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Silent Hill HD Collection (Xbox 360) artwork

Silent Hill HD Collection (Xbox 360) review


"I am not enamoured of any two old games slapped together (just Silent Hill 2 and 3 in this case) being called a “collection” in the first place, especially given how easily Silent Hill 4: The Room (of the same ‘era’) could have been included for more value if not quality. Moreover, the third instalment isn't a great game anyway; certainly not on par with the second – but this is still the best release for the series in ages."



Silent Hill HD Collection asset


Finally, Silent Hill fans have something to be excited about. In fact, this disc, plus the HD remastering of Resident Evil 4 represent the first reasons for survival horror fans in general to be excited since… well, since Resident Evil 4 first came out. That being said, Silent Hill HD Collection isn’t without its issues.

I am not enamoured of any two old games slapped together (just Silent Hill 2 and 3 in this case) being called a “collection” in the first place, especially given how easily Silent Hill 4: The Room (of the same ‘era’) could have been included for more value if not quality. Moreover, the third instalment isn't a great game anyway; certainly not on par with the second – but this is still the best release for the series in ages.

For relative newcomers to the series, who may have cut their teeth on Silent Hill: Homecoming or something equally visually impressive and emotionally underwhelming, recognize that Silent Hill 2 is the seminal, haunting experience from which modern developers draw inspiration for their comparatively lifeless sequels.

You will recognize too, the reason why the story of the guilt-ridden, brooding protagonist worked so well here and not so well hereafter; James Sunderland’s tale is told well, and it is one that stays with you well after the experience has come to a close.

It seems that James’s dead wife has invited him to meet her at the titular, near-deserted resort town; whether he finds her or not, he will find what he’s looking for (whether he is prepared for it or not). The way the decidedly mature material is handled is deeply affecting.

Silent Hill HD Collection asset


This is not to say that the game is perfect; it never was, and it certainly isn’t now. There are long stretches (most notably at the beginning) of running and running and running, and of ceaselessly and uselessly trying locked doors, and of hokey CGI sequences. Only the latter has been addressed, and much has been made of the new voice acting.

Given that we are provided a choice between old and new voices in Silent Hill 2, the difference between the two is remarkably clear. The new voices are much, much better, as the new actors make the sometimes cringe-worthy script seem natural and believable.

When combined with the now-sharp HD visuals, this is the best possible version of one of the best survival horror games ever made, notwithstanding its deliberate pacing which may seem a little on the slow side, especially for today’s gamers. The dynamic between James and Pyramid Head atop a compelling framework of pain and suffering, and guilt and atonement, manifests as one of the most meaningful, melancholy and terrifying experiences in horror gaming.

Silent Hill 3 is a different story. It has nothing to do with the second game, and is generally viewed as a direct sequel to the first game. Its protagonist, Heather, is the most celebrated character in the series, and for good reason: she’s young, her dialogue and reactions to the insanity around her rings true, and the actress who voiced her did a wonderful job bringing her to life.

Silent Hill HD Collection asset


Which begs the question: why was her work completely omitted from this re-release? This is not to say that the new actress’ interpretation isn’t adequate; it’s quite good, if a bit mature, but contrary to the case with James, Heather never needed the redo (and I’m sure some purists will find it in themselves to be perturbed).

In any case, what struck me most in revisiting Silent Hill 3 was that Akira Yamaoka’s work was probably never better than it is here. The stirring intro music, for instance, is in stark contrast to the horribly out-of-place Korn track that blares to open the newest iteration, Silent Hill: Downpour.

The perfect, mood-setting score, along with Heather being the most likable protagonist in the series is the good news; the bad news is that Silent Hill 3 marks the first time the series abandoned the hanging carrot. The first time we no longer felt like proper detectives of the supernatural, and investigators into evil.

No longer are we on the trail of something both fragile and critical--a child gone like a wisp of smoke, the spectre of a ghostly spouse--now we are bumblers plunked directly into nastiness where we must rattle around we come out the other end having 'learned' the story by accident, by virtue of hanging around for long enough.

It’s a testament to Team Silent’s passion and intimate knowledge of their creation that the game is a still a worthwhile experience on the back of everything else it does right.

Silent Hill 3’s faults aside, it’s still worth your time to play it to learn more about the canon’s backstory in general, the first game’s backstory in particular. Besides, having a well-acted, HD version of Silent Hill 2 in your collection is nearly worth the price of admission on its own.

