Tara Voelker's thoughts. A lot about video games, a little about life
Silent Hill: Origins for PS2- First Impressions
First impressions from Tara
I haven’t finished Silent Hill: Origins, and as a matter of fact, I’m not even half way through it. But as I have been playing it I have started having a lot of thoughts piling up in my head and I felt like I needed to get them all off of my chest. None of them have been necessarily bad things, but things that have made me feel uncomfortable. So here we go, here are my first impressions.
I would like to say first that I love Silent Hill and I take a lot of pride in being a fan. I am such a fan that the Zelda tattoo I have on my wrist was almost the save icon from Silent Hill instead. So with that in mind, I love hearing new and interesting things about the Silent Hill story line. But already, I am feeling like the story of Silent Hill: Origins isn’t adding anything new to the series. It’s pretty much things we already know, Alessa was in a fire, her mom is the cult leader, Dr. Kauffman keeps Alessa hidden and so on… it’s just now you see it in a little more detail through the eyes of Travis the trucker. Further more, there really isn’t a reason for Travis to be in Silent Hill in the first place. There isn’t a daughter or a wife or brother or anything. Maybe it will all feel more complete by the time I finish the game, but right now I feel like I already know what’s going on, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.
So, there is a new element to the fighting system… weapon degradation? Yeah… it’s there. I feel kind of odd about it… I feel like it may have originally been there to make the player conserve their weapons in the same way that someone may conserve bullets when they have a gun, but the fact that there are a million things that you can pick up sort of ruins it anyway. Why save when there is a new weapon every five steps? Instead of being a new element that puts more pressure on the player, it just becomes annoying. As soon as the weapon breaks you have go back to fighting with your fists and have to equip another weapon. The real question is why anyone would bother equipping anything when the punch Travis delivers is so strong that you can fight practically everything with it. I may be able to beat the entire game with little to no weapons, simply punching my way out of Silent Hill. I think the only thing that could salvage this for me is enemies needing the 12 portable TVs I’m carrying bashed on their head instead of punched, but we will have to wait and see.
Alright… the thing that has been bothering me the most is the fact the player can control when the player enters the dark Silent Hill. Travis will see mirrors, and in the mirrors reflection you see the alternate, evil Silent Hill. When Travis touches it, he switches sides. Further more, he can do so at will. I don’t like this, at all. I always felt that the fact that you didn’t know when it would change added both a feeling of tension and the helplessness for the player. Silent Hill was all about the main character feeling lost, and frightened… just a pawn in the world the was swallowing him. Now, the player has a sense of control in what should be a chaotic nightmare. Giving the player control takes away from the suppression that is dark Silent Hill.
Although I’m still not sure about how I feel about these things, I haven’t dismissed this as a bad game yet. I don’t feel like it’s going to be a great game either, but I really don’t feel like this game will be a bomb (even with weapon degradation). I predict it will be an average game, maybe a good game, but still not living up to the Silent Hill glory days. We’ll just have to wait and see.