Silent Hill HD Collection Review

The Silent Hill series more than likely has a special place in the hearts of survival horror gamers.  I mean, how could it not?  Throughout the years, Konami has produced a stellar number of titles for the series, most of them on the PlayStation 2.  The original still stands out as well, available as a download through the PlayStation Network for those strong enough to brave its spooky waters.  And who could forget Pyramid Head and that crucial rape scene?  Not I.  *shudder*

Now Konami is bringing that vibe back – well, a fraction of them anyway – for Silent Hill HD Collection, the latest in the company’s high-definition makeovers.  Following last year’s stellar Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, I was expecting something along the same lines as this one.  However, a few changes – and some terrible bugs – leave this being a bit too scary in all the wrong ways.  As if we’re scared that our system might break down from all the glitches.

The compilation only contains two of the Silent Hill games, though they’re amongst the best ones in the series.  Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3 have made their returns here, and while we’re a little sad that neither the original nor Silent Hill 4: The Room made the cut, the original two have been given the right amount of treatment when it comes to reconditioning.

First off, the voice acting is superb.  Instead of porting the awful tracks that were included in the original game, they re-recorded all of them so they’re far more effective.  It’s a trick that works well, and gives heft to each game’s story.  Fans will be pleased by this change, as well as the presence of Akira Yamaoka’s spine-chilling soundtrack, which is still quite effective all these years later.

What’s more, when they’re operating properly (more on that in a second), Silent Hill also packs a punch in the visual department.  The foggy surroundings with each of the town are far more visually stimulating than the original game, and some of the camera effects really pay off, especially when you’re encountering faceless enemies or the unstoppable Pyramid Head, a frightening image in himself.  Unfortunately, most of this high-def transfer is interrupted by bugs, something Konami needs to fix immediately with some sort of patch, lest people think that the original games were somehow like this.

Aside from presentation, Konami also provided a few changes to gameplay.  You can go with the traditional approach, leaning the analog stick to turn and hitting forward to run, or try a new method that involves pushing the analog stick in the direction you want to go.  Either works fine, though each of the games are loaded with tedious puzzles that require a great deal of time to solve, as well as enemy encounters that really dictate the difference between life or death.  Not everyone will get into this gameplay, though fans will no doubt cherish it.

Still, more could’ve been done with this package.  It’s sorely lacking in extras, and the fact there are only two games for the $40 price tag is a little hard to swallow, especially considering there was room for more.  Some of the other games, a lengthened demo for the flawed Downpour…maybe even the live-action movie, which wasn’t bad compared to other video game-based flicks.  But nope, you only get the two games themselves, with very little else to go on.

I must be honest, after playing Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, Silent Hill feels like a setback.  There’s value here for those who appreciated the two games featured in the package, but more could’ve easily been done with it.  I suggest it as a rental at best, as that’ll give you the proper time to rack up the Achievements/Trophies and then get back to the games that matter.  Here’s hoping that the upcoming Zone of the Enders HD Collection isn’t given such a second-rate treatment.

[Reviewed on PlayStation 3]