Silent Hill was released for the PlayStation in North America on January 31, 1999; in Japan on March 4, 1999; and in Europe on August 1, 1999. I was a young pre-teen at that time and from the moment I played it I was instantly hooked. The game was dark, it was confusing and it was downright creepy. I spent countless hours trying to unlock every secret or Easter egg I could. As the years went Konami released many other Silent Hill video games, and I being the avid fan I was just had to play them all. Throughout my Silent Hill adventures I have come across so many unique “secrets”. Some of them simple some of them not so simple. So through it all here is my favorite Silent Hill Games not in any particular order, but just for me to gush about what I love Silent Hill, now be scared and enjoy.
Silent Hill – The game that started it all
For many of us the game that kicked our love for horror survival into high gear is usually 1 of 2 games. Resident Evil or Silent Hill, for me it was the Silent Hill franchise. The storyline for the first game starts simple but then as the games usually do, gets downright ominous. You play as a man named Harry Mason who goes in search of his adopted daughter Cheryl. While searching for her he comes across the fictional town of Silent Hill and realizes that this town isn’t like a normal town. He comes across a immense amount of demons and monsters, my favorites were always the nurses. Through the game you have to search endlessly for keys, passcodes and weapons. You need a decent range of weapons to make it through this game because every demon or monster you come up against is different. From dead dogs, to the undefeatable (it seemed) bosses, it gave me hours of frustrated amusement.
To this very day I often find myself comparing every single video game to this series. Yes, it was confusing, yes it was frustrating, but by everything I swear it still holds up where fear and psychology are concerned.
Silent Hill 2 – The Nightmare Continues
Silent Hill 2 was the continuation…of sorts from the first game. It was released in September 2001 as the second installment to the franchise and was also rereleased for xbox 360 with upgraded visuals etc. Silent Hill 2 due to its rerelease is one of the games that I have played the most. Almost every Silent Hill game has a few different endings you can unlock by achieving specific goals, my goal was to achieve them all. Which sadly, I have yet to do. But just like the first game Silent Hill 2 did not dissapoint me. It confused me, but left me wanting more and more. In this game we play as James Sunderland who enters the town after receiving a letter apparently written by his deceased wife, saying she is waiting for him in Silent Hill. He later comes across a young woman who strongly resembles his wife, Silent Hill 2 focuses more on your ability to collect items and solve puzzles than it does combat and uses those items to coordinate which ending you will achieve. Still filled with creep monsters of all kinds we come across the continuous impossible to defeat, Pyramid Head. The other monsters also got a good upgrade as well to look more realistic and creepy, it was scary to play in the dark.
Silent Hill 2 had a fascinating visual aspect to it that is hard to find in other games besides the silent hill franchise. There is something so specific and so dark about the atmosphere that it is hard to find it any other video games because it has yet to be accomplished or duplicated. All I can say is that in this one you find out who Alessa is and who she will become.
Silent Hill 3– Continuing the horror
Silent Hill 3 is the one game out of them all I can honestly say I have played the most. It was released in may 2003 and for me This game has been wrapped up over and over hoping to unlock those specific goals to get the hidden endings. I wont post any spoilers because who likes spoilers? Not me! You come across a tyraid of new monsters, bigger scarier, louder and faster.
With a even more confusing storyline you play as Heather, who after waking up in a diner from a nightmare (which you have to play through) finds herself face to face with a man who is a private investigator of some sort Heather gets freaked out and runs into the bathroom at the mall and then climbs out the nearest window. So now its maneuvering through the backdoors and closets of this huge mall and your main goal all the while being to get home to your father who you later find out isn’t your real father. This whole game is one giant mind screw, filled with new threats, new weapons and new riddles and codes to try to solve its honestly the best of the best. The conclusion of the game doesn’t answer much but again it leaves you wanting more. Everyone who loves horror needs to play this game at least once to its conclusion.
Silent Hill 4- The Room– Confused yet?
Silent Hill 4 The Room, although I enjoyed it wasn’t well received. Some people had a love hate relationship going for it. It is by far one of the most confusing of the games that I have played. Unlike the previous installments, which were set primarily in the town of Silent Hill, this game is set in the fictional town of South Ashfield and you play as Harry Townsend who is basically locked in his apartment and your main objective is to unlock each chain by completing specific aspects in the game. Through it all everytime he enters the portal as I call it, he enters a new realm of I guess you could say hell.
The game itself relies heavily on combat and your ability to pick and choose which items are important and puzzle solving. With new demons to strike, The Room although not well received by some was loved by others. Although it isn’t my ultimate favorite, it is a entertaining game and still has that heavy obscure horror aspect which i love and always will love about the silent hill franchise.
Silent Hill- Homecoming– Skipping the Origins
Although Silent Hill Origins was a great game it unfortunately came out on a console I didn’t have so therefore I never played it. I know, crazy right! I do intend to at least once someday. But Skipping Origins im going to dive right into Silent Hill Homecoming. This game was released September 30, 2008, in North America for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. This game follows Alex Shepard a soldier returning home from the war. The strangest part about this game is that it doesn’t exactly take place in Silent Hill. It takes place in Shepards Glen which is kind of like a offshot suburb of Silent Hill. Basically Alex comes home to find his father and brother are missing and his mother through all her grief has gone into a complete state of catatonia making her communication limited. The gameplay is quite similar to the other games, Alex has to explore various aspects of the town collect random trinkets and solve puzzles, all the while trying to survive monsters and solve the mind numbing case of his disappearing brother. After searching all of Shepards Glen you then get to venture into Silent Hill and as usual thats where the real fun begins. The best part of the game is that it takes into account Alex’s soldier status so his hand to hand combat is alot more advanced that previous games. Just like many of the other games you can unlock specific endings depending on what you accomplish in the game. The conclusion of the game is shocking and the twist is rather ominious and depressing. But all in all its not a bad game and it is enjoyable seeing a new side to the Silent Hill franchise.
Silent Hill- Downpour– Skipping the Shattered Memories
Skipping Shattered memories is something that have to do at this point because again it came out on a console I simply did not own and still dont own. So with that being said lets jump right into Silent Hill Downpour. Released in March of 2012 Silent Hill Downpour had all of us oldschool fans so excited for the new addition. Especially since it was released on a console I owned. I myself wasn’t disapointed, using the aspect of achievements in Silent Hill was a completely new aspect and I couldn’t wait to see what they came up with. In this game you play as Murphy a escaped convict. Although not exactly open world it allows for more vast exploration than most previous games which was always a one way street without any other side aspects or ambitions. Downpour changed all that, giving you other ambitions to achieve should you choose to do so. As well as giving you decisions to make which are essential to the games conclusion. The game is a long tedious expedition but in the end it is a fun as hell game. There is so much to explore and see, with new monsters a gripping yet as usual confusing storyline Downpour is very underrated.
That concludes my list of my favorite Silent Hill games. Without holding bias to Shattered memories or Origins I do hope to one day play them and perhaps write a whole new review on them as well. What were your favorites?