Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Silent Hill Gives the Fun Kind of Nightmare

That is to say, the kind of nightmare in which unspeakable horrors attack with butcher knives and not the kind of nightmare in which your teeth fall out during a business meeting.

The puzzles are rather cryptic, and although you do feel accomplished when you complete them, the game isn't really designed to be fair. This isn't a good thing. Almost every puzzle I've encountered so far has only been difficult by exploiting the fact that monsters respawn every time you go through a door. The school I am exploring has about 30 rooms connected via hallways, with the idea being that I will explore around until I find something. The respawning monsters "feature" isn't fun, or challenging, or anything really (except lazy). Resident Evil had both respawing and non-respawning enemies, and in every case the respawning enemies were a cheap, unbelievable mechanic. In that game (RE), it's not surprising that the later (rushed?) levels use this sort of mechanic, while the first 5 hours (professional review time required?) are perfectly crafted and require no respawning monsters because every encounter was interesting and unique (dog through the window, shit!).

Just let the fucking monster stay dead when I kill it. Your character sucks at everything except saving the game (bot not, apparently, his family). A child could swing the pipe (basic melee weapon of choice) with more competence.  The missing daughter isn't missing, she's just 100x better at killing demons than her crippled father. She already beat the game, and you are just really slow. I understand that the player isn't supposed to be a combat-veteran, but it doesn't take Rambo to swing a blunt instrument with a little speed. T-Ballers would undoubtedly fair better in Silent Hill. You will swing the pipe so slowly, that in real life you would not even do damage to an organism.

Performing the finishing move sucks as well. Monsters stay on the ground a painfully long time, and your character doesn't like to stomp them unless positioned in an arbitrary and subtle way. All this, and you then pop into a storage room to check it out. Nothing. Back outside, the monster grabs your leg and starts gnawing at your knee. This is the standard Silent Hill experience.

I'm not being too harsh on the game (and it is a fun game), but these are some problems with the controls. Especially after playing Resident Evil this past week, in which the difficult controls add to the challenge and fun, in Silent Hill it becomes a weakness. I'm not asking for an easy game, I'm just asking for better gameplay. One idea that comes to mind would be giving the character a kick move that would knock enemies back, but leave them unharmed. Something like this would be perfect.

I will probably power through the game. Despite the shitty cheapness, I still like overcoming a challenge. The creepypasta splattered around 3-D rural Japan is excellent, and the shitty combat is fun as long as you aren't forced to refight some respawning monster 6 times ("I already DID this, let me do SOMETHING ELSE!"). Also the pistol sucks because monsters have invincibility frames after being shot, and they still walk toward you.

Areas are either foggy or light/dark. The light/dark areas are amazing, filled with high contrast camera angles that any film nerd will love. The fog, however, is too grey to look good.

This sounds like I hate Silent Hill, and I really don't. I was hoping for something that topped Resident Evil. It doesn't. But one can't just compare every game to Resident Evil; that's not really fair. As far as being scared, or isolated, or w/e in the game, I can't really say. I think it is fun to be "scared" and so I don't actually get scared of movies or games or rollercoasters. Silent Hill is a fun game. It will probably give you the fun kind of nightmares.

UPDATE; I started using the pistol more and it's much better.


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