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Shattered Memories; A New Hope

 There are some towns; you do not want to be stuck in an abandoned apartment building. Silent Hill is defiantly one of those places. In Silent Hill, every locked door is a relief. If means that you safe, even if it is only for a couple of second. It is a wonderful vacation from a horrible world. Unfortunately, there are some doors in silent hill that are not locked. One room I can remember particularly vividly. I walked into an odd apartment that had no furniture in the room. The room appeared rather ordinary except the far wall was a giant mirror. I hesitantly walked up to the window to seeing it the room held any significant. When it appeared safe I figured the room was a dead end and I would have to find another way to escape this hellhole. As I walked to the exit, my heart sunk into my stomach. My reflection stopped moving. I ran for the door. It was locked. My reflection stood there staring vacantly. I was paralyzed by fear. Then things worsened. My reflection appeared to begin bleeding from its head. But it was not blood. It was some fleshly, blood red; parasite was spreading all over its body. It went from its head, its neck, then its body, all the way down to its feet. Then it began spreading across the floor. It was moving so quickly. Within seconds everything beyond the mirror was engulfed. Then it spread past the mirror. I had to escape, so I did. I paused.

The summer before my sophomore year of high school, I remember vividly being in my room with my friend Chris experiencing this moment. We must have sat there for 15 minutes nervously laughing at one another acting like everything was fine. No game series has delivered that level of fear like Silent Hill did. Then something terrible happened. Team Silent stopped developing Silent Hill games. The team was broken up and they are all working on various products at Konami. Where did this leave Silent Hill? Well, they gave it to two American developers: Climax and Double Helix. Climax made a PSP game that was a precursor to the whole series. They understood was make Silent Hill interesting but they were not the best story tellers. Double Helix on the other hand seemed to have no idea what made Silent Hill good. They took the criticism about the clucky combat to heart and made the main character ex-military. When you can easily take down all of the horrifying creatures in the game, the tension and fear is gone. It made the game it to a mediocre third person shooter. Not surprisingly, fan did not like this and the game bombed. This gave Climax another shot at making a Silent Hill game, and this time they made it their own.

In Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, there is no combat. You have to run in fear of every enemy you face. This one element brings back many of the feeling the first game brought. When you enter the dark side of Silent Hill, you know you have no choice but to run and run fast. This sense of urgency and fear is a welcomed return to the games. Gameplay and story wise the game is completely different. The game is now an adventure game. You search areas looking for clues to what happened to you daughter. What makes the game so innovative is the fact that the choice you make in the game actually do effect the outcome and you relationships in the game. As soon as you even the game, you are placed in front of a therapist who gives you a short answer sheet to answer about yourself. Each answer affects the word and the characters you meet in the game. If you say that you have cheated on a partner, the cop in the town might be wherein more reveling clothing. If you say that you always follow the rules and do not get along with people, the cop will be in full uniform and be quite harsh and accusatory of you. This game really make you experience personalized and your own.

Gamers seem to fear how I different experience than one another. If people cannot get the story from every angle from one play though then they get angry. I believe that this is exactly what gaming needs. Gaming is a medium where you can interact with the world. Those interactions should have consequences or rewards, in Shattered Memories they do.

Jeff Silva,
Pierce Arrow Blogger

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