So you might wonder what makes me play this really old game out of the blue. The reason I picked up a Silent Hill game to play was because I have been watching my favorite [Let’s Player], RoahmMythril, playing Silent Hill 4: The Room. I used to play it many years ago, but all I remember about the game was me being freaked out by it. Seeing Roahm plays SH4 makes me want to get into the series again. In all honesty, after growing up a bit, horror games don’t really scare me any more (unless the ghosts are The Grudge / Ju-On tier of scary).
Needless to say, I enjoyed SH Origins, but let me share to you guys why I think it’s a rather good game.
Note that aside from games where I specified so, my opinion is always completely objective and built up from an absolutely neutral point. While the title is called a ‘Review’, this article is nothing more than a personal opinion (or rant) of someone who has played the game.
All the pictures used in this post are from random Google Search. I thereby claim no ownership to any of them.
This review will contain possible spoilers to the story of Silent Hill Series. Proceed at your own risk!
Silent Hill Origins is the prequel that took place several years prior to the events of Silent Hill 1. In the game, you take control of Travis Grady, a truck driver who saved a mysterious girl from a burning house. He wakes up in Silent Hill and resolves to learn if the girl he saved is still alive or not. In the game, he meets with several casts from Silent Hill 1 (all of which I’m not familiar with at all, lol). As he proceeds his way through the town, he gradually uncovers stuffs about his past and his parents. The game ends in the events that lead right to the start of Silent Hill 1.
It is a shame that I’ve never played Silent Hill 1, so I missed the easter eggs and references here and there. Also, I didn’t even understand half of what was going on in the game, lol. That was partially because I was playing this outside of my house and didn’t really have the time to focus on all the small details.
The graphics is awesome, hands down. I don’t think anyone could argue with that. The graphics in this game is definitely one of the best for PSP games. The motion is smooth and there is hardly any lagging at all. Everything in the game is well detailed and the monsters are real creepy.
Gameplay – Exploration and Puzzles
Silent Hill Origins focused on battles, exploration, and puzzle solving. You collect maps from different location in the game and Travis marks which door is accessible or not on the map after you examine them. It is a good idea to get friendly with the Triangle Button (which brings up the map) since you will be using it A LOT.
Travis has a flashlight and a portable radio with him from the start of the game, and they can be used to your advantage. The portable radio emits static and makes grainy effect on the screen whenever there is an enemy nearby. This is an extremely important feature since the game’s camera can turn against you in tight quarters. The flashlight however, is a double-edged sword. It lets you see in the darkness, but it also allows the monsters to spot you. I left my flashlight opened and I got overwhelmed by the monsters very fast. The best way to use them is when you are exploring small rooms or you already make sure there is no enemy around. Don’t worry; you can still clearly see the grainy effect even with the lights out.
Another exploration feature I really like about this game is the Mirrors. As far as I know, other Silent Hill does not have this feature. The Silent Hill town has two versions: The [Normal] version covered in thick white fog, and the [Otherworld] version covered in darkness with everything rusted and stained with blood. The game requires you to traverse both versions of the town to solve puzzle and get keys. For instance, a room in the ‘Real World’ is locked from the other side. You will have to enter the mirror into the ‘Other World’ and get behind that room to unlock it from the inside. This is a very interesting feature and makes the game’s exploration really fun (albeit really unnerving since the environment in the ‘Other World’ isn’t very friendly). This is coming from a guy who hates running around randomly in a video game.
Silent Hill is plagued with abominations that are out for your blood. As you plunged deeper into the foggy town, more kinds of abominations appear. They ranged from human-sized…thing that has only two legs and no arms (I believe they are called Straight Jacket since it looks like they are wearing jackets, only with their hands tried around themselves) to big abominations that are just a messed up walking lump of meat.
After you’ve duel against these monsters to death, they will fall down and start writhing on the floor. It is your job to finish it off by stomping on the writhing abomination to prevent it from getting back up again.
Let me tell you about a couple of these monsters.
Early on, you fight monsters called ‘Carrion’ (I think that’s the name). These things are…eh…I don’t even know how to start explaining what these guys are. I’ll just throw a picture down here.
Anyway, these things are the first ‘tough’ enemies you fight. They look like they are slow, but they pack a hell lot of punches. Four or five tackles and you can say goodbye to Travis. If that’s not bad enough, later on these guys go on steroids and grew twice in size.
