Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Andrew does, as he presses X to Cheryl.
Yes, that’s right, we’re now publishing reader reviews here on Kotaku. This is your chance to deliver sensible game purchasing advice to the rest of the Kotaku community.
And thanks to the very kind chaps at Madman Entertainment, purveyor of all kinds of cool, indie and esoteric film, the best reader review we publish each month will win a prize pack containing ten of the latest Madman DVD releases.
This review was submitted by Andrew Marshall. If you’ve played Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, or just want to ask Andrew more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (Wii)
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is the latest installment in the venerable survival horror series from Konami. Billed as a ‘reimagining’ of the original Silent Hill, rather than a remake, the player once again fills the shoes of Harry Mason as he searches for his missing daughter Cheryl in the titular town.
Once Upon A Time: One of the series strengths has always been the quality of the story and writing. Shattered Memories is no exception, providing the Wii with one of its best story-driven, adult games.
Off The Beaten Track: Despite a fairly linear game world, exploration is an absolute delight. Using your Wiimote as a torch is a very satisfying mechanic, and the many mementos, photos and echoes of the past to be found are great incentives to examine every nook and cranny of Silent Hill.
Psychological Profiling: The game is frequently interrupted by flash-forwards to a series of therapy sessions your character attends. Your responses in these sessions directly affect the in-game world, and also the final outcome of your story. These sessions are short but sweet, and I smiled every time I noticed these environmental changes. My only complaint is there wasn’t further integration of your answers; overall it felt under-utilised.
Rat In A Maze: Much was made of the fact that you have no weaponry and are forced to flee the fleshy beasts that roam the frozen otherworld. It’s great to see developers trying new things, and Climax deserves recognition for creating that rarest of things: a violence-free action game. Unfortunately these escape segments are highly unsatisfying, with the player searching for a checkpoint in a maze whilst being pursued by hellish foes. With no on-screen indication of which way you need to go, these devolve into tedious trial-and-error exercises with no punishment for failure, save for forcing you to repeat the section again.
2+2=4: Puzzles have long been a staple of the Silent Hill series, but in Shattered Memories these have been dialed back and offer minimal challenge to most gamers. No puzzle had me stumped for longer than a period of seconds. Oh, for the adjustable puzzle difficulty in some past entries in the series!
Is that it? My first playthrough of the story took me a total of approximately six hours, which is short, even by the Wii’s standards. Whilst there is some replay value to be had from the four story endings, plus the bonus UFO ending, exploration of previously explored areas does not compelling gameplay make. A weekend rental would be sufficient to enjoy the meat of what Shattered Memories has to offer.
Ultimately it is difficult to fully recommend a game that is so slight in length, although as a whole the game is very enjoyable (escape sections notwithstanding). I wouldn’t pay RRP, but as a rental or a discounted purchase down the track, Shattered Memories is a wonderful return to the town of Silent Hill.
Reviewed by: Andrew Marshall
You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 500 words – yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.