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snoogans775 avatar 11:35 AM on 05.10.2010  (server time)
Silent Hill: Shatttered Memories and Compromises

This is an evil horrible thing. Sony of America will pay for this with every ounce of human liquid I can eviscerate from the toothy sacks that they call a QA department.

Destructoid gave me this machine, and Sony took it away. Because I was just a middleman in the affair, I expect there to be an official agreement that Hamza can punch someone in the throat.

But, because THIS happened, I have gotten a chance to play Silent Hill: Shattered Memories on my magically functioning PS2. Upon popping the game in, I have been greeted with some awesome sound design which is only brought down by the questionable decisions by the developers.

Gameplay and atmosphere aside, Shattered Memories sounds fantastic! This time, the music plays more of a cinematic role, with very unnerving ambient music floating in whenever the player moves into a new environment. The environments in the game are pretty mundane, and the music does a great job of opening up the player's imagination to unseen dangers. But the issue of danger is actually a serious problem in the game, because although haunting music and the jarring sounds of cackling infants are intensely effective in arousing my feelings of weakness, the game very explicitly separates the monsters into one distinct world that you spend about 1/8th of the game in. The rest of the time, the game has gone out of the way to let me know that nothing can hurt me. That is stupid, and arrogant.

The developers really thought they were so good at psychological horror that they could get by on the "OMG that's creepy!" moments that come from the little messages and mildly weird junk that the world is populated with. But because I know EXACTLY what the conditions are for my character to be in danger, my doubt fades, my boredom rises, and my frustration and ability to enjoy the awesome sound design is greatly dampened. It's a shame, because if the same music and sound design were applied to a less contrived and well-designed game world, this game would be fucking fantastic.

Yamaoka 1. Climax 0.

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