Game: "Silent Hill 4"
System: PC
Genre: Adventure
Published by: Konami

Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Posted: 9/7/2008

Review: Konami's fourth excursion into the twisted world of Silent Hill tries a different angle to scare you. To begin with, the thick, permeating darkness from the previous games in the series is gone. Despite that, the game remains true to the old look, loaded with the same frightening atmosphere and grotesque imagery that truly define the series. Even the storyline, despite centering on a man stuck in his own apartment, is concurrent with what fans of the series expect to see. Without divulging too much, the game begins with you on the fifth day of being stuck in your apartment, and all of a sudden, a large hole appears in your bathroom wall. You crawl through it, and then you soon find yourself in the thick of things, fighting off strange creatures and trying to sort out the mysterious world you find yourself in.

The combat system has been totally revamped. The basic idea of locking onto your enemies remains, but now you can dodge a couple steps back or to the side to avoid monster attacks. A very handy edition, considering the kind of damage that some of the new monsters can dish out. Not only that, but there's a ton of different weapons, ranging from a lead pipe to a box cutter. You also have the addition of a meter to measure the strength of your swing with melee weapons. Charge up the meter, and you make a huge swing that will kill most monsters in one or two hits. Well, maybe not with the box cutter, but you get the idea.

Putting aside the new combat system, the beginning of the game is actually pretty slow. The casual gamer may be put off by the fact that the game's better scares don't come until much later, when the plot starts to develop. Of course, that brings me to my next point and the next strike against SH4: it isn't really that scary. I mentioned earlier that the game is much brighter than previous installments, which means no more waving your flashlight around to see if there are any unspeakable horrors waiting in a dark corner of a room. Unfortunately, the obscured vision concept was a tremendous help with past scares, accompanying strange noises to make you fear what you can't see.

Another thing that really hurts the scare factor is the game's difficulty. While exploring the strange worlds on the other side of the portal in your apartment, you can use other portals to return to your apartment and completely heal yourself as often as you like. Sure, it's very handy, and yes, I took advantage of those portals (and there are a ton of them), but without that sense of imminent danger, the game just isn't quite as scary.

Konami tried to put a different spin on Silent Hill, and for that, I respect them. Unfortunately, the game comes across as more creepy than genuinely scary. Still, I enjoyed the game. Your apartment (seen in the first-person view, as opposed to the rest of the game's third-person view) provides some classic moments of dread, and SH4 introduces something completely unheard of in the survival horror genre: a lifebar. No more guessing how hurt you are by looking at a vague color-coded meter, or watching your character for a noticeable limp. In short, give the game a look if you're in the mood for something different.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeHalf
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

40 pound box of rape?
Sep 8th, 2008, 05:35 AM
Originally, Silent Hill 4 wasn't even going to be a "Silent Hill" game. It was much later in development that it was given the whole Silent Hill twist with the name stuck on it
That damn kid
Sep 8th, 2008, 06:27 AM
I think this is one of the few "scary games" I've played. I liked it ALOT BETTER then the other few. Maybe I'm just wimpy.
Sep 8th, 2008, 10:07 AM
Not a bad game but I hated that the levels repeat and that about half way through the game, the plot runs out of steam. I did like the dynamic inventory access, as having to sort through menus to use an items ruins the flow of a game like this. BTW, Dr. Boogie, the apartment no longer heals you after the hospital level is passed.
taco loving zombie
Sep 8th, 2008, 04:25 PM
i love the song in the scenes where maria dies
Sep 8th, 2008, 11:30 PM
Silent Hill 1 > Silent Hill 3 > Silent Hill: Origins > Silent Hill 2 > Silent Hill: The Room
Virgin Forum
Sep 9th, 2008, 02:30 AM
I actually count this game as one of my favorite books, if only for it being so good at immersion, but for a lot of reasons really.
Sep 9th, 2008, 02:43 AM
Heh, I'm such a wuss. I had a *demo* of this, thought "I can do this! I know what's coming!" (I read walkthrus of games I don't think I'll ever play...) Popped it in the PS2, took three steps in my apartment, heard a scream, and immediately shut off the game.

Survival horror ain't my bag *laughs*
Sep 9th, 2008, 06:07 AM
I loved Silent Hill 1. Played SH2 but didn't get past the maze under the lake - got sick of it...started SH4 but interest petered out again very quickly. Loved the dark and the mist in the first one...you're spot on about it hurting the game in the 4th. I'll get back on it one day I suppose...
Serial Loiterer
Sep 9th, 2008, 11:32 AM
This one wasn't that bad, but SH1 is still the scariest game of all time and a great story to boot.
Sep 9th, 2008, 06:11 PM

Silent Hill 1 > Silent Hill 3 > Silent Hill 2 > Silent Hill: The Room > Silent Hill: Origins
1.21 Gigawatts!!!
Sep 10th, 2008, 09:06 AM
I have played and beat all of the Silent Hills (outside of Origins), but never really got into this one. It was not as interesting as the other ones and kind of moved at a snail pace. Instead of being spooky and eerie like the rest of them, this one seemed to fall a little short.
Movie Enthusiast
Sep 10th, 2008, 02:03 PM
I am so utterly, utterly looking forward to the new Silent Hill game (Homecoming) on September 30th. I tremble with anticipation.

I enjoyed Silent Hill 4. The twist on the characters (trying to stop them from dying) was neat, and the plot weaved threads from the previous games together nicely. To me, that's the most important thing, followed by how scary it is. With Resident Evil it's less of an issue, but a Silent Hill game really has to add to the mythos of the 'verse. I do remember being frustrated as hell by the unkillable ghosts. And don't forget that as far as difficulty goes, the healing qualities of the apartment turn on you in the second half of the game.
Sep 10th, 2008, 06:30 PM
wheretf is gw
Official forum judge
Sep 11th, 2008, 05:27 PM
drifting in the void
Sep 12th, 2008, 04:37 AM
I really liked The Room. The whole idea was brilliant and well executed AND it is up till today the only part of the series that I ever finished. All other Silent Hills got broing after a while, itīs a shame, I know. Just a few months ago, I tried to play through SH2 and once I got to the appartment blocks I got extremely bored with the running around searching for...whatever I was searching, donīt know why.
Sep 12th, 2010, 02:22 PM
I despised this game. I got to the part where you went through everything the second time and you're being chased by unkillable guy and just said "Eff this." I also hated the room sequences.