Thursday, 17 June 2010

Konami announces Silent Hill 8 with a trailer at this weeks E3

Well, i wasn't expecting this. good week to get back into things huh?

So there's the trailer and i am not quite sure what to make of it. For one thing this is the, what?, fourth developer on a silent hill game? Honestly i'm not sure but it seems like a new survival horror franchise, just using the silent hill games as a basis.

From the trailer it looks like we are going to get the same sort of play as homecoming meets shattered memories (look for a review for that later this week) and i like that. There's a few things that i want to point out.

For one thing the moment where the new protagonist picks up the torch and waves it around with himself dead center in the screen seems a little suspect to me. At the same keynote konami revealed they already have games in the works for microsoft's unfortunately named Kinect and the playstation move. Is it possible we will see controls in 8 similar to shattered memories intuitive torch controls and puzzle solving elements? i for one would love to see that because i can say before any critical review that the controls were part of the reason i enjoyed shattered memories much more than homecoming. For now who knows, but i would bet some good money that this will see motion gaming integration. At least as a possible control method if not a fully implemented one.

Another thing was the, for lack of a less filmmaker based descriptive, was the mise'-en-scene. The 'whole of the scene'. This means the general ability to build a world using location, music, lighting, actors- or in this case character models.
Watching this trailer its mise'-en-scene didn't feel like silent hill. If anything it felt like the suffering crossed with fatal frame. Not that there is anything wrong with that. The prisoner with psychological problems isn't a new thing, it certainly wasn't by the time the suffering was released. It works though. You would be hard pressed to find someone in a worse psychological state without an escape in terms of game protagonists, and honestly its not an average joe looking for his missing loved one. Again. Which is a nice change of pace.
I got the fatal frame vibe from when the protagonist entered the apartment building. With the moving inanimate objects and the little girls it seemed to show something a little different this time. For all of its similarities to the live action movie and homecoming what we see here is a different kind of horror. Instead of what's come before in western attempts at silent hill -in your face scares that underwhelm and seem to scream "YO' DAWG, THIS SHIT IS CRAZY!" we have the scares for the audience and remains unseen for the in game character.
This seem's to suggest a different style of horror. By seeing the scares while the protagonist remains oblivious allows us to be further scared as we put ourselves in there shoes. In many ways its so much worse to have this thing literally breathing down your next without you knowing than a gibbering sack of skin twisting its head, jacob's ladder style, at you straight in your face.
Its highly reminiscent in tone to the openings of the fatal frame games which i have honestly found is the most consistently scary series in the entire survival horror genre.

Honestly we didn't see too much to read much more into it. It could be a cliche mess. It could be a new enthralling survival horror game with a silent hill flavour. Regardless i got a good impression from this, at least in terms of tone. from music to direction to construction this showed a very different take on silent hill, in a subtle but different way.
I'm holding off for gameplay video for a definitive judgement. However let's be honest. we will all buy it, and since when has gameplay and combat mechanics been the selling point of a silent hill game?

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