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Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is based on the concept of the original Silent Hill which was released for Playstation 1. The new Silent Hill, due to be released sometime in Autumn of 2009, is designed for the Wii console. It will be released for the Playstation 2 and the PSP as well, but the Wii is the recommended console to get for playing Shattered Memories. The concept was designed around the Wii remote, and promises to bring new concepts and ideas to the series.
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The storyline for Silent Hill: Shattered Memories allows you to play the same main character from the first, Harry Mason, searching for his daughter Cheryl when she disappears after a car crash. However, fans have been promised that this game is not a remake of the original Silent Hill, but merely uses some of the same concepts. Those who have played the original will get twice as much out of the storyline of Shattered Memories. Another major difference from the original is the new Silent Hill world. Instead of the traditional settings players may be used to by now, this game has a twist to it: the world is set in snow and ice. Monsters appear behind blocks of ice, desparately searching for a way around to find you. You can try to run, but they are smart and can hop the fence after you, or simply pull you back down. Also, the thick snow can be disorienting, causing you to become lost and run straight back into a swarming throng of enemies. The change in story and setting is definitely a welcome breath of fresh air for the Silent Hill series.
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What sets this apart from the rest of the horror games out there is its use of the Wii to create an environment in which the player is fully immersed in the action. The Wii remote serves as your flashlight and controls for the game. The flashlight is supposed to be the best its ever been in any Silent Hill game. The trademark static noise will now emit from the Wii remote's speaker to alert you when monsters or important objects are near by and is sure to startle players at least a few times. The set-up itself aims to overcome the flaws of traditional horror games. There are no loading screens or pause menus. As you go through the game, you can access all the areas. They are already loaded, and you do not have to follow a certain path. The storyline changes based on your decisions. You use a cell phone as your guide and to receive incoming messages and texts. The zoom function allows you to read text in the game without pausing the action, and when you're using your phone the action continues to happen around you. There is a big different in the fighting style of this game, however. You don't fight. Instead, the entire point is to evade the monsters and run away. This could go either way. It might be fun if done well, and will certainly please players who have trouble fighting off monsters, but it could lose some of the fans who enjoy the games for their battles with the creepy monsters lurking around every corner.
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Sound and Graphics
The graphics for Shattered Memories are reported to be impressive and ground breaking for the Wii. The flashlight has been commented on as realistic and fun to use. The game itself is also full of little details that change the story as you go. Instead of Silent Hill changing based on the character's personality and fears, it changes based on your decisions and personality. It observes and watches everything you do. Based on the choices you make, objects you look at, and your reactions to the environment around you, the setting and even the enemies themselves change to provide the ultimate experience and fright. The text and clues hidden throughout the game are carefully designed so players can read them during gameplay, in keeping with the theme of not pausing. The idea is to interact with your environment, not have a random piece of paper suddenly thrown onto your screen in the middle of the game. Even the opening cut scene is interactive.
Finally, Akira Yamaoka, who composed the music for the rest of the Silent Hill series, is being brought back to remake the music for Shattered Memories. Fans will be happy to know that he will be working on this project, but will not be using the music from the first game. Instead, he will redo the music to give it the same Silent Hill quality while providing audiences with something new and exciting.
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Worth the Money?
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories sounds like an intriguing new addition to the series that will be worth the money to try it out. The idea of a game that tries to read your personality and interact with it, as well as a pre-loaded environment you're free to roam around in, makes the game sound more personal and a new break through for Wii games. The flashlight holds potential for making the experience realistic too. The only potential pitfall for Shattered Memories is the lack of fighting. It may prove to be an exciting feature, but may cause a lot of fans to skip the game all together for other fighting games. The Wii version is definitely worth checking out when it is released in Autumn, but the PSP and Playstation 2 versions of Shattered Memories are probably not worth the money.