DarshD's Silent Hill Origins Review
Monsters & environments
Movie style story telling.
Music & Soundtracks.
Infinite inventory space!
Plotline can seem lacking sometimes.
Less scary than SH2 and 3.
You can't see anything without torch!
Silent Hill : Origins
Silent Hill : ZERO (Japaneese version name)
This is a unbiased & spoiler-free review of the PS2 game - 'Silent Hill: Origins'. Which is a survival horror, action-adventure game presented in entirely in the 3rd person perspective view.A great game overall, of which I will give in-depth review of.And will help you in making a right decision about this game.
This game contains strong blood, violence & gore. Also scenes that may be considered violent or disturbing. You can also find dismemberment of humans and creatures. May contain occasional mild language or/and suggestive themes.Horror elements can be disturbing to the sensitive persons.Silent Hill games always makes gamer think about the reality and other psychological aspects of our life and thus, sometimes can create depression on sensitive persons.So, only persons above 18 should be allowed to play this game.
The original Silent Hill (Playstation, 2000) was a terrifying horror classic that spawned a series of compelling sequels. But as with movies, when a franchise runs low on ideas they fall back on a prequel. Silent Hill Origins rewinds the timeline of the series and returns back to the feel of the original game. In fact, the opening hospital stage (with psychotic nurses) could have been lifted directly from the first game. Thankfully the action soon moves to more original locations including a theater, butcher shop, motel, and sprawling sanitarium. You can freely roam the streets of town which are shrouded with fog and crawling with freakish monsters. Origins creates an intense atmosphere using the same devices that made previous Silent Hills so unnerving...
Silent Hill Origins acts as a prequel to the popular horror series, and follows troubled truck driver, Travis Grady, who gets stuck in the terrifying town - Silent Hill - while making a routine delivery.
He quickly discovers that all is not well in the fog-smothered town, and that it's shrouded streets hide grotesque creatures and dark secrets.
Moreover, as he explores the seemingly abandoned town, Grady is confronted by crippling memories of his troubled past and it becomes clear he must escape from Silent Hill while resolving the memories that have plagued him since childhood.
Overall, story is great and really seems that it's the very first incident occurred in Silent Hill.And is interesting and never gets dull.And there aren't any main characters other than our Travis Grady.He is totally lonely in the Silent Hill and is trying to escape it while solving the dark mysteries that are hidden in the strange town, Silent Hill...
There is no HUD or any health bar for you. Instead health is displayed in the pause menu/ item screen. This can be irritating sometimes, because you'll never know when your health is low if you don't look in the pause menu. Also, if your health is very very low, then the screen borders will flash red but I doubt that's too late. But, I think this is great because this game is intended to be a survival horror game.So, overall the health system does add to the survival elements of this great game.
Despite being a linear story and some-what linear gameplay, the setting of Silent Hill feels like an open-world environment.There are no 'levels' in this game, instead you are able to explore the whole freaky town and SH games really make you feel that you are stuck in Silent Hill.If you like, you can go to the visited areas again, explore the buildings for weapons, items and health drinks or just keep up with the story. And most notably, when you kill the monsters of the Silent Hill streets, they re-spawn! So, watch out before you try to roam the streets of Silent Hill again.
I disliked how your character can't run very far without becoming winded and slowing down. It's absolutely critical to obtain a map for each new area, because while there are hundreds of doors, about 90 percent of them are locked! The handy map marks everything for you, and you can bring it up at the touch of a button.
Yes, there are two mirror-like worlds present in this (and all the other SH games) game. One is the deserted streets of Silent Hill town and the other is the bloody nightmare version of the Silent Hill.The nightmarish world is more loud,dangerous and scary.The nightmarish world is literally covered in blood and meats.You can move between alternate realities via mirrors, but both worlds are pretty dark and twisted.There are monsters on both sides and while they both are dangerous, nightmarish monsters are more creepy and they sound very very scary.And the environment helps make perfect scary places for these monsters to roam.
