Liam’s Game Room #68 (Silent Hill 3, Playstation 2)

Introduction

Silent Hill 3 is a survival horror game developed by Team Silent and published by Konami for the Playstation 2 and PC in 2004. This is the 3rd game in the franchise and was the 2nd game to have a PC port with Silent Hill 2 being the first to be ported. The ports interestingly came out after the success of the games on the Playstation 2 even though there some things introduced to the PC version that weren’t present on the Playstation 2. The first thing was that the player could save anywhere with both a quick save feature and a pause save feature where the player could pause and save anywhere as well. However, the issue with these features is that it caused some glitches and the game to behave in some strange ways. I also will not be speaking about the story of Silent Hill 3 in this game because I do not want to spoil anything about the story as I feel that this is a game that should be experienced without any previous knowledge of the story of the game.

Gameplay

The first thing I must say about Silent Hill 3 is that the gameplay on the game is absolutely fantastic because in this game compared to Silent Hill 2, the 2D controls work an absolute treat. In Silent Hill 2 the 2D controls would make the camera behave in a weird way where the camera would not be able to track the character. In Silent Hill 3 this issue has been fixed and I prefer to use the 2D controls because the 3D tank controls feel somewhat outdated and awkward to use. The controls are really responsive and the controls utilise the entirety of the Playstation 2 controller very well because the player can choose to use the directional pad or the analog stick, although I prefer to use the analog stick as I find it to be more precise. The 3D tank controls I also found to be a little bit easier to use than Silent Hill 2 because it felt somewhat less stiff. This reduction in stiffness meant that when I had to do a quick turn and run in the other direction to avoid enemies, it was much easier and smoother to complete because there was less downtime between the quick turn and the movement afterwards. I think that the overall feeling of the controls just feels that little bit less clunky compared to Silent Hill 2, but this design decision is tied in with a few things that are different in Silent Hill 3.

The camera angles in Silent Hill 3 make so much more sense than Silent Hill 2 because the camera doesn’t shift as much, meaning that it is not as jarring and confusing. The confusion previously was simply because the camera positions would mean that it was quite easy for the player to sometimes lose where their character was going and for me especially this was one of the major gripes I had with Silent Hill 2. Then again, this was intentional to make the game feel more spooky, but sadly it didn’t age too well and it is the timelessness of the horror that made Silent Hill 2 a masterpiece.

Silent Hill 3 switches this up by making the character that the player controls to be more vulnerable, but also this means that a more natural, flowing camera much more suitable because of the larger locations. These larger sections and locations mean that the camera locations are much more spread out and also sometimes pan with the player, which the Silent Hill 2 simply didn’t do. If the same camera angle styles that were in Silent Hill 2 were implemented in Silent Hill 3, the game would not have as much fun to control because there would be a constant battle to wrestle the camera into the right place. This meant that I didn’t really need to change the camera angle at all because the camera was always in the perfect sweet spot that I wanted it to be in.

The game does an amazing job of creating a messed up world and emphasising the confusion that the main characters suffers and she goes between the real world and the Otherworld. The game really makes sure that there is nothing spoiled throughout the game and for players who are new to the game, this confusion about what is real and is not real is played out really well throughout the cutscenes. Also, speaking of cutscenes, I really like the voice acting in this game because it does not feel as wooden or as forced as Silent Hill 2 as I feel that Konami worked on getting some really good voice actors onboard for the game.

Finally, the graphics of the game are fantastic because they add even more to the already creepy world that the game depicts. The graphical detail is deliberately not the highest resolution because it would mean that in some situations the player would be able to decipher what the enemies were. The lower quality detailing means that it makes some of the enemies more grotesque in nature and makes them look even more disturbing. The amount of small details like the blood on specific walls or the detailing on the walls that most of the time get missed as the player is simply walking past these details, but I think that every small detail really adds that little bit more to the game. The mechanics and physics of the game also add another layer of fear because the sections with water really did terrify me the first time I played the game.

I must say though to avoid playing the HD remakes because there are quite a few issues with the game in terms of glitches, graphical problems and the fact that the new voice acting in Silent Hill 3 especially is unbearable. If the player wants to play the game in HD, then the PC version is the best choice because the game can be played in HD with mods and can also be pushed to 60 frames per second. The PC also has more options to increase the texture quality, but this increase does not make the game look too shiny and clean because of the way that the game was designed.

Music and Sound Design

The music and sound design in this game is legendary because the music first of all has such a huge array of different genres that compliment the feelings and expressions being depicted in the cutscenes. The intro is a rock inspired theme that I feel really expresses and comments on the age of the character the player is controlling because she is in her late teenage years. There is plenty of ambience and industrial sound design within the compositions really create a creepy and intimidating world that evokes the feelings that the character is feeling and also what the player would be feeling within that set of circumstances. The sound design really creates a world of fear and intimidation because sometimes there are times where there is no music and the composition centres entirely around sound design. I think that this ambience is simply masterful because it plays on the grittiness of the sound design rather than tuned orchestration or instrumentation.

Conclusion

Silent Hill 3 in my opinion is perhaps the perfect sequel because it built upon the fear and atmosphere that Silent Hill 2 but it fixed some of the smaller issues that I had with the game. I feel that Silent Hill 3 is as good as Silent Hill 2 but because even though the small issues were fixed, Silent Hill 2 had a unique feeling to it and the way that the game was designed was in such a way that these small issues added to the experience. I think that Silent Hill 3 is a masterpiece that should be experienced by anyone who loves horror games or is a fan of the psychological horror side of video games.

10/10

Copyright ©2017 Liam Piper. All Images Used Under Fair Use

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