[review] Silent Hill 4: The room


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sanctified

First of all, all the members here know that I am a die-hard fan of Silent Hill. I consider that the series are not only the best survival horror games ever but among the best games made. The intricate plot, the art direction, the sound, the music, the lighting system, everything in the past games have been very well crafted together to create a rich and mysterious universe around the little town of Silent Hill. So, you may be asking now: Why in hell?s name is [sanctified] doing a review if we know that he is going to praise the game?

Well? no, for me Silent Hill 4 has been an odd experience that it?s almost at the edge of a disappointment; the game has some great moments, true, but also has some low moments that degrade the experience a lot.

*s:|ck* :| *shock* what are you talking about? Supposedly you love Silent Hill and everything related with it.

So, let?s start with this review entSilent Hill 4 ? And how Konami tried to reinvent the surrealistic series by excellence (and failed)ailed)

Graphics & Art: The weakest part of the game, a big mistake by the game?s art department. And I blame just the art department since this game uses the SH3 engine that we know it?s a great one. The visual impact has been one of the biggest characteristics in the series. Rooms full of grates and rusty floors covered in blood, pulsating walls made of flesh.

But they removed this from SH4, yes, the game?s emblem its gone in this game, no more dark-and-brooding-industrial-surrealistic passages that can scare you to death (literally), now everything it?s more ?light?, more ?friendly?, the psychosis of the mystery around the corner it is not present this time and that is something we, the Silent Hill fans, can?t forget. The game it?s almost full of common places that stay common, although there are some levels that carry the true essence of the series, but still they are not many enough to save this section in particular.

This becomes more unbearable because the EXTREMELY blurry textures, why they ported the PS2 version to the pc instead of the Xbox version it is beyond me.

In the other hand the player and non-player models in this game are breathtaking, they are maybe the best in the modern gaming industry but this just make more evident the lack of work in the textures around them, it is odd to see a fully detailed actor, with detailed skins and clothes in a world of horrid textures. Also, the model movement and face expression are superb, just superb.

But (yes, another but) some enemies models are just laughable, with some good exceptions of course, but like with the levels, those exceptions are not many enough.

The surrealistic parts in this game are scarce, very scarce, but some of them are very effective, although it?s not the same type of shocking surrealism of the past games.

Graphics & Art score: 7

Cons: Textures, enemies? models and skins, some objects details

Pros: Player and Non-player models, the few surrealistic parts.

Silent Hill 4 against other similar games in the pc: Hell, even older games, like Silent Hill 2 beat this game in this department, in fact, the whole ?7? in the score was just because the player and np models.

Sound: Another disappointment in this game, and also this is a very sensible one. Some sounds in this game are just ridiculous and extremely ordinary. There is not as much tension as the past games in the series. For example, there is an enemy, the Amazon, which burps when you hit it, yes, BURPS! The music in this game, like the past ones, is great, mixing acoustic instruments with industrial sounds, but the problem here it?s that it?s barely used, just some tunes here and there and that?s it, another bad tactic by Konami.

Another good point is the voice acting, that its maybe the best one in the series, the dialogs are a lot more fluent and with more emotion this time.

Sound score: 6.5

Cons: Ordinary sounds effects used by many games before, lack of tension, BURPING AMAZONS.

Pros: The music (although you cant appreciate it in the game, so go a get the soundtrack), the voice acting.

Silent Hill 4 against other similar games in the pc: Again, many games can beat this easily in every department. Even that trash called ?The Suffering? has better sound.

Gameplay: This is a tough review for me; Konami has changed many aspects in this game, some good decision and also some really bad ones.

For starters, there are not logic puzzles. All the puzzles in the game are mundane.

Another odd thing is the inventory system, this time you have a limit of 10 items that you can carry, you can keep the rest in a box in your room (sounds very Resident Evili-sh, don?t your think?)

Another interesting detail it?s the room itself, in here you can restore your health and its the only place where you can save your game, also you can gather a lot of info in here to go trough your game with ease, I think this is a good move by the SH team since it attach you with the biggest mystery in the game, your own room.

The combat and health system is almost the same as the other games, with the exception that this time we have a health bar and a ?power? circle that can help the player to see how much powerful will be the next attack. I really like that in this game almost all the combats are resolved via melee weapons, in fact there are just two guns in this game, a mere pistol and a revolver.

Gameplay score: 8

Cons: No logic puzzles and an inferior inventory system

Pros: The room, the health bar, the power measuring system and the melee weapons.

Silent Hill 4 against other similar games in the pc: In the logic puzzles and inventory department the old games are way better than this one; I hope this is not the new standard for the incoming games in the series (SH5 it?s already in the making).

