point. Right? I’m still not sure. But, boy, I wouldn’t even want to be stuck in line behind her at a Starbucks for three minutes, let alone spend the better part of this season’s 11-hours with her and her whiny bullshite. Urgh.

    That said, she pulled it out by the finale. That’s all I’ll say.

    In the end, I enjoyed this season as much as – if not more – than any other of the series. “Murder House” will still no doubt go on as my favorite season of the series, but “AHS: Cult” will rank third after season one and “Freak Show”.

    While I was on the fence about the season after three episodes, the show ended up ditching Paulson’s character (and/or shifting her arch) after a lull so the episodes picked up quickly. Whenever the season turned its focus back towards Peters (in whichever incarnation he was playing at the time) the show got better and better. Every time.

    Not a bad way to spend my Tuesday night for the past 11 weeks.

    Bring on season 12.

    • American Horror Story: Cult (2018)
    3.5

    Summary

    The seventh season of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story was Evan Peters’ show all the way through. The young actor pulled out all the stops time and time again to make what may have been a lackluster supernatural-free season a winner.

    Sending
    User Rating 4.14 (22 votes)
    Get this site 100% Ad Free Support Us on Patreon!
    Continue Reading

    News

    The Axiom Review – A Stylish and Clever Slice of Independent Horror

    Published

    on

    By

    Starring Hattie Smith, Zac Titus, Nicole Dambro

    Directed by Nicholas Woods


    The Axiom is an ambitious, well directed, impressively acted and stunningly shot independent horror film that has just a few, teensy little flaws holding it back from greatness (and therefore will have to settle for just being really, really good, instead).

    The first thing you realize when watching The Axiom is that this is a beautiful film. Everything is framed and shot in a lush and stylish manner, but one which is always tonally appropriate for the scene.

    The second thing you’ll notice, and keep noticing as the film plays out, is that the movie really struck gold with this cast. Not only is there a total lack of the sort of stilted and unnatural acting seen in countless other microbudget horror affairs, but the performances are genuinely fantastic across the board. The main characters are believably chill and relatably normal in the early scenes, and the acting remains just as impressive once things start getting a bit more… intense. It’s not often that an independent horror film has so many good performances that it makes it hard to pick the movie’s acting VIP, but that is undeniably the case here. Taylor Flowers delivers what is probably the showiest performance (and does it very well, indeed), but the entire cast really is quite good.

    The central premise of the film is both interesting and original, and touches upon the real life fact (given some recent attention in the ‘Missing 411’ books and documentary) that a lot more people sure seem to go missing out in the woods than seems reasonable, while simultaneously weaving all sorts of folklore, fairy tales and urban legends into the mix. It’s also clever in the way that it very naturally reveals aspects to the relationships between characters that serve to later – or sometimes retroactively – explain some of the more questionable decisions they make or attitudes they display. While that may sound like screenwriting 101, it’s surprising how many films fail to do this. The Axiom rewards the viewer’s attention in other ways as well, with many aspects of the movie that initially feel odd or unnatural receiving reasonable explanations (within the context of the movie) by the end. It’s not quite as challenging (or as rewarding) in this regard as, say, something like Session 9, but it does add a nice layer of complexity to the storytelling.

    The film’s score, by Leo Kaliski, is also quite good. There may be a moment here or there where the music hits an overly familiar beat, but overall it not only fits the movie’s tone, but does quite a bit to help set that tone as well.

    The only thing that I don’t feel the movie quite pulls off – and I’m trying to be vague here, because I feel like the less you know going into this film, the better – is some of the makeup effects work. The gore stuff is very well executed, but some of the other stuff feels like it was crafted with the intention of shooting it in a more… stylized manner. Instead, filmed as it is here, the result is sometimes less than impressive and can fail to make the impact that the movie seems to be implying that it should. And while some of what the makeup effects lack in execution is made up for with the ingenuity and creativity of their design, it’s still a bit of a shame when they don’t quite pull them off because, aside from a few niggles that I have with the writing, the effects are the only aspect of the film that occasionally fails to live up to the high level of technical proficiency that The Axiom otherwise demonstrates.

    ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:

    • Man, the acting in this movie is really good. The dialogue may stumble once or twice, but these actors always sell it anyway.
    • Give back Mia Sara’s DNA, Hattie Smith!
    • If you’re going to put your female lead in shorts this small, I hope you’re not sensitive to viewers unleashing a nonstop parade of “Has anyone seen my pants / OH GOD WHERE ARE MY PANTS!” jokes.
    • “You just pop this here ‘Blair Witch Stick Person / Anarchy sign’ sticker up on that there windshield of yours, and them park rangers? Well – heh heh – they won’t bother you none, no sir.” Hmmmmm…
    • The film really is shot amazingly well – better than a lot of mainstream releases. Cinematographer Sten Olson has a real future ahead of him.
    • As does writer / director Nicholas Woods, for that matter. Any director who can get this level of quality out of their cast and crew on their first ever film is someone to keep an eye on.
    • “I’ll make a run for it and get help,” says the female lead, and I’m like “Yeah, let her go – she has no pants to weigh her down.”
    • The gore effects in the movie are both realized and utilized very well.
    • Welcome back to horror movies, “I’ll be right back” dialogue spoken unironically by and/or to ill-fated characters.
    • The Axiom
    4.0

    Summary

    In the end, The Axiom is a solid and entertaining flick that manages to wring a level of quality and originality out of the somewhat tired “Don’t Go in the Woods” horror subgenre not seen since 2012’s Cabin in the Woods. The cinematography and acting are hugely impressive, it features a nice, unnerving score, the premise is original and captivating, and the whole thing moves at a nice pace that helps keep the film’s flaws from dragging it down.

    Sending
    User Rating 3.95 (20 votes)
    Get this site 100% Ad Free Support Us on Patreon!
    Continue Reading

    Go Ad Free!

    Support Dread Central on Patreon!

    Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

    * indicates required

    From Around the Web

    Trending