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Platforms: Wii, PlayStation 2, PSP
ESRB Rating: M for Mature
Grade: 4 stars
Genuinely spooky. That is the first and lingering feeling you get when playing “Shattered Memories,” something of a new direction for the Silent Hill franchise.
The recent games have been rather lackluster, and there have been releases on several different platforms that all play differently and try to advance the story or give more background information. These games were not terrible, by any means, but they lacked the urgency and sense of dread the first couple games in the series delivered.
Luckily for fans who stuck through the tough times, they will be roundly rewarded with “Shattered Memories.” There is less direct action as much as a push for survival. Playing as Harry, who has lost his daughter after a car crash in a snowstorm, you wander desperately through the town of Silent Hill, but quickly you realize not all is as it seems. This will come as no surprise to series vets, but it’s amazing to see an origin story taking such unique game play perspective.
You see, Harry is unarmed, and you aren’t going to become armed anytime soon. So your only recourse when the spooky things start occurring is to run; and run you better. The town will begin sprouting icebergs and snowstorms will impede your path; before you know it you’re trapped in mazes that text your directional and agility skills. Making the game all about survival and discovery is exceptional for how creepy the set pieces are and the knowing that all you can do is outrun the ghouls or succumb to them. The focus on discovery (a cell phone and flashlight are your only tools) and the constant tension of being discovered and chased with no means to fight back gives “Shattered Memories” a unique place in the gaming world. Silent Hill fans should make sure they don’t miss this edition to the series.
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