Video Game Review: “Silent Hill: Origins”

 Silent Hill has definitely become one of the most known franchises out-there. A lot of that has to do with how long it has been around and how much material has been released for it but that also has to deal with how well-respected it was. At least at first, if nothing else. I know that this isn’t exactly the review that deserves to be the first time visiting Silent Hill but the fact is that I didn’t really have a choice. I don’t have the other ones, so there, … I said it. I will review Homecoming and Downpour later this month though. I will eventually review the other four but I don’t have them now and I didn’t want to have October without at least talking about some of the Silent Hill video-games.

    Silent Hill: Origins, other-wise known as Silent Hill Zero in Japan, shades of what Resident Evil did some times ago, is a survival horror video-game originally released on the PlayStation Portable. It’s for those reasons that I don’t think it should be held in the same esteem as the first four, Homecoming, and Downpour. I’ll review it with the same criteria but I didn’t expect it to be exactly amazing. The game was developed by Climax Studios, known for absolutely nothing. I heard a rumor about them doing something for Prince of Persia but I don’t know. I am terrified about it though. It was published by Konami Digital Entertainment in November 2007 and was released for the PlayStation 2 in March 2008.

    The fifth installment in the Sill Hill series is a prequel to the first game, and follows trucker Travis Grady as he searches for information about a girl whom he rescued from a fire. He eventually discovers more about the troublesome town of Silent Hill and begins unraveling some of his repressed childhood memories. One of the biggest criticisms had about this game is that Climax Studios goes out of its way not to be ambitious about itself, bringing elements that have been seen before in the series.

    As I’ve said, I don’t have the older installments and can only vaguely recall the times I had with them but I do feel that it didn’t possess the same certain energy or enthusiasm that it should have. I draw my thoughts and way of perceiving from others have a more zealous way about them, even ones that aren’t exactly credited for their uniqueness.

    The story isn’t anything that could leave you biting your nails with high anticipation for what happens next, but it isn’t anything horrible either. If you remember the Silent Hill movie released some time or another, Origins basically follows that premise. Which leads me to saying this: The twists and turns felt oddly familiar from games that I’ve played in the past and seemed to remind me of a generic horror-movie that I might rent from the video-store and after I finish watching, decide met my expectations on all accounts. The graphics in the game weren’t anything magnificent either, and were especially below standards.

    At least to an extent, they have an out for that considering that the game was adopted from the PlayStation Portable, but I won’t entirely refute that statement.

    They did something bizarre with the cinematography in the game, in that, during battles and confrontation, the visuals have a grainy layer put over them. I don’t know whether this was done to come across as scary or artsy. Whichever, the creators failed on succeeding in it because there’s nothing scary about your vision being obscured for no good reason, and there’s nothing artistic about worsening your already feeble and inadequate graphics. For what it is, I suppose that the scenery was decorative enough and at the very least gave me reason to believe that I was actually in Silent Hill.

    There is also many puzzles throughout the game that I actually enjoyed solving amongst other things. Although, I firmly believe that jigsaw puzzles shouldn’t be in these kinds of games. I think what I am trying to say with mentioning the puzzles is that there is some elements that I was able to draw enjoyment from. The graphics and story feel rather vague and remote as if they are merely going through the motions and not looking to bring any innovations whatsoever to the franchise. With this, it certainly keeps the game from being anything good, however, it’s the rest of the game-play and the controls that make it mediocre.

Silent Hill: Homecoming, most certainly didn’t have fighting mechanics that I’d often find myself praising, however, there was at least a considerable amount of depth to them. You could block and you had multiple ways to strike your adversary, whereas in Silent Hill Origins, there is nothing like that to be seen. Every creature that you’ll fight throughout the game may come across as menacing in the beginning but you’ll eventually discover that the game’s hollow center enables for you to easily overcome every one of them, bosses included, without complications.

    It’s as easy as going up to your opposition and spamming buttons like this is a button-masher, but the only difference is that this isn’t a button-masher, and your opponent isn’t going to be given the opportunity to fight back. This makes it easier at first but before long its easy to become bored with the repetitive that the game-play has to offer. Most of the challenge to be discovered in Silent Hill Origins isn’t going to be found from the game’s merit or the things it didn’t right, but instead, it’s going to be found from the various problems as well as the things they did wrong.

    In conclusion, Silent Hill Origins isn’t really anything that I’d say is checking out, however, for most Silent Hill enthusiasts, it isn’t really going to matter what I say, and for them, I think that there will be some things about the game that will be appreciated. I also think that they’ll come to agree that it leaves a lot to be desired.

Rating: – 1.8 out of 5.0