Beyond Co-Op Reviews - February 2010 - Page 2

Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
MSRP: $29.99 to $49.99

by: Katrina Pawlowski

Imagine for a moment you're in a situation and you're not sure exactly how you ended up there. The first thing you do is hire a shrink who guides you through your memories to piece them back together. Next, you relive important moments to try to make sense of things. Only when you're dealing with Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, you're not simply forgetful. You're frightened, panicked, and covered in ice during key moments of the unfolding story. The memories have literally shattered in ice.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is called a "remake" of the original Silent Hill. I'm going to go ahead and dispute that, and recommend you visit Shattered Memories with the mindset that it is a complete re-envisioning of the original game. This Silent Hill is suffering from a massive blizzard that has closed down the majority of the small town, hindering Harry's search for his lost daughter Cheryl. You will see people occasionally - most have familiar names like Cybil Bennett, and Lisa Garland. These people have similar roles to the original game (Cybil is a police officer, Lisa is a nurse in red,) but the story is much more tangled and involved.

Between each event in Silent Hill which generally follow the sequence: Investigate, discover something important, ice world nightmare, you will find yourself back in the psychiatrists office answering questions. All of these questions change the sequence of events in your memory based on how you respond. Even coloring a picture of what you perceive to be your home affects the way the house looks in Silent Hill. With Shattered Memories, the game incorporates the Wii's controls and options very well.

The biggest change for the Silent Hill series with this game is not only the ice, but the fact that your main character will not have a weapon during the dangerous moments in the terrifying world. Instead, you will be forced to desperately run through doors, over and under obstacles until you discover a new memory which leads back to the shrinks office. These chase sequences through the world of ice were generally quite terrifying while being unable to defend yourself, while getting lost in a panicked run. You will also be overrun by goons as part of the story, and simply have to stop fighting to continue - leaving you with a sense of being completely out of control. The danger situations come a few different ways; sudden noises, creepy phone calls, the ice chases, and even simulated drowning from inside a vehicle.

The one complaint I have with this game is with the Wii's sketchy sensitivity with the chase sequences. Since Harry never picks up a weapon, you're sole savior in the game is his ability to throw off his attackers by jerking the Wii remote and nunchuck in the direction the enemy has a grip on Harry. If grabbed from the front you'll simulate shoving to push the assailant off of Harry, etc. In theory this is brilliant - until the wii-remote doesn't respond to your movements properly. I've discovered the best way to combat the non-responsiveness is to move the remotes slower and more deliberate than you would if you were actually grabbed by a team of heinous Silent Hill creatures, but it was still very frustrating.

Shattered Memories holds true to the Silent Hill series with their puzzles and tangled storyline. Being on the Wii, Shattered Memories incorporated a lot of interaction between player and game. This creates a very integrated experience that kept me shivering for hours.

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