Althogh, the game is more concentrated on psychological horror, still this game features combat system. The enemies/monsters don't pop up from nowhere, instead they are usually walking in a certain area or room.When they see you, they come rushing towards you and you must use melee weapons or fists to survive. And guns are very very rare in this game.The enemies don't die easily too, you have to stomp them when they are on the floor.Otherwise, they will come back to life! Horrific, isn't it? Sometimes, this game engages you in Quick Time Events (Remember - 'Haivy Rain', 'God Of War', 'Resident Evil 4', 'Resident Evil 5' or 'Indigo Prophecy/ Fahrenheit' games?) or interactive scenes.
These occur usually when an enemy grapples you or tries to hit you with an injection, you are either asked to press a button in a short time or quickly mash a button so that you can push that enemy away!
A great new addition to the combat system and is quite innovative too.
Survival effect is quite high because of this combat system!
There are wide range of weapons available for you. Most of them are the items that we use regularly. Also, you can hold an unlimited supply of items, which is good considering you'll need to haul drip stands, typewriters, toasters, and even file cabinets!
There are throw-able weapons/items like - Portable TV, Typewriter, Beer bottle, Toaster and many more.
Melee weapons have three types- 1.Minor Damage, 2.Medium Damage & 3.Heavy Damage.
1.Minor damage weapons are usually junk & small regular use items, like- Knife, Scaupel, injections and many more are available.
2.Medium Damage weapons are small engineering type of tools and other medium heavy items, like- Bat, stand etc. and more.
3. Heavy Damage weapons include guns,hammers,chainsaws,axes and many other heavy equipment, like - Sledge hammer,9mm gun, Fireman's Axe,Some heavy weight throw-able items etc. and more.
In this Silent Hill, weapons are breakable and thus, most of the time, you have to stick to you fists for the combat. There are guns in this game but ammo is very very scarce and most of the time guns are useless against the dangerous monsters.Breakable weapons does add some survival element, still it's frustrating and sometimes feels unnecessary.Because, you may feel that -" Why they try to make this game a survival horror by adding breakable weapons instead of adding some dangerous monsters?".
But again, some people may feel differently.This feature is realistic and really does add the survival element to the horror games. But, sometimes, you'll be sad after you break your favourite weapon.
Switching between weapons is very long process if you have plenty of weapons in your inventory.You have to keep pressing on the D-pad till the weapon you want is in your hand.But I really think you'll never have too many weapons in your inventory thanks to the 'breakable' weapons. But in bonus plays, this can be little annoying.
Overall, this game adds lot's of innovative features even while paying homage to other SH games.
Yes, this game has plenty of puzzles.Although they aren't 'God Of War' style puzzles, they are more like 'Resident Evil' or other 'Silent Hill' game puzzles.Sometimes puzzles require you to get all the pieces and then assemble them like a Jigsaw puzzle (not exactly but like a Jigsaw type of puzzle) for example- Get all the plastic human body parts and then put them in the correct position inside the human body decoy.
Really, sometimes puzzles look like an educational activity.There all very different types of puzzles and they does not get repetitive.All of them are done with creative ideas but some of the puzzles are too hard - especially in the early stages. Sometimes a very simple action is required (like flushing a toilet) in order to progress.
There aren't any in-game collectibles on the actual playthrough.But you can collect special costumes by completing this game under some special conditions like- always run don't walk, never access your map more than certain amount of times, kill certain number of enemies by using only fists etc. and many more.
This really adds to the game's replay value.And these things are quite same for almost every Silent Hill game out there.And gives the game, life of 200+ hours.
As stated before, there are special costumes which you can acquire by completing this game again & again under different or/and special conditions.And in the bonus play, you can use your well earned costumes and special weapons/powers that came with your costumes. This feature is available in almost every Silent Hill games, so SH players must have already know this but newcomers should think this feature is like costume using feature of all the 'GOD OF WAR' games and many 'RESIDENT EVIL' games.
The graphics are great for a PS2 game.And there isn't much difference in PSP & PS2 version of the game graphics.However, PS2 have more better graphics because of the stronger and bigger hardware. Still, both PS2 & PSP versions are good and feature stunning graphics. Some people even say that the graphics of this game are better than Silent Hill:Homecoming (a PS3 , PC & X360 SH game)!
I must say, you'll feel they are better because the graphics of SH:Origins have great contrast ratio, stunning lighting effects and use PS2/PSP's graphical sheen perfectly.Characters of this game look realistic and their facial expressions are good too.
