2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Too complex for it's own good, but not the worst of the series...,
This review is from: Silent Hill 4: The Room (Xbox) (Video Game)
It's easy to not like Silent Hill 4 because it was the weakest of the series on release - but in retrospect, especially having played Origins, it's a much better game than I gave it credit for.
It's not the first time a Silent Hill game has started outside Silent Hill, but it's the first time it's stayed out. Apart from a couple of vaguely related locations (a forest and a prison supposedly on Silent Hill's outskirts and in a lake respectively), Silent Hill stays out of the story.
The atmosphere in The Room is it's strongest selling point - it manages to create an awkward, claustrophobic feel that isn't scary as such, more unsettling - it feels a lot like the Japanese films it mimics, The Grudge, Ring, Dark Water... It's possibly the most overtly cinematic Silent Hill - directly ripping off Ring and The Cell in particular.
I'm not entirely sure how intentional it is, but the characters all have a weird dozey, sleepwalky feel to them that adds a lot to the surreal story. It's a new feel for the series, and it's jarring at first, but it does settle in once Henry's neighbours start dying in gruesome ways.
The game's biggest problem is it's lack of direction - it feels like a patchwork of ideas from films and other Silent Hill games, and even ends up repeating every single level for the game's protracted last act - the last 6 "levels" feeling so drawn out that you end up begging for it to finish, which is a shame because the setup is great. The story is beyond convoluted, and all four endings leave loose ends untied and offer little closure to the story.
It's visually and audibly one of the best of the series - the music is second only to Silent Hill 2 - and if you can forgive the clunky gameplay and repetitive environments it's actually got some of the series' high points in it (peaking when Henry meets the former inhabitant of his room, and it's hard to not feel sorry for poor Eileen).
Well worth getting cheap, and it's backwards compatible with the Xbox 360 (despite a few severe graphical glitches).