Silent Hill 2

With the Silent Hill HD Collection being lambasted by fans and critics (my review now available here!), I thought I’d take a moment to discuss exactly why I feel it was so important for the original voice acting of the games (Silent Hill 2 specifically) to be retained. And it isn't just a matter of personal preference based on my familiarity with the original actors; although, that is definitely a contributing factor.

Critics tend to make a simple equivocation fallacy when describing the voice acting of Silent Hill as "awkward" and then calling it "bad". But "awkward" does not necessarily mean "bad". In fact, the awkward voice acting of Silent Hill 2 is actually a benefit to the game's narrative and mood. This is something that should be apparent to anybody who is actually paying attention to what's happening in the game.

Let us first take a step back and look at the design principles that went into Silent Hill 2.

Silent Hill 2 - I'm not crazy
James begins to doubt his own mental stability

Silent Hill 2 is a particular kind of horror game. It differs from other horror games at the time - such as Resident Evil and even its own predecessor Silent Hill - in that it is a very emotional brand of horror. The horror doesn't come so much from being "afraid", but rather, from being depressed, confused, and unsure of what is going on around you. Silent Hill 2 is a very dark and gloomy game, and definitely deserves its "M for Mature" rating with its story and themes alone. Team Silent accomplishes this by immersing the player in decrepit environments and introducing elements of surrealism to the game's reality. They then supplement this by slowing breaking down the foundational pillars of what the main character thinks is real, and then forcing the character and the player to wonder whether their own senses can be trusted.

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Monday, February 27, 2012 12:25 PM

Silent Hill Over?

in Video Gaming by MegaBearsFan

Following the review of Silent Hill 3 on Twin Perfect’s "The Real Silent Hill Experience", DerFuzhwar, Fungo, and Rosseter assert that Silent Hill 3 should have ended the series: "Silent Hill over".

Twin Perfect declares 'Silent Hill over'
Twin Perfect declares "Silent Hill Over".

They don’t seem to have any confidence that Vatra or any other developer will be able to replicate the success of Team Silent, and that future installments are only going to dilute the quality of the series as a whole. Although they appreciate Silent Hill 4 for making a contribution to the game’s universe, they also say that it was not necessary to make, as Silent Hill 3 wrapped up the story of the franchise successfully and satisfactorily.

While I agree that the outside developers have completely squandered their attempts opportunities with Silent Hill, I respectfully disagree with their position that the series should be terminated. I still think there is plenty of material in the context of the first four games that is left to explore.

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Silent Hill 2

My Pyramid Head cosplay (2010-2011)
My cosplay for 2010-2011

Silent Hill is sadly one of the most misunderstood game franchises in existence. Part of this is due to the fragmentary and disjointed way in which the original games tell their stories. The designers of the first three games didn't just tell the player what the game's story is. There is no “Bond villian wrap-up” at the end. The designers respected the intelligence of the player, gave us clues piece by piece over the course of each game, and relied on us to put it all together in the end.

But too many fans rely on information that has been circulated by many third-party documents, including some “official” strategy guides and plot analysis that contain possibly inaccurate information that ignores information specifically provided within the game. And when Team Silent disbanded after Silent Hill 4, this erroneous information became the basis for the plots of the future games (and the movie), further tainting people's ideas of the original plots.

As such, this is going to be the first in a series of analysis and interpretation articles that I will be posting on this blog in anticipation of the upcoming Silent Hill Downpour.

Of course, any discussion of Pyramid Head is going to include PLOT SPOILERS for the game. If you haven't played the game yet, read ahead at your own risk. Also, this post contains images and video that may not be safe for work!

The “Rape Time” myth

One example of an unfortunate misunderstanding with the franchise is that Silent Hill fans have latched onto this idea that Red Pyramid Thing (a.k.a. “Pyramid Head”) is a raving serial mannequin-rapist. I believe that label is unjustified.

The idea that Red Pyramid Thing is a mannequin rapist comes almost exclusively from this first major encounter with the creature in the apartment buildings.

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A gamer's thoughts

Welcome to Mega Bears Fan's blog, and thanks for visiting! This blog is mostly dedicated to game reviews, strategies, and analysis of my favorite games. I also talk about my other interests, like football, science and technology, movies, and so on. Feel free to read more about the blog.

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