I am starting to get a little cynical with regards to all these HD remixes; backwards compatibility was a big thing early on for this current generation and was a selling point for me to upgrade, though sadly this has been slowly removed by most consoles, and why? Well you don’t make any more cash from old PS2 or Xbox titles sitting on a dusty shelf at home or charity shop. Like I say, cynical mad ramblings, but you can’t deny the cash boost to producers, handing the reigns of classic games for some small development team to update their back catalogue that was sitting stale and so the huge library of up-scaled classics are taken away from us and we are given the HD treatments. Well now it’s the turn of Konami and their survival horror classics in Silent Hill HD Collection.
This HD collection will leave fans vying for nostalgia with a bitter-sweet taste in their mouth.
To call this a collection though is overselling it quite a bit, with it being a bare bones release that leaves out the first and fourth titles, especially strange considering Silent Hill 3 is a direct sequel to the original PSOne version. Graphical differences may have been an issue, but when you see what’s on this disc that argument is thin at best. This HD collection will leave fans vying for nostalgia with a bitter-sweet taste in their mouth but thankfully newcomers are in for a treat.
Starting off with the classic Silent Hill 2, a rare game that over ten years ago scared the living bejeezus out of me and still manages to hold that fear, thanks to its chilling and twisted tale of James Sunderland as he ventures through Silent Hill, mysteriously invited by his dead wife to return to their old haunt. Silent Hill 2 is survival horror at its best, dropping you right in the thick of it and leaving it down to your wits to work out what is going on. With so many (at the time) fresh ideas it’s a welcome reminder to how good this game was when compared to more recent titles; from auto filling maps, a gripping storyline and a spine chilling soundtrack and sound effects that are still some of the best offered on any game. Sadly all the bad points are still here, with awkward controls and camera angles that will often make you lose your bearings.
Commonplace now, but when later released on the Xbox and later versions on the PS2, Silent Hill 2′s main scenario, Letter from Silent Heaven also include the sub scenario, Born from a Wish, which is also included on this disc, though it’s best to play this after completing the first part as there are lots of spoilers.
Silent Hill 3 is set quite a while after the end of the PSOne original and introduces us to Heather, who has some deep connections to the town. Though her life has been relatively normal, this seventeen year old is drawn back to Silent Hill, starting with a horrific dream based in a twisted amusement park, she then finds herself trying to escape a shopping mall to eventually piecing together what she has to do with Silent Hill. This version makes a serious graphical leap from Silent Hill 2 with it looking pretty close to what this generation has to offer. Though I understand why the PSone original would be all but impossible for an HD update, there is already such a huge graphic difference between 2 and 3 on this disc I am sure fans would not complain.
So ultimately what does the HD version offer over the originals? Well the graphics have been improved but as mentioned earlier with varying results, 2 is a lot smoother but still looks like a PS2 title, but somewhere along the way some bad code has crept in, with slowdown occurring quite often. There has been mentions of the fog being lightened, allowing to see unfinished areas previously hidden, that is not the case on the version I played (update?), as the thick and heavy fog is like a grey curtain permanently 5 meters in front of you.
Silent Hill 2 has two recorded vocal tracks, the original cast and the new version which you can select at the start of the game, where Silent Hill 3 just has the new voices, but why this has been done I do not know as they are both pretty bad, something we came to expect from games of this genre. Whilst it is not exactly Kermit the Frog being dubbed over Marlon Brandos Godfather fans will still be displeased, but for newcomers it will not change the experience greatly. Silent Hill 3 generally fares better with the game just bursting from the screen with intricate and well-designed characters and environments but just like Silent Hill 2, it suffers from terrible slowdown, mainly when a trophy pops or when in close proximity to more than one monster, with the game feeling like you are running in syrup.
One change you may notice is that controls have been tweaked a little, now offering a 2D and 3D option, with 2D using the LS to point and walk (the better) or classic 3D where you push forward to walk and steer left and right.
What we have here is two classic games almost ruined by an extremely lazy conversion.
To sum up, what we have here is two classic games almost ruined by an extremely lazy conversion, with no extras, no making of videos, no selectable tracks from the game and no artwork, making this a disappointment for the original fans, as it offers nothing new. A remake utilizing the recent Downpour engine would have made more sense.
Just like the classic multiple endings of Silent Hill, there are a few options when considering purchasing this collection, if you are a hardcore Silent Hill fan then avoid as the changes will just bring upset; if you own an original PS3 with backwards compatibility or a PS2 then pick up the original discs, if not then it is well worth your time as these are still great games and the changes made will not affect the overall enjoyment.
Rating: GoodReview Policy(version tested: PS3)
You can order the Silent Hill HD Collection from ShopTo on PS3 and Xbox 360.