Wednesday, March 24, 2010

EXP Podcast #70: Silent Hill Sound Off!

It's easy for games to get lost in the crowded winter season, when huge games like Mass Effect and Call of Duty dominate dominate both sales charts and critical conversation. This week, we have an in-depth discussion about a game that has been quietly lurking in the shadows: Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. The most title recent in a long-running series, Shattered Memories re-imagines the first Silent Hill to provide both a unique gameplay and storytelling experience. In addition to upholding the sense of dread and horror from the previous games (seriously, try playing this with the lights off!), Shattered Memories has some narrative twists that set it apart from most other games.

Jorge and I made sure to keep the first half of our talk spoiler-free before getting down to specific plot points. Despite (or perhaps because of) its rough edges, we both highly recommend the game. Just don't blame us when you're huddled beneath the covers at night, afraid to turn the lights off. Finally, the in-game psychologist told us its healthy to share your feelings with others, so feel free to jump in with your comments.

Some discussion starters:

- For those of you who played the game, what did you think? Had you played other Silent Hill games before? How did your puzzles and stories differ from ours?

- The game claims "to play you" just as much as you play it. For those of you who played it, was this accurate? What other games "play" their players, and how do they do so?

- Is there room on the market for "double-A" games like Shattered Memories? Is this a meaningful distinction? How should we evaluate games with experimental concepts but less polish than blockbuster titles?

To listen to the podcast:

- Subscribe to the EXP Podcast via iTunes here. Additionally, here is the stand-alone feed.
- Listen to the podcast in your browser by left-clicking the title. Or, right-click and select "save as link" to download the show in MP3 format.
- Subscribe to this podcast and EXP's written content with the RSS link on the right.

Show notes:

- Run time: 44 min 23 sec
- Music provided by Brad Sucks


  1. Oh man, now I need to play that game. It's YOUR fault that my Backlog gets so long. But looking at my very own game, it seems like this is something right up my alley.

    Many reviewers seem to have criticized the lack of combat elements in the game. What do you think?

  2. Ah, the never ending fight against the backlog. :-)

    I definitely understand the criticism regarding the combat: the enemies are faster than you, so if you're in a big open area it's a question of when, not if, you'll have a confrontation. It is annoying that there are no offensive maneuvers at all, as it would have been nice to at least have a lousy punch or a tackle...

    Then again, after finishing the game, the narrative helps justify the frustrating dynamics...such a rare feeling!

  3. Nice podcast and enthusiasm... After watching the GT review, however, I completely lost the interest, simply because the characters look so much worse than in Silent Hill 3 (the only SH I played, which I enjoyed a lot though).

    Come to think of it, I even find the cast of SH3 more convincing than what I've seen so far in Heavy Rain (only up until the Jason episode).

    FWIW, the lack of combat is something I'd really appreciate.

  4. Hi Yu-Chung,

    Thanks for stopping by!

    The poor's doing its best!

    While the graphics might not compare well with other platforms, they are still quite effective in the context of the game. After a while, you get used to it.

    Or, you can just pretend the muddy textures are just part of the nightmare! :-)