There are two things wrong with the name of the Silent Hill HD Collection, first, it’s barely a collection at all, consisting as it does of just Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3, and second, those graphics fall short of what you expect of HD, the developers seemingly content to carry forward the game’s existing PS2-era aesthetics.
Thankfully our criticism ends there, as in Silent Hill 2 you’re presented with gaming’s finest survival horror – a tortured, creeping, squirming sensation which lingers as long in the mind as it does the soul, through its uniquely bleak psychological trauma.
Unwieldy controls remain intact, with turning circles and melee attacks left intentionally sluggish – so much the better to have you leaping out of your seat as the palpable dread is briefly replaced by fleeting moments of shock – while the colour palette remains so gloomy that it’s just as well the game’s victim is provided will a dimly illuminating torch.
Elsewhere cerebral puzzles tease the brain, their solution logical but often requiring a leap of almost Sherlock Holmes-like deduction in order to solve. The payoff for long periods of muttering and teeth gnashing well worth it in the end as a final burst of inspiration paves the way to ever more terror filled areas of the metaphor-laden town.
To further reveal what’s in store would be to give away the secrets of one of gaming’s greatest shows, suffice it to say that a first, or even return visit, is well worth the time investment, just be sure to go in with a firm constitution.
Silent Hill 3 which completes the package offers more of the same, albeit without hitting those exact same highs. As horror games go it’s still well up there, just a little more plodding in nature – especially during its overly long overtures – and so even more patience is required than in Silent Hill 2 to penetrate its shadows.
The Silent Hill franchise still stands up as the finest example of survival horror available and, while it’s a shame the likes of the original game, Silent Hill: The Room and even Silent Hill: Shattered Memories fail to make the trip, the inclusion of Silent Hill 2 ensures this is most certainly recommended for those looking to dim these unseasonable bright days – even if we hoped for more from what are (at best) middle-definition visuals.
Format: Xbox 360 (tested), PS3