Hola! Captain Obvious here ^^^! How is your night?
Mine's been fine.
I've been just sitting here, on my sticky carpet floor.... with the lights on.... playing Silent Hill 1 on my PS3. Almost entirely thanks to The Escapist. Both Jim Sterling and "Yahtzee" have placed Silent Hill 2 squarely on their list of top games evar and it was especially Yahtzee who enticed me to try out the franchise (outside the lone title I had played, Shattered Memories for the Wii) as he's usually pretty damn harsh. A little too harsh at times, I feel. But it must be good, nonetheless, if he thinks it's that good, right?
Well I don't know yet. I just ordered it off of Gamestop's site and am looking forward to playing it by next week.
What I'm doing in the meantime is playing through the original and I'll say right off the bat that if the second game is actually that much better than this (ala another "horror" title's sequel, Dead Space 2), I'll poop land, cement, wood and bricks for which to make a house for me to escape to when I'm cowering away from the thing.
But I'm not the kind of dude to so quickly say a game is creepy like it seems most do. Naw.
The only games to ever truly creepy me out or make me afraid to play would be Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and FEAR 2. For example, Shattered Memories contained a puzzle during a school that, upon completion, would give you a phone number to call and once you type it in and hold the Wiimote to your ear, after about 2 rings a girl would answer and say "Door's open". You'd then hear the sound of a lock clicking in the background. I literally stood up and said "WHOA! WHOA! WHOA! Whoa! Whoa.... whoa.". Took me completely by surprise and it was made that much more effective by implementing the Wiimote as the in-game phone. Genius.
And just the entirety of FEAR 2 creeps me the hell out. My entire first playthrough, I could not stay calm at all. Whether I would have Alma surprise me around the next corner, a white blobby phantom rushing me and distorting my view, the environment completely change on a dime, whatever. It made for one very nice horror game. This is especially interesting because of how powerful your character is. Usually, games that effectively creep you out.. you'd expect to do so because of knowing your character could hardly defend him/herself.
This is probably because of a lot of FEAR 2's creepiness being almost completely psychological.
And in Shattered Memories, I felt as if things could physically harm me.
Now Silent Hill comes along and it's BOTH those things. Something I've never experienced with any other game.
At first, it was just a little creepy. Then it quickly got very psychological. I wanted to know just what the heck was going on. Then it got just creepy again. THEN things started attacking me for real and the atmosphere took over thanks to the fog, subtle but dark music and the crap graphics. Yes, even the graphics.
In one of his recent "Jimquisitions", Sterling made a point that when games are nice-lookin', they lose a lot of their scare factor. Classic horror films were scary because of their tendency to rely on raw make-up and truly disgusting costumes and animatronics. Now, after playing a good deal of Silent Hill 1, I have to concur that it also applies to video games. It gives every object a bit of distortion and mystery. You know what it is, but it's not quite the same. With a game like Silent Hill, it makes that unfamiliarity unsettling and when the game actually tries to be disturbing.... boy is it fucking disturbing.
The school sections, which I just completed, are now forever with me in my mind.
At this point, I recommend anyone who hasn't already played it to stop reading. As I spoil one of the, no doubt, better moments of this game below.
The school had already been pretty creepy until after heading inside the clock tower with the monsters roaming about, the girl crying in the bathroom, the cat getting mauled by... something, all those things written in blood, just the overall darkness, but after stepping inside the clock tower to what at first seemed like a new freaking dimension (.. or was it all along???????), I felt instant terror with one brow raised sharply. The suspended body bags, the bloody metal workings, doors once locked now unlocked and vice versa, going into the 1st floor girls bathroom and coming out suddenly on the second floor and they chose the PERFECT color palette for what it feels like the developers were going for.
It felt as if the school had been zombified, but to a demonic degree.
Having a place familiar immediately jump to something completely foreign and hellish is scary to say the least.
And then the "boss", which I thought was just "eh" until it opened it's jaws and I then remembered the passage I read about a hunter waiting for the lizard to gap it's mouth open and then strike. It gave it a neat sense of reference. It may've gone down within two hits from my shotgun, but I think it was for the better. It would've lost it's creepiness if it took too long to kill. It didn't overstay it's welcome at all. Especially since I was being challenged enough as it is with the "normal" areas.
I love this game's totally unique and foreboding atmosphere, I love this game's total unpredictability and I can't wait to see more.
I hope I'm just scratching the surface of this game....