Another enemy worth mentioning is the Ariels. These things are upside-down mannequins plaguing the Artraud Theatre and they attack in groups. They aren’t very dangerous, but the thing about them is, good lord oh god, they are FREAKIN creepy. I mean really, if a walking puppet is already not bad enough, they HAVE to be assembled upside down and make weird noises when they move!
As mentioned earlier, the screen projects grainy effect whenever these things are nearby. Because of this, there is no jump scare that I recall.
…Well, aside from Travis’s face glitch. >_>
Some times when you reset the camera, it goes right into Travis’s head, and this is what you get:
Yup. That’s the only thing that gave me jump scares because it was RIGHT IN MY FACE.
The scariest part about this game, however, is probably exploring the Other World versions of the town. I mean really, it’s already bad enough you are exploring empty dark theatre filled with living puppets / mannequins. It was made worse when everything around you is covered in blood.
Gameplay – Battles
Travis has three big ‘categories’ of weapons available to pick up throughout the whole game. Those are Firearms, Melee, and Throw Objects.
Firearms have limited ammunition that you have to pick up as you go through the game. These are best saved up for bosses since they are dangerous to approach. You get several types of firearms, ranging from pistols to assault rifles (I still can’t believe I missed the Rifle ._.). My favorite goes through the Shotgun. It saved me SO MANY TIMES from tight spot. This baby downs a normal-sized Carrion in a shot. All you have to do is shoot ONCE, then quickly stomp it as it goes down. This save your resource, and you wouldn’t have to get hurt as well.
Next, we have Melee Weapons. You pick up so many Melee Weapons ranging from a screwdriver and a jagged wood plank to a samurai katana and spear. Most of these weapons can be charged up for extra power. The catch to melees in this game is that ALL of them are breakable. After certain amount of uses, these weapons break down and you have to equip another one.
Finally, we have the Throw Weapons. Now excuse me while I make this random shout out.
TOASTER IN YOUR FACE!!!!
Ahem. Basically, you pick up a wide variety of objects in this game that can be used as a one-time weapon. Stuffs like Toaster, Portable TV, Typewriter, and even a Filing Cabinet can be thrown at enemies or smashed right into their faces. These babies do incredible damage, and most of the time, they instantly down an enemy. I suggest using these to quickly take out groups of weak enemies. Why? Because in numbers, they can easily overwhelmed you. And Shotgun ammos are best saved for enemies like Carrions and bosses. Besides, what’s better than yelling “PORTABLE TV IN YOUR FACE!!!!” as you pwn an abomination?
Now you might be wondering what would happen if ALL of your weapons break AND you have no more bullets. Well, first of all, the game almost makes sure you are never without a weapon. Melee weapons are scattered about the whole game and can be pick up almost at any time. You have to be really careless to actually run out of arsenal. So does bullets, but like I said, they are best saved for using against bosses. Finally, if for whatever reason you really do run out of toys to play, Travis can always go Man-O-Mano against these abominations with his fists.
Finally, Silent Hill Origins introduced the ‘Grappling System’, IMO, similar to Kingdom Hearts’s Reaction Command System, but less spectacular. When some monsters grabbed onto Travis, it is your job to press the corresponding button or to mash the button and free Travis from it. It sounds nice at first, but later on it gives more feeling of ‘Press X to not die’ and becomes really bland. Could have been better.
The game isn’t really all that hard. Bosses are easy if you’ve been saving those precious bullets for them. In fact, surviving on the streets of Silent Hill is heck a lot harder than the final boss itself. Some enemies are just better if you run away from them. These include Big Carrions (because the normal ones are not enough) and Calibans (big messed up lump of meat with its legs dangling above its head).
Seriously, I’ve tried to take out the Big Carrions, but after 4 shots of Shotgun on a non-boss enemy, I know right away these aren’t things you’d want to mess with. The scariest part is THEY ARE STILL STANDING AFTER THOSE 4 SHOTS!
I’d say the difficulty for the game is just fine. It provides the right amount of thrills to the game without making the game too pathetically easy.
This game is fun, really. If you don’t mind playing horror, do give this game a try. Definitely one of the better games on PSP. The biggest gripe I had about this game is probably the fact that it’s so short. When I checked the walkthrough to see where I am, I was already right before the last two areas of the game. A speed runner should be able to clear the game less than 2 hours (in fact, there’s a reward for doing so).
The graphic is nice.
The battles are thrilling.
And the exploration is fun.
Overall, 8/10 from me. This is definitely a game I would be replaying in the future for other endings as well as for the thrills.
Thank you everyone for reading this random personal review and I hope you had fun reading this xD