Silent Hill HD Collection Hands On Preview

Posted By: Whitney   November 28th, 2011 | 3:00 pm

As many of you my know Cj from Rely on Horror and myself were invited down to Konami Headquarters back in September. During our visit we not only got to play a bit of Silent Hill Downpour but we were also given the opportunity to play through some of the Silent Hill HD Collection on the Playstation 3 (I took Silent Hill 2 while Cj played through Silent Hill 3). When we played the collection was still in heavy development with a lot of things still left to upgrade and bugs to work out so this preview will focus on some of the general improvements I noticed when I compare it to the original Playstation 2 releases.

I have to say the improvements to many of the textures in both games are immediately apparent. As someone who’s only played both on the Playstation 2 versions I was blown away at just how crisp and clear everything seemed ti be now. It was definitely a new experience finally seeing the little details in the environments that were muddy and blurry before such as store signs, details in James’ jacket and the random graffiti in sharp focus. It was such a difference to both of us, so much so that we were constantly yelling to one another to come over and look at some small little detail we missed seeing in the past. It seriously felt like I was playing Silent Hill 2 again for the first time with just how much “new” things there were to see.

I think the HD visual improvements really hit home for me at the Silent Hill Historical Society/Prison in Silent Hill 2 and when Cj had reached the Alternate Hilltop Center in Silent Hill 3. In the Silent Hill Historical Society and the Prison there’s a lot of cool paintings/photos that line the walls, including a Silent Hill 2 Staff picture Easter egg and other macabre art depicting Silent Hill’s darker past. I remember while playing on the Playstation 2 I had a hard time really seeing the details of art as the environments were not only dark but the art and photos were tiny and blurry. Since I couldn’t really zoom in for a better look I had to depend on James’ one sentence description and in the end I didn’t think much about their content when I played. It wasn’t until years later after taking a closer look at the painting textures ripped from the PC version on Alchemilla did I gain a greater appreciation for all the details Team Silent had put into the game…even those I couldn’t see due to technical limitations at the time.

Painting Texture from Silent Hill 2 PC

One of these small details that blew me away was the painting in the Toluca Prison cafeteria that depicts the room with Eddie’s gunshot victim in the forefront. In game it just looked like a painting of the room with the weird and creepy inclusion of the corpse but nothing too special. However, on viewing the painting texture texture up close it became quite obvious there was something off about the scene depicted. That unknown brown and muddy looking corpse slumped on a table near the exit? Well in the painting it looks quite different… in fact it looks like James has taken his place since the corpse has lighter hair, a green jacket and blue jeans! In a way I think the painting was foreshadowing James and Eddie’s battle to the death at the end of the Labyrinth. If James wasn’t careful he would end up like all the other people Eddie killed with a bullet in his brain.

The painting is definitely unnerving up close and it’s a shame that in the original Playstation 2 game these color changes are hardly visible…until now that is. With the HD upgrade you can easily note the subtle color change just by staring at the painting in game. It was amazing and when I pointed it this out both Cj and Tomm they were both surprised as they had never known about that small detail before!

Silent Hill 2 wasn’t the only one benefiting from the focus of smaller environmental details. Throughout our time playing Cj constantly pointed out a variety of text on the walls and other visuals in Silent Hill 3 that neither of us noticed before. I believe the biggest surprise on this new clarity in graphically superior Silent Hill 3 was when Cj reached the Otherworld Hilltop Center. In One Stop Imports next to vending machine there’s graffiti of a poem that when Heather observes it reads:

“Thus one’s life turns to riches:

What was a bag of silver coins is
now the number in a book.

Yet faith hath no price…
Ah, but do people know this?”

Texture from Silent Hill 3 PC

In the Playstation 2 game the poem in hard to read on the wall but in the HD collection we could read the poem word for word without a close up observation shot by just staring at the wall. It was a little funny too because noticed that “coins” was misspelled! It was this new found clarity that really made us both want to slow down and just spend time looking at every little bit of the environments just to try to uncover other previously unknown details (unfortunately we couldn’t really spend too much time as we had limited time with the game).

So both games benefited from some higher resolution textures but I’m sure you all probably care more about what I thought about the new voice work. For those who may have been in the dark these past few months it was announced early on that both Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3 would have an entirely new voice cast in this upgrade. Not surprisingly, this change upset many Silent Hill fans and had had also become a deal breaker for purchasing the collection for many. As an old fan myself I have to say that yes the new voices do sound strange and are jarring at first because I’m so used to the old ones but in my opinion they are in no way terrible.

Troy Baker as James really grew on me as I played through the game. His voice is pretty deep and raspy when compared to Guy Cihi’s original performance so I was really unsure about him going in but I’m happy to say I ended up really enjoying his performance overall. His James sounded more emotional to me especially in the later half of the game where he sounded so shaken up at times that I thought at one point James might just break down and cry.