The graphics are so purposely grainy that I thought there was a problem with my TV! Limited (and sometimes disorienting) camera angles convey a sense of paranoia, and the bizarre creatures move in a jerky, unnatural manner.
However, sometimes CGIs look way too good than the actual game for example- the starting scene graphics and gameplay graphics.Also, characters look different in CGIs and in actual gameplay.This is kinda better in Silent Hill 2,3,4 & Homecoming because most of them used in-game engine for the cut-scenes (especially Homecoming) and other were strangely very well done (SH 2 & 3 for example).Also, you have to keep your torch always on because you can't see a thing in this game! And increasing your TV's brightness to the maximum becomes almost necessary. Almost every part of the game has dark rooms and shadowy corridors. It creates great in your face horror moments and makes this game more frightening but it would have been great if they just increased the Gamma just a little.
But this game is really good looking. It's still an awesome game that have great graphics and lighting effects.
The most potent aspect of the game is its audio.Like every Silent Hill game, the music is a masterpiece itself and probably is the half game experience.The score is performed by the artist who gave music/ scores to the previous (SH 1,2,3 & 4), Shattered Mamories and Homecoming SH games- Akira Yamaoka.As always, Akira did a great job and that's why music & background score are one of the best aspects of this game.Also, songs by the SH series' vocalist -Mary Elizabeth McGlynn are quite awesome.
Voice acting, for the most of the time, is good.Monsters sound horrific. And some people may find it very scary. Really, a great effort by the game.
* AI (Artifiacial Intelligence):
AI is quite good and because all of the enemies are monsters, they simply run at you and try to kill you. Sure, they seem brain-less but maybe that's what they are intended to do!
Classic enemies range from nurses to different types of flesh monsters. A selection of freaky new creatures includes giant frozen chickens, shadows with floating head harnesses, and puppets on strings. Yes, puppets are inherently creepy, but these are positively terrifying! And there are occasional boss fights too. Every area has different types of monsters and they react differently too. Every monster has some strength and weaknesses. Monsters walk and act very realistically in a strange way and are very frightening.
There are many old classic and new monsters to see in this Silent Hill.
Scariness is moderate. It really depends on whether you are a horror gamer or a casual one. But I think, this game was less scary than Silent Hill 2 or Resident Evil 2.But as a individual game, this game delivers enough scares to make you scream on certain occasions and is a frightening ride from start to finish!
Like many other Silent Hill games, God Of War games or Resident Evil games, the replay value of this title is very high.The actual playthrough is about 10-12 hours long but don't fear, because you can play this game again & again to unlock special costumes and unlockables. Then, again & again to use these special costumes/ unlockables and also, you can roam the Silent Hill and can try to get all the unlockables in order to get this game 100% complete! Silent Hill games are usually worth playing again & again because of their horror effects, unlockables, music & great story telling. So, it will appeal to both horror/Silent Hill fans and casual gamers too.
This is a great survival horror game experience which explains some origins of the mysterious town- 'Silent Hill'.And is a must buy for any Silent Hill, Resident Evil or other horror game fan. And if you are a casual player, you can try renting/borrowing this game to get a feel of it and experience the unique tale of this game or can buy it. Really, PS2 games aren't that much expensive (especially on on-line stores like eBay, Gamestop or Amazon) and this game is a quality one.Gives you lot's of gameplay hours and entertains you a lot. Rent it or buy it, but be sure to play it.
Story length/depth: 4/5
Voice acting: 4/5
Production Value: 4.4/5
Replay Value: If you are a fan of Silent Hill games or you'd like to play every difficulty modes & earn every unlockable , then - 4.8/5. If you are a casual player, then- 3.5/5.
Silent Hill games are usually worth playing again & again because of their horror effects, unlockables, music & great story telling.
On the scale of 5, this game gets: 4.7/5
On the scale of 10, this game gets: 8.5/10
On the scale of 100%, this game gets: 87%
On the scale of 50, this game gets: 39/50
Thanks for reading this review.I hope you found it useful.
- Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
- Silent Hill Origins
- Silent Hill 4: The Room
- Silent Hill 3
- Silent Hill 2