Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

Welcome back to Silent Hill. And when I say "back" I mean back to the roots that started it all, to the beginning of what made Silent Hill fans hooked, back to what it meant to roam the streets of Silent Hill, but with a new twist. For long time fans, gameplay will seem familar yet refreshingly new and updated.

Psychological terror. The power to instill the most fear is indeed self-inflicted, and Shattered Memories puts you in the hot seat. Literally. You are immediately greeted with a warning that "this game plays you as much as you play it." By the end of the game, you gain insight to yourself as Shattered Memories psychologically profiles you.

In this nightmare, the heavy fog is replaced with snow and just like in a dream you are helpless to defend against any abominations. That's right, you can't fight back, all you can do from preventing your inevitable end is to run. And all this running most definitely adds to the hype and fear of what lurks around every corner. In short, the game focuses on providing the most perfect atmosphere for great psychological storytelling.

Harry Mason's world begins to take a turn for the worse, when he loses control of his car in a town called Silent Hill and awakens to discover that his 7-year-old daughter, Cheryl, is missing. As he sets off searching for Cheryl and piecing together the fragments of the memory of the accident, his path crosses several residents.

Shattered Memories does a great job in pacing and has a nice blend of perspectives. You may find yourself roaming the stormy streets of Silent Hill, and then suddenly confronted with the "other side" of Silent Hill, trapped in a maze of puzzles and nightmares. You'll also find yourself in several first-person sequences as you and your therapist hash it out during your sessions. You'll be asked to complete simple exercises and answer uncomfortable personal questions about fear and sexuality. There's even a fun little exercise where you color a picture. Without giving away too much, the answers you give affect the characters you'll encounter and the story that unfolds.

I have very little negative criticism to offer. Firstly, Shattered Memories is incredibly short. Though the pacing was on point and the storyline solid, the game is not very long at all. In fact, the first play through took me about 7 hours and subsequent plays took no more than 6 hours. Other than that, the nightmare mazes can seem a bit redundant, daunting, and frankly, pretty frustrating. There were at least 2 mazes that required several attempts. Nevertheless, these shortcomings don't hinder gameplay. Shattered Memories is a refreshing addition to the Silent Hill franchise and pays homage to its roots of psychological terror.

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