One of the other shining stars for me was Angela’s new voice actress who also plays Claudia in Silent Hill 3. She really did a fantastic job, I loved, loved, loved that her Angela sounded like a troubled teenager and not a woman in her 40’s. With the improved the pacing of the line readings there was also no comical stutters or weird long emphasis on random words (“LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSST?”) which I really liked.

The rest of the new Silent Hill 2 cast did a fine job as well. I enjoyed Mary Elizabeth McGlynn’s huskier and more seductive take on Maria but I felt her deep voice was a mismatch for Mary Shepherd-Sunderland as it made Mary seem older and less innocent. So hands down I have to say I prefer Monica Taylor Horgan’s Mary performance but again I want to emphasize that it’s not terrible it is just my personal preference. Mary Elizabeth still gave a very powerful performance and the lines were read quite well and I’m happy to report that hearing her rendition of the letter at the end was still able to choke me up!

As for Silent Hill 3 from what I heard I really liked it! We went in cold and both Cj and I were pleasantly surprised. The new Heather sounded age appropriate and sassy (though I miss Heather Morris). The new Claudia sounded nearly identical to Donna Burke’s portrayal but she carried a bit of a harder edge. I believe the change in pacing greatly improved the delivery of Vincent’s lines. The new actor sounded just like Clifford Rippel’s original Vincent but without the random dramatic pauses and inflection changes so his lines flowed a bit better. The new Douglas sounded less gruff but I believe his performance was quite good as well. Really from the snippets I heard watching some of the cutscenes over Cj’s shoulder I think people will be pleasantly pleased with the Silent Hill 3’s new voice cast.

Even though I already own both games for the Playstation 2, I can see the HD Collection as a must have for any Silent Hill fan. Even if you are iffy on the new voices (luckily we now have the option to switch to the old with Silent Hill 2) you should definitely at give the collection a try just to see both games in such high detail on a console if nothing else!

24 responses to “Silent Hill HD Collection Hands On Preview”

  1. […] entry in the series, but also Silent Hill 2 and 3 HD, respectively. I played through Silent Hill 3; Whitney played Silent Hill 2. We had decided who would play which prior to getting to the […]

  2. […] Silent Hill HD Collection Preview [Silent Hill Historical Society] […]

  3. avatar 1dbad says:

    It’s kind of funny that Angela’s new voice actress also does the voice for Claudia as well seeing how the original voice actress for Angela did Claudia’s voice too. For some reason it seems the same person is always going to voice those two characters. XD

    Out of curiosity, how did Laura’s new VA sound? She’s the one new voice for Silent Hill 2 we haven’t gotten to hear ourselves or read anything about. Also, any other SH 2 or 3 voices you can tell us about? Like the birthday caller in SH 3 for example?

  4. avatar House MD says:

    I’m sorry, but if Heather Morris’s voice is not in it, I’m not getting ir, that’s it….

  5. avatar Whitney says:

    Laura’s VA was quite good too, I’d say she’s on par with the original as she sounded like a bratty little girl :) As for the phone call in Silent Hill 3 you are in for a surprise! I don’t want to spoil it but Cj and I really liked the new one! Very creepy!

  6. avatar Whitney says:

    Aw sorry to hear that, but I understand I was bummed she’s not in it either!

  7. avatar BERGOSAURIO says:

    Crappy remakes…

  8. avatar 1dbad says:

    @Whitney: Okay good! 😀 I figured she would be but just wanted to make sure. And oooo! I’m excited/really curious to hear it now!

    Thanks for answering by the way. :)

  9. avatar Anon says:

    Hey can I ask a dumb question? Why were you guys able to post a video of you guys playing through Downpour but not the HD Collection? :O

  10. avatar Whitney says:

    At the time they didn’t want us recording footage of the HD collection. Actually, we were surprised when they suggested we record our Downpour playthrough the next day! (It was a good thing I had my video camera with me though I wish I had my HP PVR recorder…). Hopefully I can get some footage on Monday of the HD collection, Downpour and Book of Memories at the Silent Hill Press preview in SF! :)

  11. damn, I’ll be the first in Chile to buy SH HD Collection, a pack of worship that we can not lose ………….

  12. avatar Anon says:

    Ah, that makes sense. I figured it was something like that but just wanted to make sure. And I bet you guys were! I’m glad they let you do it though, and good that you guys had your camera with you. And hopefully so! 😀 And if you get some of the HD Collection, aside from showing off how much better the visual (and possibly sound, if you’re able to record a good copy) please be sure to try to record clips of voices we haven’t heard yet, and some additional cut-scenes for comparison if you can. 😛 (at the very least the voices, because I think all of us that haven’t heard them are dying to hear the rest of the new cast)

  13. avatar Mark says:

    Awesome, even more keen to play the HD collection now! I already was anticipating it greatly but this got me even more excited, really enjoyable read 😀

  14. avatar Whitney says:

    @Anon I will definitely try to record SH2 SH3 HD voices you guys haven’t heard if I can :) @Mark awesome! I’m glad you enjoyed my write up. I hope you’ll be just as impressed as I was when you get your hands on it in January.

