Review

Review

Game Review: 'Silent Hill HD Collection'

With the proliferation of HDTVs, there has been a rush to deliver content to accommodate the increased resolutions of these sets.  While virtually all new content, both movies and games, take full advantage of HD sets, there has been an additional demand for remastering older content to the 1080P spec.  Classic movies have been given a digital scrubbing to be released as Blu Rays, and older games have been put through the same process in order to shine on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.

Konami has put its classic Silent Hill series through the HD paces, remastering Silent Hill 2 and 3 to full HD glory, introducing the latest console generation (and, in the case of Silent Hill 3, the Xbox itself) to the franchise's two highest points.

There's really not much to say about the games themselves that hasn't been said before.  Silent Hill 2 is still the capstone of the series, full of the sort of dark pathos and psychological demons that have formed the iconography for every game that has followed.  The story of James Sunderland is tragic and terrible, both in the losses that he has experienced and the horrible acts that he has committed.  Silent Hill 3 is unique in being the only game in the series to feature a female protagonist, as well as adding an exceptional layer of depth to the town's history and mythology, tying it back to the original in a way that's both novel and striking.  These are the best games that Silent Hill has to offer by far, and having access to them on modern consoles is a boon, especially for Xbox 360 owners, for which Silent Hill 3 has never been an option.

The upping of the resolution has both helped and harmed the two games, however.  While the crisper resolution allows for far greater clarity in the games, there's a certain level of grittiness that is lost.  It's almost like watching a cleaned up Blu Ray release of a 16mm exploitation film: there's a certain sterility to the enhancement that makes the games look almost too clean, and makes them lose a bit of their original atmosphere.  However, Silent Hill 2 makes up for some of this by offering up an alternate audio track to replace the original title's…questionable voice acting.  It makes an already phenomenal game even more brilliant than it was in the first place, and the addition of the Xbox-exclusive "Restless Dreams" content is a necessity for series completists.

While the lack of the original Silent Hill may make the collection incomplete (although the prospect of a PS1 game in HD is just as hair-raising as an encounter with Pyramid Head), and there was also the inexplicable exclusion of Silent Hill 4: The Room, the Silent Hill HD Collection is a fantastic trip down memory lane that is worth the investment for fans of the series both old and new.

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