• Silent Hill
  • -vs-
  • Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
  • Silent Hill is better than Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
    Overall Comparison
    Despite what many hardcore fans of the series may try to prove otherwise, Shattered Memories is best interpreted as a stand-alone spin-off game with no real connection the the canonical story/setting of the original games, other than some vaguely familiar characters and basic basic BASIC storyline.

    These games start out the same, more or less.  Harry and his daughter Cheryl or driving and get into a car crash.  Harry goes searching for his daughter.  The similarities stop there, pretty much.

    Shattered Memories makes great use of the Wii's capabilities (no, really!).  First of all, controlling the flashlight with the Wii's pointer is a treat and really helps immerse yourself into the game.  Creatures will pounce on you and latch on, and it requires you to actually shove the wiimote and nunchuk in the direction of the creatures, and it feels natural. 
    My personal favorite is the implementation of the Wiimote's speaker.  Instead of a radio, Harry has a phone.  All noises from the phone come through the wiimote speaker, including calls, static, message notifications, and ringtones.  You may actually find yourself holding the wiimote to your ear without even realizing how silly you look.

    The Silent Hill series always seemed to pride itself on being very psychological with it's horror (especially apparent in Silent Hill 2).  The team behind Shattered Memories know this, and they almost took the concept too literally.  Periodically through the game, you cut to therapy sessions with Dr. K, who will give you psych tests once in a while before moving on with the rest of the game.  These tests can change characters' behavior and outfit, and even change the appearance of the monsters and some graffiti and messages.

    In the original Silent Hill, creatures roamed the streets and buildings.  You would fight them off with guns and melee weapons, or possibly flee if you so chose.  Occasionally, Silent Hill would transform into the "Otherworld" form, with wire meshes and bleeding walls and rusty metal forming the structure of the town.
    In Shattered Memories, you encounter no enemies until you reach the Otherworld, which is actually called "Nightmares" in this game.  You do not fight.  At all.  Period.  Instead, you run and hide.  You charge through doors, topple objects to block your persuers, climb ledges, and hide under or inside of objects.  You can press down on the d-pad to look over your shoulder and see a small swarm of creatures persuing you, which really gets the adrenaline pumping.  Personally, I really really like the spirit behind this mechanic, but I do think it's very flawed.
    For starters, the fact that you only encounter creatures during the nightmare sections really keeps you from being scared during any other portion of the game.  Also, when you get taken down, there's no game over, no death.  You just restart at the beginning of the section.  Finally, when you're running through these sections, there's rarely a reason to stop or observe something.  You're just constantly running til you find the exit to end the sequence, which means there's little reason to "hide" from these things.

    Overall, I really enjoyed Shattered Memories, but it doesn't even begin to compare with the original.  I won't spoil the storyline, but there is a nice twist at the end of Shattered Memories worth playing for.  I really really like the spirit behind it, but the original had a much better atmosphere and much more to actually scare you with, plus it gives you more to think about than Shattered Memories does.
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