  15. avatar Anon says:

    Thank you! :) So, any luck? *fingers crossed*

  16. avatar Whitney says:

    Nope I couldn’t record myself playing :\ and I didn’t get to try the HD collection. I mainly played DP and a little of BoM.

  17. avatar Anon says:

    Oh okay. And darn. So I guess that means no one else could record anything either? Curses, I guess I’ll just have to wait ’til January for to see/hear more of the HD Collection. :/

    That said, I can’t wait to hear about DP and BoM in January. :) (I saw the Facebook page update)

  18. avatar Whitney says:

    @Anon actually you could record if Tomm played but I was too wrapped up in playing myself and he was in interviews a lot. I did see another game site interview Tomm while he played a bit of SH3 HD. Not sure how well the game audio was picked up though but they could of had some sort of jack into their video camera.

  19. avatar Anon says:

    Ah, I see. And well what was the site? 😀 It’ll be worth checking out at least. xD

  20. avatar twoback says:

    Great preview and very informative too!

  21. avatar Whitney says:

    I believe it was Gamesradar :)

  22. avatar Anon says:

    Darn, I can’t seem to find it. Thanks anyway though. :)

  23. avatar Mike Sorge says:

    I know I may be late in reading this, Whitney, but thanks for the heads-up on the HD Collection! I’ll definitely be buying it regardless of how it turned out, but it was nice to hear you enjoyed the new visuals and voice acting. 😀

  24. avatar istrokemyselfwithurEntrails says:

    Any of you who claim to be Silent Hill fans need this game REGARDLESS. im burned some stuff will be changed but hey Silent Hill changed my opinion on games for life hell i grew up playing these my largest regret was i was only a child when i played one and it was so hard i could never finish it or two yet beat nearly all after and let me say as a gamer that haunts me especially knowing since its not included i may never get that chance. I will finally beat two and 3 hell thatll just be for fun since i enjoyed it but was in a money rut and had to sell all my SH games it sucked. The new ones are good could be better but good i mean i love silent hill you could make a game of harry or james shitting on the toilet call it Silent Hill the sh*t storm and id get it like any true fan it changed how i view horror titles its that enriching deep grisly boarderline sadist streak it has going. I remember at 14 when i played SH# and thought “even though im gay id get with that heather girl” good times all the way up until the point i started lighting fatties and tripping balls saying HOLY FUCK DOOD THAT SHIT WAS F’d UP!!!!! This is an amazing series i pray never dies id get downpour but im struggling just to survive right now i barely get to play games but most shit you gotta play online is really ruined by campers and other garbage. But Silent Hill is never ruined no campers no online play the perfect game to get baked shut the lights off and crap yourself lol. If i could id type a million reasons while Silent Hill is an amazing series one was all my life ive been treated as a outcast the awsome feeling i got to pop in a game as misunderstood as I… they only thing i hope they could fix is just the controls when you have that kinda combat it should be strictly behind the back camera styles too me like RE4 but less focused on gunplay just because to me it makes navigation much easier as well as the widespread combat otherwise too me the games virtually flawless. I hope everyday amazons wrong and its early march before downpour cause im poor as fuck and it will kill me to see both and walk away with only one, I cant fit enough words of encouragementfor silent hill too keep going how i wish i had the old ones and i wasnt forced to sell them i like to kick back and chill with games like those instead of competing every fudging time i want something cool on gears or BF3 or halo its fudgin rediculous least on games like SH its all easy going… till the weak hearted sh*t themselves i wish it was out now id be having a all night tripfest i would beat SH2 like i should of years ago it reminds of a time when games actually challenged you and roblems cant be solved by shooting them dont get me wrong its fun to kill problems but hell i wanna be challenged!!!!!! AND NOT BY LAME ASS CAMPERS WHO THINK THEY ROCK!!!! yeah i know this is a run on but i love SH and i had a shitsville day. Ill work my ass off to get these though i need to save my cash right now. Silent Hill will always too me be worth the cash i shell out for a trip back to a real virtual hell it never runs old the story is always fresh and insanely out there which is why i connect im out there too the second Silent Hill ends is the day i will most likely hang my controllers up and quit gaming i like XBL and internet gaming but campers ruin every game i turn on they physically ruin it at least with SH there is nothing to ruin it but the difficulty being too high. I can only pray all the old “gems” of silent hill hit my 360 the day one hits it is the day i dont get off my360 for a good long time not that 2 wont tak my full focus till it falls to defeat like the others. I mean i understand the first would need to be entirely redone but hey i think konami should do it give us old fans like me who may have been to young or not able to fully experience the first it should have better graphics and voice acting but otherwise remain untouched entirely just so me and the rest can experience it the way it was meant now like i said im a gamer but this competitive shit gets old sometimes im older i gt tired and it grinds my frickin nerves to dust i say give me my silent hill release a full collection 1 2 3 4 origins and i will be on that game like flies on horse dump