Saturday, 16 February 2008

The Pixel Diaries - Silent Hill 2 Edition



I’ve always tried to make room for old releases in my tight gaming schedule, a rule I often ignore. I’ve never known why it always was the way that the new always seemed far more worth my time than the old, and why it only seemed to apply to videogames. The thing is, when I sit down to play a game, I want it to be a good game that provides me with a memorable and satisfying experience, so why is it that I struggle so hard to shun ‘latest generic space-marine FPS ‘ to the side and pick up a classic that I missed first time round? Well, I want that to change, and Silent Hill 2 has always been a game I’ve read enough about to write a book on it, but never actually experienced it first hand. I picked up the limited edition (unfortunately not the ‘director’s cut’) for peanuts last weekend in the second hand section of the local game store, so now it’s time to start a trend of catching up with what I’ve missed. It’s also worth saying that this is my first Silent Hill, and one of my first survival horror experiences outside of Condemned and various demos.

Currently I’m only about two hours in, having just left the apartment block to enter…an apartment block. What’s grabbed me so far? The sound, both diegetic and non, is fantastic. BioShock may have somewhat surpassed it, but it’s still the main source of scaring me so far. That may be saying more if the enemies I’ve encountered as of present weren’t so…lazy. The mannequins are disturbing when they turn up through the darkness at the end of a corridor, but they hardly pose a threat. As for the gargling corpses that stagger towards you so hopelessly before diving to the floor and crawling away, well I just kinda feel sorry for them. But don’t get me wrong, I’m expecting this game to terrify the crap out of me before its closure, and whole point of these ‘diaries’ is to document by feelings at different stages of completion to see how my views evolve throughout the hours of play.

Other noticeable things include my first encounter with Pyramid Head. From what I understand, he’s apparently a very interesting character, and judging by how many party costumes I’ve seen based on him I can only assume I won’t forget him in a hurry. I’ve also grown fond of the strange static effect that is forever smothering the screen. It makes things just that little bit creepier, and also somewhat covers up the fact that it’s an old PS2 game and hence isn’t much of a looker compared to what I’m used to. Nonetheless I’m on the verge of becoming hooked. I’ve also grown fond of the idea of playing through a stack of classic horror games and comparing the lot for chills, but it’s a busy year already so I’ll have to see. More impressions in the coming days.

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