Konami backtracks to two of their most beloved releases which brings long time fanatics back to the good old days and introduces new comers to a very peculiar style of gaming. While the enhancements are clear (although not all successful), the overall feel of the game is a nostalgic approach to what the horror genre was all about 11 years ago.
Lately there has been a surge of remastered games we know as collections. These collections aim to please two audiences generally: those who have been following the series since it’s maiden release and those who are new to the titles and wish to delve in for the first time. This presents a challenge from the start of any re-visitation of already classic games. Not only does there need to be a significant improvement upon the title but it must also bring back what is specifically known and loved about the games involved. So, the question is: was this criteria met in Silent Hill HD Collection?
It would seem the developers banked on bringing the lifetime fans back while hoping to bring in a fair share of curious first timers. For example: while the voice acting was updated with modern day approaches to the text, you are given the option to choose the old voices for your respected journeys with Jack and Heather.
The old and awkward controls make a comeback but you are able to switch to the more intuitive 3-D type control setting. What makes the original control setting so awkward is of course the strategic and masterful cinematography seen throughout the Silent Hill series. The angles used by Konami make for a much more suspenseful and effective gaming experience and these were all honored throughout the collection. The combination of the awkward controls and these angles complement the thrill of the game. When taken by surprise this challenging control setting can result in mistakes produced by panic.
However the upgrade to the graphics was not as kind in terms of both aesthetics and nostalgia; specifically to the environment. The fog was not nearly as daunting has it had been in the original game; certain details in both cinematic breaks and gameplay were given away which took away from the mystery that encompasses Silent Hill in the life of the game. On the other hand: there was certainly a positive difference in terms of the characters and the undead antagonists of the titles. The incredibly innovative imaginations of the artists creating these characters are vividly resurrected; probably the most successful compromise of the original and the HD enhancement.
There is certainly a reality check in store for those who are not particularly experienced with the old-school horror genre. These puzzles will spin your head. In the way most games are linear-based these days, Silent Hill gives little guidance to the player. Players are made to be just as lost as the main character of the game, adding to the mental stamina needed to see the whole story through. In this regard, I personally fell for the series all over again. Games like this really challenged me more so than most other titles I was playing at the time. From solving a very unclear puzzle, to regrettably walking past an incredibly important item the frustrations built-in add to the nostalgic feeling of accomplishment while moving through the labyrinth that is the RPG of 11 years ago.
All things considered: the collection undisputedly proves one thing to be true. These titles have and certainly will stand the test of time. Both titles are masterpieces in their own regard. While this re-visitation makes its fair share of tweaks throughout the two games, one can’t help but flashing back to the Standard Definition quality of Konami’s masterworks.
For more information on how we review games check out our criteria here. A copy of this title was provided to The Paranoid Gamer by the publisher for review purposes. If you have any questions about this game the reviewer will be able to answer them in the comment section.