Rating: 8/10

Masters's avatar
Staff review by Marc Golding (April 09, 2012)

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zippdementia posted April 09, 2012:

So Silent Hill HD is 1-3 or 2 and 3?
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Masters posted April 09, 2012:

Just 2 and 3. I didn't mention 1. Wait, did you read the review?
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mrmiyamoto posted April 09, 2012:

Why DID they omit 1? I'm at a loss for words. Nice review, though. I tend to get deeply sad whenever I read most SH reviews, as the downturn the series has taken is truly tragic. In this case, nostalgia rings true. Still, though. No SH1? WTF?
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Masters posted April 10, 2012:

Initially, I felt the way you do about SH1. But then I considered this: SH1 is a PS1 game, not a PS2 game. And it's not one of the better looking PS1 games at that. Can you imagine how ugly it would look if they dragged it onto a PS3/Xbox 360 disc in high def? Also, I'm sure Konami believes that they've already pacified the SH1 faithful with their reimagining of that game with Shattered Memories, even though that game clearly sucks.

But I do know how you feel. I wish someone would redo SH1 and update it with love. Sigh.

Anyway, glad you liked the review.
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Alk31997 posted April 10, 2012:

This review is admirable. I have never played Silent Hill 2 and 3, but i am interested now, might buy the HD collection today.

Thanks.
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Masters posted April 10, 2012:

That's kind of you. Hope you like it!
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EmP posted April 10, 2012:

I don't like Silent Hill. Stop writing about it!
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zippdementia posted April 10, 2012:

I did read the review, Masters. This line confused me at the end (I haven't played SH 3): "Silent Hill 3’s faults aside, it’s still worth your time to play to learn more about the canon’s backstory in general, the first game’s backstory in particular."

I thought maybe you were inferring that the first game was included.
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Masters posted April 10, 2012:

You learn more about the first game's backstory because SH3 is its direct sequel; this is something I mentioned earlier in the review. Sorry, Jason and I assumed you hadn't read the review.
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overdrive posted April 10, 2012:

At least there's something with the Silent Hill name being released that's worth buying! Even if I played both games before and only really liked one of the two.
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zippdementia posted April 10, 2012:

No, it's alright, I can see why it might have looked like that, considering I didn't leave any other feedback. I actually read it several times and enjoyed it more each time. Just having never played Silent Hill 3 I got a little confused. I also was probably just hopeful... SH 1 and 2 are games that I would like to see redone. Thank god the voice acting was redone on SH2, though it sounds like SH3's voice acting redesign was unecessary. While reading that, I was reminded of Metal Gear Twin Snake's re-recording. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't the same. And it was needless.
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zippdementia posted April 10, 2012:

Ooo, you added photos
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Masters posted April 10, 2012:

Glad you enjoyed it Zipp! Yes, Emp made himself useful around here for a change. =D
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zippdementia posted April 10, 2012:

EDIT: I do see now that line in the beginning about which games were included. Somehow that snuck past me each time. Now I feel silly.

That happens a lot to me with online material, though. When I do my online editing, I often print out the material or download it to my Kindle. A doctor actually told me once it had something to do with my color blindness and the shade of white that serves as the standard web background. It helps that you bolded it, though.
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Sise-Neg posted April 10, 2012:

A thread on the Silent Hill Wiki is claiming that the PS3 version of SH2 and SH3 HD is bugged up the A:

http://silenthill.wikia.com/wiki/User_blog:Ccrogers15/WARNING!_HD_COLLECTION_IS_SEVERELY_BROKEN!

Have you experienced any of these sorts of problems?
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Masters posted April 10, 2012:

Haha! I considered letting you go on feeling as if you are crazy, but thought better of it.

I actually made that edit based on your confusion to help clarify things for readers. Initially, I thought the fact that I said a couple games and only talked about two, would be enough for folks to know that there are in fact only two games on offer. But, I guess you can't be TOO clear. ;)

EDIT: I didn't experience any of that, no. But then the link you provided does say that Xbox users needn't worry as these issues don't affect us.
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zippdementia posted April 10, 2012:

You can count on Zipp to represent the confused masses! Next you'll need gif arrows pointing dramatically to where you mention which games are in the collection. And maybe a wiki link to the HD collection, just in case.

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