If you were to ask any Silent Hill fan which installments were their favorites, many would say Silent Hill 2 and 3. When it comes to the survival horror genre, genre lovers name these two games as best in class. With a weighty statement like that, you’d think Konami would make sure their HD Collection was a reminder of why these titles are so well loved. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. In fact, there are so many things wrong with the Silent Hill HD Collection, it makes you wonder what they were thinking.
When I see “HD” on the video game box, I expect an upgrade in the visual department. Instead, Silent Hill 2 looks even worse than the original. Not only that, but the title also suffers from many other issues not present in the PS2 version. These HD Collections are primarily meant for their hardcore fan base, but that doesn’t mean newcomers to the series shouldn’t be able to pick them up and enjoy them as well.
With a genre such as survival horror, the fixed camera angles and clunky controls were a godsend back in the day. They felt natural and made the overall experience much more suspenseful. So with games like Silent Hill 2 and 3, these controls feel completed out dated and many newcomers will instantly be turned off. Thankfully, I grew up in this era, so after about an hour of playing I got back into the groove. While the core experience is still much enjoyable to an extent, it’s quickly destroyed thanks to many flaws.
After spending many hours with Silent Hill 2, I couldn’t help but feel bored with the title due to the technical shortcomings. Frequent looping and audio drops diminished any sense of fear. Additionally, jarring lip synching mismatched pulled me out of the experience. The CG cutscenes certainly didn’t help either. They were often blurry and ugly to look at, and when transitioning back into gameplay, it felt like I was watching a bad horror movie.
Silent Hill 2 does offer the option to play the game with either original voices overs or the new recordings, which is a plus, but they aren’t anything special. Silent Hill 3, however, does not. One of my main gripes within both titles is the inability to exit the game without returning to the Dashboard. Being able to return to the main menu is a basic feature that should be a given with multiple titles on the same disc.
Konami managed to take one of the best Silent Hill games, and destroy it with technical flaws. I’m not sure if they just don’t care, or they didn’t properly test the game like they should have. Either way, there is no excuse for this type of development when releasing an HD Collection. Die hard Silent Hill 2 fans will probably be get upset after playing the first 10 minutes and quickly noticing all the flaws. It might take new players a little bit longer, though.
Another small gripe I have between both titles is the lack of tutorial. This isn’t so much of a problem for me, but those who’ve never played a Silent Hill game will feel completely overwhelmed when thrown into the game without direction. As stated before, this complaint is mostly for newcomers. Long time fans of the series will appreciate that there aren’t multiple tutorial boxes popping up on their screen. It would have been nice if Konami had provided the option, though.
With Silent Hill 3 being a later entry, it’s a no brainer it’s going to be a better game from a technical perspective. Graphically, this re-release isn’t up to par with “HD” standards, but the annoying grain filter in Silent Hill 2 is, thankfully, absent. It’s much more pleasing to look at. I did notice that some textures seem to be heavily downgraded from the original, but most people wont notice. As mentioned before, Silent Hill 3 doesn’t offer the option of using old voice work, which is probably my greatest complaint. Heather sounds nothing at all like a teenager, and as you progress through the game it becomes more disturbing how jarring her voice really is.
Thankfully, Silent Hill 3 doesn’t suffer from as many technical flaws as the previous installment. The controls feel better—and they rightfully should—but there are a few audio synch issues that I mostly noticed during cutscenes. It isn’t a huge problem, but some of them are blatantly obvious. While I do, overall, prefer Silent Hill 2 over 3, my time with the latter was much more enjoyable. This is mostly due to the better looking visuals. Additionally, Silent Hill 3 escapes the horrendous number of technical flaws that pervade Silent Hill 2.
These games are engaging and immersive on the PS2. It’s a shame the same can’t be said about this HD Collection; it’s hard to recommend this collection to anyone. If you happen to be a hardcore fan, you’ll feel insulted by this inferior “HD” Collection and most likely won’t even bother finishing either title. If you’re a newcomer to the series, and can still enjoy games with controls like Resident Evil 3, you might find some enjoyment. Just be prepared for technical issues to yank you out of the experience and ruin any sense of fear.
Here’s the Rundown:
+ 2 games for less than the price of 1
+ Music is still top notch when it’s played correctly
- 2 games for triple the price of their superior PS2 versions
- Insane amount of technical flaws
- Audio and visuals are nearly never in synch
- No option to return to the main menu
- Heather’s new voice over is a bad teenage impersonator
- Silent Hill 2 has some of the ugliest cutscenes I’ve ever seen
5 and 5.5 are mediocre. These aren’t necessarily bad games, they just doesn’t do anything that is worth caring about and not worth the time of most people.
Silent Hill HD Collection was developed by Team Silent and published by Konami. The game was released on March 20th, 2012 at the price of $39.99. A copy was provided to RipTen by the publisher for the purposes of review.