NWR goes hands on with the re-imagining of this survival horror classic.
While walking the floor at TGS I had the opportunity to try out Silent Hill: Shattered Memories for the Wii. The game is a reimagining of the first Silent Hill. You control the main character, who is searching for his daughter in the town of Silent Hill after experiencing a car accident there.
Movement of the character is performed using the analog stick, while aiming his flashlight and looking about the screen is done with the Wiimote’s IR. Pressing down on the control pad makes the character look behind himself, which should be helpful when trying to figure out where the game’s various enemy creatures are in relation to the character, and when trying to make an escape from them. The other directions on the control pad bring up the character’s cell phone, which includes a GPS function and a camera function. In the preview trailer for the game, the camera was used to take pictures of different areas which then revealed frightening imagery of spirits. One such image showed a person hanging himself, for instance.
The graphics and atmosphere of the demo were suitably scary, and seemed very polished. The game also uses sound and controller vibrations to add to the frightening atmosphere. That being said, the gameplay itself was a bit confusing.
The demo starts the player off with no weaponry, and no way to attack the oncoming enemies, like faceless dwarves and child-like creatures that run up to the main character and jump on him. Knocking the enemies off requires you to move your arms as if you are actually trying to knock someone off your front or back. Unfortunately, the control wasn’t always responsive and I found myself repeatedly thrusting my arms backwards trying to shake the bastards off.
Additionally, the pacing of the demo was hard to understand. At first I tried to take a look at my surroundings and get a sense of what was going on, but after a certain amount of time the enemies suddenly bum rush you, and the only way to stay alive is to run away from them as fast as you can. Not knowing what I was doing, I quickly died.
Once I realized that there’s a certain amount of time before the enemies come after you, I chose to run frantically from one area to the next with no regard for my surroundings. This got me through the demo unscathed, but I have a feeling I missed a ton of stuff in the process. For instance, I found one place where I could hide under a bed, presumably to shake the enemies off of my trail, but I never had the opportunity to utilize this mechanic since I found it more effective just to high tail it from the get go.
According to the Konami rep, the game presents the player with a series of questions at the beginning; the answers of which are supposed to have a huge impact on the way the game is presented to the player. Depending on the answers to these personal questions (one example was whether or not you have ever cheated on a significant other) the game’s environment, the character’s clothing, and even their personalities are supposed to vary quite a bit. Additionally, depending on the player’s play style various things will change. Allegedly, players who choose to take their time and study their surroundings are supposed to get a different experience from those who choose to rush through the game. Unfortunately, for some reason the person assisting with the game demo chose to forego the questionnaire part of the demo and have me jump right into the game. However, the game’s trailer did indicate that this was the case - when watching the trailer twice in a row I noticed that the clothing of one of the NPCs was quite different between each viewing even though it was exhibiting the same scene both times.
Unfortunately my rushed play through of the game did not give me a very good indication of what the gameplay will be like in the finished product, but I can say that the graphics and atmosphere were impressive enough for a Wii survival horror game and that it is supposed to offer some interesting ideas in the form of the game varying play style dependent mechanic that the game alleges to offer.