The beginning of the game is the only thing that will attract the memory of the fans because it is the same as what was seen in previous games: Harry Mason was in a traffic accident in Silent Hill, and when he woke up, his daughter Cheryl was gone. From that moment on, everything is completely different. The city is not covered by the characteristic thick fog, but this time it is actually covered by a heavy snowfall and there will be no dimensional change in the mirrors as usual.
Between each chapter, we will have meetings with a psychologist, and the sessions will change our perception of the game, because according to our responses and our behavior, what we see later on in Silent Hill will happen. Changes such as the appearance of certain characters, the appearance of the monsters we see or various locations. The advantage of this is that it not only improves the gameplay, but it is also important in the story.
Although a completely different approach was taken, this new part only retained the basis in the puzzles but they are still extremely novel and complicated. Most of the time, we will explore the different locations of Silent Hill, such as the high school, the mall, and of course, the city streets, but with a view over Harry's shoulders and we will be constantly armed with our flashlight.
With the flashlight we can illuminate the dark scenes, which is essential to continue the adventure instead of getting lost in the darkness of Silent Hill. Another important object of the game is our cell phone, we can use it to access the city map at any time, save the game (yes, the kit is removed as a way to save our progress), we can call any phone number we find, read messages sent to us or take pictures of our surroundings.
With these two devices we can discover all the secrets of the town, because in a specific place we will hear a little static and the flashlight will also be disturbed, two things can happen. On the one hand, when we get close to a specific object, it will react violently, and then we will receive a text or voice message to know what happened in the past, or we will see a silhouette, and in order to receive the message we must take a picture of it. Due to these factors, the darkness of exploration has increased, because everything seems to be taken from a horror and suspense movie and if we add it to the chilling scenes full of darkness, we will definitely be scared.
In the process of exploration, we will find many interactive elements, because we will enter the first-person view and will need to move the pointer in the shape of a hand to perform actions that we usually do in real life, such as opening a closet with a handle or pulling a classic curtain cord. This adds realism, which is very useful in bringing the cursed city of Silent Hill closer to our reality.
This kind of interactivity is also the key to countless puzzles that we will find throughout the game. Some simple operations are like dismantling a structure to collapse it, or that the key to open the door is located on top of a structure to grab it, while in other cases, we will have to use our brain to find a solution. In this way, they may seem simple, but they are so ingenious that it is a real pleasure to face them, and the satisfaction of finding a solution is incredible.
An important part of the game is the video scenes, because they are not static, in most of the scenes, we will see them from a first person perspective. We will be able to control where Harry looks and be able to zoom in on the stage or on the characters. Also the characters can change their attitude towards us, at the same time that we will also influence the end of the story. For example, when we see the eyes of the characters or the glass of alcohol, this affects everything we do, making the story more personal.
There will be times when everything will be covered in ice, that's when enemies appear. In these crazy chases we will have to run at full speed while placing obstacles for the monsters, because if we get caught, we will have to press the right button to shake them up and leave them a little dazed. If our health is not good, we can also hide, although not forever, because in time they will find us. Besides, the enemy will appear mercilessly everywhere. I assure you that when there are two enemies behind you and you see another bug passing through the door where you should be leaving, they will curse you incessantly.
The most interesting part and the last most important aspect of the game are the sessions with the psychologist, which, as I said before, will vary what we see in the game and the result. In those meetings we will have a little talk with the psychologist and then we will have to do a test. The first part of the game is to complete a test about very personal things or our relationships. Other tests will consist of painting a house and a family that we will visit right after (it is impressive to see that it is exactly the same thing we did), choosing our favorite high school subjects, or forming pairs. All of this is very realistic and interesting, as these are tests that any psychologist could do in real life. This completes a very good gameplay that breaks with everything we have seen before in the saga.
Graphically, the game looks great. The stage design is fantastic and very well done. But the most important thing is the lighting, because the focus that produces the flashlight is absolutely incredible, when we turn it on everything will react, and really impresses the stage, especially in the PSP version. The characters are also very good, with very realistic and extremely smooth animations. The graphic effect of the snowfall is also very well taken care of.
If we talk about the sound, the voices are really good and very suitable for the characters. But the best thing is the music, which will improve the quality of the different moments in which we are.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is a completely different Silent Hill game, because it gets rid of the supernatural phenomena of the town and tells us more personal and psychological stories, triggered through a gameplay that focuses on exploration, escape and puzzles .
In short, if you like games and movies of terror and survival, you can not miss the reinvention of the first part of this saga, because it manages to show a new way of seeing the franchise.