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    Silent Hill: GUIDE

    Quite simply, the Silent Hill series is a horror dynasty. Its first entry on the original PlayStation inevitably ended up being compared to the Resident Evil games, but that’s something of a false equivalence the Silent Hill games have their own brand of psychological horror, defined by their ability to build an oppressive atmosphere that keeps you in a state of constant unease.

    The series’ brand of third person combat, puzzle solving, twisted enemy design and psycho occult thematics continued to serve it well as the series critically acclaimed second entry appeared on PlayStation 2 and carried it into its third entry, despite some cracks beginning to appear. As the Silent Hill games kept coming, though Silent Hill 4: The Room, Silent Hill: Origins, Silent Hill Homecoming and so on the quality started to decline. However, despite its somewhat shaky tenure in the wake of the third instalment, the name ‘Silent Hill’ still provokes impassioned responses from horror fans who will tell you that Silent Hill and Silent Hill 2 are not only two of the greatest horror games of all time, but two of the greatest games,full stop.


    THE STORY SO FAR
    Silent Hill Doesn't have a narrative thread that leads through every game (though there are characters that appear in more than one entry) and, in any case, one of the series’ traits is that its games have multiple endings, making any attempt at a story summary difficult. There are some constants, though. Silent Hill games generally start with someone entering a town, before quickly realising that there’s something amiss. The protagonist is usually searching for someone, as well as trying to escape the terrifying situation in which they've found themselves embroiled. Then, of course, there is the occult angle and the psychological themes with which Silent Hill is associated. The disturbing things that happen in a Silent Hill game are often linked to its main character’s past actions and mental traumas, with the series delving into some dark and disturbing depths as a result. Given that Silent Hill games are normally self contained in a narrative sense, we’d expect the same to be true when the series makes its debut on PS4 in the form of Silent Hills.

    WHERE TO START
    You will find some who argue that it’s the original Silent Hill that’s the best in the series, so starting right at the beginning isn’t necessarily a bad idea. However, the general consensus is that it’s Silent Hill 2 on PS2 that represents the pinnacle. That alone means that we'd recommend Silent Hill 2 as your way in, but it’s not the only reason that we’ve picked it out. The first Silent Hill was criticised for its clunky and awkward controls at the time, so a newcomer going back that far is likely to find the game incredibly frustrating in the light of how far 3D games have progressed since the PlayStation era.

    The improvements made to the control system for its sequel, along with superior visuals that the PS2 facilitates should make it far more palatable for any of you who are jumping in for the first time. You could try and play Silent Hill 2 via the Silent Hill: HD Collection that was released for PS3, but we wouldn't recommend it, given that the team that made it somehow managed to make the game look worse than the original. It’s best to go back to the PS2 version, if you can.

    ANY SPIN-OFFS?
    YEP. There are a couple of Silent Hill spin offs that play with the formula. The game that represents the biggest departure from most Silent Hill games is Silent Hill: Book Of Memories released for Vita in 2012 which brought RPG elements and co-op into the fold, using a top down perspective, rather than the regular third person view.Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, originally released for the Wii before being ported over to PS2, also changed things up, employing a mix of first person and over the shoulder camera angles, as well as removing combat.

    SO WHAT NEXT?
    Headed up by Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima and director of Pan’s Labyrinth Guillermo Del Toro, Silent Hills is going to be the next entry in the series when it comes to PS4 . If the free playable teaser for the game that Konami released on PSN, P.T., is anything to go by, it would seem that it’s set to reinvigorate a franchise that’s suffered over the years. P.T. is absolutely terrifying and, crucially, it doesn't rely on jump scares. Instead, the horror lies in the way that the game crafts a sense of near unbearable dread and foreboding a hallmark of Silent Hill at it’s best. Those are positive signs for the future of Silent Hill.

    ANYTHING BESIDES GAMES?
    The notoriously rubbish Silent Hill film was released in 2006, starring Sean Bean and his vast array of equally dreadful accents. Somehow, it got a sequel in the form of Silent Hill: Revelation 3Din 2012. This was also rubbish. As well as making the move onto the big screen, Silent Hill also made the transition to print. There’s a Silent Hill novel written by Sadamu Yamashita, which uses the story of the first game as its basis, and a series of Silent Hill comics released between 2004 and 2008. And guess what? They’re generally regarded as being rubbish.

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