$20 Game of the week: Silent Hill 4 (PS2, Xbox)

August 8, 2006 at 9:30 am ($20 GOTW, Video Games)

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Silent Hill is the only franchise worthy to stand alongside Resident Evil in the survival horror genre.  Some fans may say that is surprasses it in terms of storyline and scares.  In 2004, Konami decided to go in a different direction  for the series’ most recent entry.  You play as Harry Townsend, a resident of an apartment building who finds himself mysteriously trapped inside the room.  With no means to communicate to the outside, the situation is turning worse for him, until he discovers a mysterious portal in his bathroom, which leads directly into the bizzare alternate world of Silent Hill. 

The gameplay is different from pervious Silent Hill entries.  For starters, your room serves as a hub by which you use to explore the different worlds of Silent Hill.  This is the only place in the game you are able to save, and you reach here via special holes that are scattered throughout the various worlds.  You explore the room via a first-person interface, and for a while, it can be used as a safe haven to recover your energy.  Also, this game is more combat oriented than the other games in the series, as you have a power meter that you can use to inflict more damage on an opponent.  You have a limited inventory, so now item management is a must.  Items can be stored in your room, and this actually becomes a basis for some of the game’s puzzles.  Although it can get fustrating (especially in the second half of the game) with unkillable ghost enemies and a partner you are forced to protect, this is a refreshing change of pace for the series.  One can hope that Konami would explore the possibilities of a first person Silent Hill game in the future.

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