Silent Hill 3 review
The Silent Hill series is Konami's answer to Capcom's Resident Evil. Capcom's series began life on the PlayStation in 1996, and created the survival horror genre for the over 18s of the PlayStation generation. The series was hugely popular, with the PS1 seeing two sequels. However, Konami decided they wanted some of the action (literally!) and in 1999 released Silent Hill on the same market that had kick started Resident Evil; Japan. Silent Hill was no Resi-clone, it was a masterpiece of a survival horror title; arguably better, definitely scarier.
Although Resi has sneaked off to Nintendo's GameCube (an interesting choice considering Nintendo's 'kids-only' image at the moment - although Resident Evil: Outbreak will arrive on the PS2), Silent Hill is still available on the other machines (PS2, Xbox, and PC), and after the excellent SH2, Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo (KCE Tokyo) are bringing us another instalment on the PC.
In fact, a lot of comparisons have to be made between this game and its predecessor. Firstly, SH3 provides us with another seemingly innocent main character, this time a female named Heather, who also has a special history. The story itself, although different, does delve deeper into the madness that is the town of Silent Hill. On the graphics front, Silent Hill 3 again provides what can only be described as beautifully ugly surroundings, ramped up to the max by the higher level of detail capable on the PC. The game also benefits from new graphical enhancements which bring the enemies and fellow characters to life. We won't reveal any ending details, but we will say that like Silent Hill 2, this sequel does include multiple endings for you to obtain. In the sound department, the theme song is as equally brilliant to that of Silent Hill 2, and again, the PC benefits from the better sound capabilities.
Looking at the title separately, the sound department at KCET have done a very good job with their latest title. Not only does it have a wonderfully emotive rock soundtrack, but there is also plenty of atmospheric noise to listen out for, and all of which is delivered in glorious 3D sound, and which is appreciated more by high-end PC setups than your average PS2 user. The KCET team have also succeeded very well with the game's storyline - it is interestingly and provides for some great characters and enemies; both of which have been animated and delivered to pinpoint timing and effect by another group of individuals at the Konami studio. As said before, Silent Hill 3 benefits from the graphical update and all these features together provide for a unique atmosphere that can only be created by Silent Hill.
The presentation side of things has also seen great improvement in the sequel, with an improved, categorised menu system, as well as more options and secret options. PC conversion also hasn't led the series astray - the game features mouse support for looking and strafing, and the PC's nature means for quicker loading times, and quick saves instantly to the hard drive at the press of a key. However, not everything has seen big improvements as although Silent Hill 2 had near-perfect gameplay, the developers have seemed to have taken to the idea of "If it ain't broke, it don't need fixin'". For this reason, SH3 seems to offer very little that is actually new, slowing the progress of the series, and leaving us with some uninspired puzzles. Fans of SH2 may also be disappointed that the illustrious enemy, the Pyramid Head, that many knew and loved, has not made a return to the series. Despite these downfalls, Silent Hill 3 is the best of the series, and provides the most terrifying gaming experience aroun
Matt Bailey also contributed to this review
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