Silent Hill HD Collection | Zombiegamer Review

The Silent Hill HD Collection brings the “genre-defining” survival horror games Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3 up-to-date with “true high-definition graphics” and… not much else.

Developer: Hijinx Studios
Publisher: Konami
S.A. Distributor: Ster Kinekor Entertainment
For fans of: Scary games.  Old scary games.
Reviewed on: PlayStation 3.
Also available on: Xbox 360.
If we had to give it a numerical score: 5.0 out of 10 (for story and nostalgia’s sake).

What I liked

  • Pretty cheap.
  • Were great games when they were originally released…

Not so much

  • … maybe they should’ve been left untouched for nostalgia’s sake.
  • The controls and camera.
  • HD graphic update?  Still looks like a four year old game.

Overview

Silent Hill as a series has much to be credited for – especially the first three games in the series.  Silent Hill, Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3 (released in 1999, 2001 and 2003 respectively) were quality survival horror games which featured a great atmosphere and story.  You would think that with a graphic re-skin, those two elements would still find a way a shine through, but I’m sorry to say that something has gone terribly wrong here.  This update has sadly ruined a perfectly great memory.

Gameplay, features, visuals and sound

The two games featured in this HD Collection – Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3 – are still the third person slow paced fright fest that made many love them originally.  Sadly, the poor controls have been left untouched to frustrate the experience for a second time.  If you played the games originally, I would like to think you know what I’m talking about.  If you hoped the graphical update meant fixing the controls and wonky camera, you will be a very, very sad panda.

Movement – considering the developments made by other games in the genre – is archaic.  It’s slow and completely cumbersome.  The combat still feels like a button push made last century is only reacting now.  And while fans are probably screaming at me for picking on an issue that existed on original release (although I’m willing to bet it didn’t bother back then), I expect a little more from an HD update than simply a pretty new skin and some new voices.

Even the graphic update is a disappointment.  Apparently, the game has been updated to feature “true high-definition graphics”.  Unless I missed a setting somewhere, both games still look like they were produced years ago at the end of the PS2 cycle.  Silent Hill 3 comes off much better than Silent Hill 2 does in this regard, but both still look dated.  Sadly, the effect of this, is that elements with volume like the fog in Silent Hill 2 – which are part of the game’s fantastic psychological atmosphere – are so poorly updated that they are just not realistic enough and effectively suspend believe in the environment surrounding you.  To add to this, the general lack of claustrophobia that the fog should have introduced appears to have been further nullified by the fog seemingly parting in front of you like it was afraid of you. The creatures and textures have not been updated nearly enough to measure up to any other more recently released survival horror games.

The sound has been updated too.  An all new set of voices have been recorded (which might bewilder some), but you can always choose to still play with the original voices.  The new ones are perfectly adequate in driving the story along, but they’re not going for Oscar glory.  Unfortunately, the sound effects still sound untouched from the around ten year old versions and once again make it hard to enjoy the atmosphere being created.  Ten years ago those sounds would’ve caused bowel movements.  Now they’re pretty laughable.  Make no mistake, there are still enough moments that will make you jump, it’s just that they (for me at least) were few and far between.

I am not going to detail the stories in the two games – my suspicion is that anyone considering this collection would’ve played the games in their original versions.  Suffice to say that the stories remain thankfully untouched.  There are some framerate dips at times and there is a lack of additional content – although the latter is not a requirement, but more of a nice to have had.

Final thoughts

Re-visiting “classics” is turning a little into heartbreak for me.  The memories were great.  Sadly, when an update feels this… lazy, the memory gets ruined.  Yes, they look better (just), but the gameplay has been comfortably surpassed by modern games with working mechanics and probably just as brilliant atmosphere and story.  I find it really hard to recommend this to anyone – except for the story.  If you played Silent Hill 2 on release and can replay the game without wondering why it didn’t get a complete overall, you may just love it.  I couldn’t.

Zombiegamer rating:

About Zombie Dredd

Wannabe gaming journalist. Wannabe zombie. And sometimes clan leader of OAP. Clint O'Shea when in his human disguise.