Plot: This part it?s surely everything but a disappointment, it has the dept of the old games but with a new direction, a more humanistic and psychological story unfolds the mystery behind the room and Walter Sullivan, the famous Silent Hill murderer that it?s has been mentioned in the series since Silent Hill 2, this just show us that the universe created in the first games its so well made and rich that an interesting game can be made of every single aspect of it. Also this is not just a separate story; it connects very well with the past games without depending entirely on them, the plot it?s presented by itself without much help.

The characters in this game are genuine and well made, of course there are some exceptions, but overall you can get attached to them and to their emotions.

I must applaud Konami for making one of the most charismatic foes in the entire gaming industry, Walter Sullivan, there is something about his attitude that you can really appreciate the guy, he is a badass.

Plot score: 10

Cons: It left some unanswered questions, but what silent Hill game doesn?t do that?

Pros: The psychological and humanist approach, very different to the philosophical one in the past games and Walter Sullivan.

Silent Hill 4 against other similar games in the pc: A great plot in its own, I can?t really compare it, it?s maybe my favorite plot on the entire series.

Overall score: 8.0 (not an average) - The art department and the sound really drags the game, it?s a shame, especially because that extremely well written plot.

Final words: This has been a very odd experience for me. The renewed parts make this game shocking, but not scary. If this it?s going to be the new standard for the series at least I hope they can learn from the big faults in this game to make the new ones. If you want to play this get the Xbox version which has better textures.

Another thing?. BURPING AMAZONS!?!?!?!?!?!?

Also, a little spoiler for the series? fans, just keep the following line in mind:

Walter is as powerful and as important for the cult as Alessa, in fact this game just show us how Walter also created many of the worlds in the past games, including the famous ?302? rooms that appear in every game in the series.
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empty

good review, very well written. i was gonna check this out but ive heard some horrific reviews. Would you say i would be disappointed or confused if id only played sh1 and 2 beforehand?

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sanctified
good review, very well written. i was gonna check this out but ive heard some horrific reviews. Would you say i would be disappointed or confused if id only played sh1 and 2 beforehand?

silent hill 3 indeed explained a lot of things, but like I say, The Room story its unfolded by its own, so you cant be lost. If you play strictly to see the plot then you are not going to be dissapointed.

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sanctified

Another thing that deserves a comment, but I forgot completely about it it's that the irregular bosses in this game. While some are mundane, easy and just lame there are some that by design are incredibly awesome. I dont want to spoil anything, but go and take a look to the official game trailer, the long haired ghost... well, you are going to need new underwear :| (btw, it looks a lot like The Ring's Samara). Also, the final battle its maybe the most thrilling and tense one I have ever played and thats a good thing.

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Xer34

Thought it was awesome, yet yes, dissapointing in an odd sort of way. Thought it was decent and yes, it made me jump quite a few times. Then there was the whole.. "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!??!? *whack whack*"...

Good stuff :happy:

And thanks for the good review :)

EDIT: About the burping amazons.. what was up with that? Id whack the sucker and it would belch? Scary in an odd way.. :laugh:

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Nate Archibald

Awesome review man!

I am going to check this out, and I hope that im not dissapointed, ive only played SH2, and i loved it. :D :alien:

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sanctified
Thought it was awesome, yet yes, dissapointing in an odd sort of way. Thought it was decent and yes, it made me jump quite a few times. Then there was the whole.. "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?!??!? *whack whack*"...

Good stuff :happy:

And thanks for the good review :)

exactly my feelings, The Room its just odd, even for a Silent Hill game

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sanctified
Awesome review man!

I am going to check this out, and I hope that im not dissapointed, ive only played SH2, and i loved it. :D :alien:

like I said, plot wise its great, but graphics wise and the horror factor its superior in silent hill 2, in fact, silent hill 2 its maybe the scariest game of the series

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JorgeIvan

I played Silent Hill 3 and when i play the game my hands turned cold! I Love Silent Hill! [not yet played SH4]

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sanctified
I played Silent Hill 3 and when i play the game my hands turned cold! I Love Silent Hill! [not yet played SH4]

Silent Hill 2 could be the scariest game in the series, but silent Hill 3 is the most visually impressive and the one that put a best use with surrealism. Its plot its also the key to understand the first two games (specially the first one) :)

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JorgeIvan
,Oct 7 2004, 00:16] Silent Hill 2 could be the scariest game in the series, but silent Hill 3 is the most visually impressive and the one that put a best use with surrealism. Its plot its also the key to understand the first two games (specially the first one) :)

Yes the visuals are great! and my hands turn cold when im lonely walking in the foggy street close to the end of the game and you hear some scariest sounds :unsure:

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FatCat

I agree with the review , but have to say the final boss fight was boring and uninspired. Silent Hill 3's boss may have been simpler (simply shooting) but at least it looked epic.

