Announced last week, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is a "reimagining" of the game that started it all, set for the Wii, PS2 and PSP this Fall. Following up on Konami's "Gamers Night 2009" event last week, we have some screenshots and impressions of the game for you.
The big worry for Silent Hill obsessives like ourselves is the game, especially being developed by anyone other than Team Silent, will turn out to be a "competent but ultimately soulless retread of previous themes" (as Shacknews puts it), like its predecessor Homecoming. Apparently, despite our impressions from E3 (Quicktime events in my Silent Hill?) this looks not to be the case.
The Mature rating will remain, plus fan favourite Akira Yamaoka will retain composition duties, so even if the game doesn't live up, at least we can look forward to another great soundtrack.
One of the changes to come to this new take on the game is its "arctic theme". Like in previous entries, Shattered Memories will delve into an alternate universe, and the visuals and environment will reflect as such (remember the last worlds of Silent Hill 3?), but with changes in keeping with a different vision.
In terms of gameplay, narration plays a big part in checking out objects and such, altogether replacing text. Though this is a charm of games like those in the Silent Hill series, and nods to the genre's point-and-click adventure roots, the result could be a more immersive experience. Adding to this factor is Climax Studio's goal of eliminating loading screens and an inventory.
Yes, turns out that cell phone we spotted our protganist with will play a big role in gameplay, functioning as the only menu, giving us a GPS, notepad, a camera (treading into Fatal Frame territory here; taking photos will prompt voice and text messages) and, well, a phone. One feature we're particularly impressed with (though it does defy horror standards) is the ability to call numbers you find in the game's universe, which will yield "surprising results" and extra story content. Just as long as the phone isn't branded (again), though product placement is pretty terrifying...
For the Wii version of the game, the remote will control the flashlight beam, with our main character Harry's movement tied to the analog stick. The game's demonstration shows very fluid controls -- good to know.
There's one thing many fans are probably going to be upset about, however: no combat. While some feel it's a "refreshing change of pace for a series that never emphasized combat in the first place", it doesn't seem very realistic to be running away from every enemy you encounter, and hence less scary.
In any case, our instinct at this point is the game will succeed Homecoming and be something more than "competent", though a gameplay change or two will addle some fans. Only time will tell, as always..