The Silent Hill survival horror series makes its handheld gaming debut with a brand new adventure that reveals many of the series' most hallowed secrets. Assuming the role of a lone truck driver who becomes trapped … see full wiki
When you're talking about a place like Silent Hill, where nightmares and monsters walk in the light of day, you wouldn't think it would ever be a relief to get back there. And yet, after Silent Hill 4 managed to avoid going to the actual town at all, it's actually good to see a new story told in that famously scary place. And in typical Silent Hill fashion, that story is disturbing to the core.
Silent Hill: Origins takes a jump back in time, to before the events of the original Silent Hill. Travis Grady, a lonesome trucker on the road, takes an unexpected detour and finds himself lost in Silent Hill as the fog descends. His exploration of the streets of the town is also an exploration of his past, into the depths of his own psychosis that he hints at even as the game begins. As the story progresses, we learn more about Alessa and Dahlia Gillespie and the history of the cult of Silent Hill, but we also learn about what in Travis' dark past has drawn him to this place, at this time. It begins when he saves a young girl, badly burned and unrecognizable, from a building in flames. He just wants to see how she is...then he just wants to get out, away, far away from Silent Hill and the memories he has.
The gameplay in Origins is pretty much on par with the rest of the series, you play in third person perspective as you explore each area, solving puzzles and riddles and fighting the creatures that come out of the dark. Camera control and combat are somewhat clunky, but unlike most people I appreciate that. The characters of Silent Hill are not heroes or combat veterans, so they shouldn't be really skilled or have lots of amazing moves. The camera angles are there to enhance the overall effect of fear, and they do that job well, even (maybe especially) when it means you can't see what's coming up behind you.
Origins' graphics are impressive, especially considering this is the PSP we're talking about. The graphics are roughly similar to those of Silent Hill 2, not quite as amazing as 3 and 4, but quite good, and certainly detailed enough to create an atmosphere of fear and creeping dread. The audio of Silent Hill is also right up there among the best in gaming, with another soundtrack provided by Akira Yamaoka -- this one may actually be his best yet!
Origins brings a few new features to the table as well. Melee weapons are now breakable, meaning you'll usually only get a few good whacks out of a knife or tire iron before it is useless. There are also some weapons (including televisions and file cabinets) that you can throw at an opponent from a distance for a quick damage. And in a surprising move, Travis is the first character to be able to move between the "normal" world of Silent Hill and the shadowy, dark world at will, using mirrors to transition from one to the other. Many of the game's puzzles use this feature cleverly, actually requiring you to do something in one world that affects the other. And there is an Accolade rewards feature that encourages multiple plays through the game to get multiple endings, new weapons, and as many as 13 different costumes.
There's a few innovations in Silent Hill: Origins that keep it fresh and interesting, but what's more important is that the core of the Silent Hill experience is here. The things that keep fans like me returning again and again -- deep psychological horror, an engaging and rich and disturbing story, interesting characters, moody music, incredibly creepy graphics, and a layer of pure fear covering it all like a dark shroud. It's all here, and I'm inexplicably glad to see it.
Come back to Silent Hill. Come see what happened before it all began. If you dare.