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sanctified
I agree with the review , but have to say the final boss fight was boring and uninspired. Silent Hill 3's boss may have been simpler (simply shooting) but at least it looked epic.

Im still shocked about the plot, so shocked that Im already thinking about making a thread about my theories, its maybe nerdy, but damn! I am a die hard fan of this series and the introduction of Walter explains a lot.

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Chode

Thank for the review. I still haven't got my hands onto this game, but I definately plan to. The two main things that hook me with Silent Hill games are the music and the plot. It's a shame about the graphics, but you seem to have said the music and plot are great. I know the music is great, having still got a copy of the soundtrack floating around :)

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sanctified
Thank for the review. I still haven't got my hands onto this game, but I definately plan to. The two main things that hook me with Silent Hill games are the music and the plot. It's a shame about the graphics, but you seem to have said the music and plot are great. I know the music is great, having still got a copy of the soundtrack floating around :)

and believe me, the plot its amazingly awesome

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Chode

Here's a tough question for you: Rank all four games in order of preference (best to less best).

I can rank 3.

1) Silent Hill 2

2) Silent Hill 3

3) Silent Hill 1

Though I should give Silent Hill 1 more of a chance. Playing my brother's copy on a half corrupted Playstation Emulator made it unplayable for me. In the hospital, the game would crash the second I used any weapon....but I persevered without using any form of aggression against any enemy. Then I reached a boss and knew that I had no chance in hell :(

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insanekiwi

thanks for the review. might gonna check it out.

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sanctified
Here's a tough question for you: Rank all four games in order of preference (best to less best).

I can rank 3.

1) Silent Hill 2

2) Silent Hill 3

3) Silent Hill 1

Though I should give Silent Hill 1 more of a chance. Playing my brother's copy on a half corrupted Playstation Emulator made it unplayable for me. In the hospital, the game would crash the second I used any weapon....but I persevered without using any form of aggression against any enemy. Then I reached a boss and knew that I had no chance in hell :(

To be honest I cant rank them in an overall experience since every one of them are very special in their own, but I can divide them in categories:

The most scary for me has been Silent Hill 2

The most artistic and visually impressive has been Silent Hill 3, it also has the best use of surrealism

The best main character has been either James Sunderland (Silent Hill 3) or Harry Mason (Silent Hill 1)

The most important plot to connect the series has been the Silent Hill 3 one (also its the one that raises the most interesting questions)

The best plot, however, has been the one in Silent Hill 4 (that also raises some other very interesting questions)

The best villians has been SH4's Walter Sullivan and SH2's pyramid head, however:

Walter its actually stronger than Pyramid Head and maybe than Alessa, proof of this is that Walter actually killed Pyramid Head in his original form, when pyramid's name was Jimmy Stone. He also created many of the worlds and visions of the past games, proof of this is the famous rooms 302 that appears in every game. He was stronger than Alessa about resisting the cult, he even resited the spell of Valtiel and managed to scape. Also he can create their own mental worlds without the aid of the cult's gods

So, as you can see, for me they complemente extremelly well each other. Many series, like Final Fantasy or Resident Evil, doesnt have very coherent sequels, they can be as well separate games with a different title, but in Silent Hill every game complements the series extremelly well, thats why this series cannot be overdone, the universe in it its very rich and extense.

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sanctified
you're crazy sd :p

how so? :o

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  • 2 weeks later...
Dark Ride

Great review.I'm a huge fan of the SH series, as you already know :p

Can't wait to get a better gfx card to be able to enjoy this game (and SH3 of course) :cool:

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  • 2 weeks later...
Chode

el bumpo

I just managed to get my hands on this, and I've only played until

You get back from the Subway and get the weird phone call about the token

and I think I need to comment.

Controls: Feel very different from the other Silent Hill games...I still need to config my gamepad a bit more to get it just right, but I'm trying to keep to the PS2 control style.

First Person: I love it. Many other games (especially first person shooters) make you feel like you're a human rectangular prism walking around. But somehow Konami have managed to make it feel like you are a person inside the room, looking through their eyes. I'd love to be able to adjust the sensitivity of my gamepad axis for up/down viewing, but that's only a small detail.

Textures: They aren't as good as SH3, but they aren't terrible either. They remind me of Silent Hill 2's textures, actually. Perhaps Konami were more worried about game performance this time around (or maybe they've miled the performance of the Playstation 2 for everything it's got).

Verdict: I've fully played out 2 of the 4 Silent Hill games, both of which I completed multiple times. I consider myself a Silent Hill veteran, and Konami have managed somthing with this: The game feels strange even to a Silent Hill veteran. I do mean strange in a good way, of course.

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