Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Teddy�s view of Silent Hill: Inner Fears, 22 Mar. 2003
This review is from: Silent Hill 2 - Inner Fears (Video Game)
To date there is not a great deal of choice in the Survival Horror genre for the Xbox. Aside from the likes of The Thing and Genma Onimusha, which are both quasi-horror titles based on genre mixes - Silent Hill is the best pure horror title available for the Xbox.
You would be quickly forgiven if you were to state that this title is little more than a straight port of the Play Station 2 title- Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams. The reason being that you would be largely correct in you assumption. The only differences are that the graphics and sound have been tweaked ever so slightly, there are several hidden endings which are not in the previous version and there is a sub-game which you can play once you have thought, hacked and slashed through the main game.
Graphics
AT first glance the game does seem graphically quite dated now, despite the fact that is was not that long ago that the PS2 title was released. The scenery is often dark, and largely devoid of colour and when combined with the extreme misting in the outside environments you really do being to question why the game has been made like this. It is only after a few minutes of wandering blindly through the pea soup fog from hell feeling isolated and horribly claustrophobic, that you realise the genius that is at work! The over-fogging is far too extreme to be anything other than deliberate and the consequent lack of colour adds another level to the total immersion of the whole experience.
Sound
What really makes you feel so very alone vulnerable and blind as a bat though is the sound! If you have Dolby 5.1 linked to your Xbox you are in for a real treat! The use of sound in the game is nothing short of amazing! Like all true horror films it is the sound that really gets the shivers going up your back! Turn the sound off and it seems like nothing more than a stroll through the park (albeit a very foggy, messy park). Turn the sound on and the sound you will remember in this game will haunt you for far longer than the visuals ever will! The majority of the sound is background noise, although there is sometimes music there to add atmosphere. The sounds range from the static white sound from a radio, which it turns out, can some how pick up demons in close proximity, even when you can't see them to the hideous grating of metal on stone! Combined with the debilitating graphics, you quickly find yourself having to rely on your ears to hear your way through the hell that is Silent Hill!
Plot
The plot elements are put together like a murder mystery in which you have to solve the crime. Right from the beginning there is an obvious supernatural element at work as you, in the role of the somewhat "normal" character of James Sutherland set out back to Silent Hill having received a letter from someone claiming to be his dead wife, Mary. It is not long before the classic elements of a horror classic are at work and a series of rather odd characters are introduced - not least Maria, who for some reason looks the spitting image of Mary but for a few cosmetic differences. The plot soon twists and turns its way into the darkness, which turns out to be more a quest for sanity. It is done in such a way that just about everything that seems comparatively nice is eventually revealed to have a putrid underbelly! All the characters, including James himself have a mystery to be solved and a story to be unveiled as the plot progresses. In the end you will find that nothing is how it initially seemed and the mystery of what really happened to Mary is revealed!
I personally felt that the whole package was really aimed more at the die-hard fans of the Silent Hill series than the casual player. The game does hold its own as a standalone title, but it contains more than a few clues and pointers to the first Play Station title. Having played through the game, I personally felt that playing through again in the hope of getting another ending was more than I was I was prepared to do! There is very little scope for deviation off the linear path carved out by the plot, and there are only a hand full of choices to be made in the game which have any effect on which ending you will reach at the game's climax. These choices seem more than a little ambiguous, even with the aid of a walkthrough; without one you would quite literally be groping in the dark! Even the additional mini game, "Born from a wish" in which you assume the role of Maria, seemed like a chore, after I'd battled my way through the very forces of insanity and hell in the main game! It felt like nothing more than a gimmick, bolted to the package as an extra for the sake of an extra!
Despite this the game was certainly a definitive experience, and one which there is nothing else close to on the Xbox. I would say it is certainly worth a play, certainly if you have not played Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams. You will certainly remember the experience even if you will not want to rep
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