If you are here reading this review it means you are contemplating buying the Silent Hill HD Collection, it also means that you have a fair idea of what to expect from the stories of these two dark and twisted horror titles. This review is about the differences that have been made to these classic games in the new collection.
I suppose the best place to start is with Silent Hill 2, a firm fan favorite and my own personal favorite. The biggest change is of course the graphics: Things look far shinier and are more detailed, as you would expect from a HD version. Silent Hill 2 never looked bad to begin with, it was probably one of the nicest looking games I owned back on the PS2, but there is a notable difference in quality.
Partly responsible for this is the fog in my opinion, no longer does it really surround the main character James but becomes more of a wall that you push along as you go. Any fog surrounding James isn't as dense as it once was allowing you to see more around you at better detail.
Besides the graphics, the most important change in the game is the new vocal cast. Replacing Guy Cihi and co. are a new group of voice actors taking on the daunting task of giving new voices to characters that are already well established and loved by fans.
The good news is that Troy Baker does a really good job of giving James Sunderland a decent voice, it's both believable and genuine. It takes a while to get used to if you played the original Silent Hill 2 to death like so many of us, but after a while he just sounds right. The sultry and manipulative Maria is voiced by a familiar person to the fans, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, and is done very well. The others characters are also voiced well but I won't go into them here for fear of maybe spoiling the story for those who haven't actually played it.
For those who just cannot get used to the new vocal acting there is the option there to revert back to the original, but I think its worth at least one playthrough to hear the work put into the voices.
One thing I am sad to see here though is the needless censoring of possible one of the most well known scenes in the game. The infamous ‘Pyramid Head rape scene’ has been awkwardly cut from the game, with no official word as to why. As a fan of the game, it made my heart sink to see that scene taken out, as it is an important one to the story not to mention completely iconic. A real shame that the game that didn't hold back with its adult themes has been neutered somewhat.
Whilst we're on the subject of bad things, there is bit of lag and a few framerate issues in places and whilst it can be a pain, it isn't game breaking really. There are also a few audio sync issues in a couple of the cut scenes, something that is rumoured to be fixed in a patch released from Konami.
So onto the second offering in this ‘collection’, Silent Hill 3. Another massively popular entry into the series and my second favorite Silent Hill.
As with SH2, the graphics in Silent Hill 3 look great and you can really see the difference between the two versions, which is impressive as Silent Hill 3 looked fantastic when it was released and the original version still holds its own now. Everything is in far finer detail which is great because Silent Hill 3 had plenty of little hidden tidbits for you to look out for throughout the game like posters, marks on walls and tv screens showing a familiar little girl from the first game....all of these are much easier to spot now and the detail really improves the creepy atmosphere of the game.
Silent Hill 3 has also been given a vocal makeover and features a whole new cast playing all of the characters. They take some getting used too as Heather, the main character is especially different when compared to her original voice. There have also been changes in the general audio of the game. All the music has been reworked: For example, when you are running around in the otherworld mall you get a punk rock sounding background music instead of the traditional more ambient music.
Unfortunately, unlike Silent Hill 2, there is no option to swap back to the original voices which is really disappointing as whilst the new voices are good, its nice to have the option of playing the game through as it was originally.
The same lag issues also affect this title, but a little more severe in places than Silent Hill 2. Again, it is rumoured that there will be a patch to try and alleviate some of these issues.
As a whole, the collection is a good one. The graphics for both games have been done brilliantly, they look a lot cleaner and smoother than the original copies. The voice acting for each game is a nice change also, although the lack of option to revert back to the original Silent Hill 3 cast is disappointing.
Also disappointing is the lag and vocal syncing issues plaguing the PS3 version currently and the lack of new collectables and content for fans of the series to find and compile. And would it really have killed Konami to put Silent Hill 4 into this collection also? I can't see why it was left out to begin with but it is a shame. Is a Silent Hill HD Collection: No 2 on the cards?
In conclusion, if you have never played the games before and don't have access to a PS2 you should absolutely pick up this collection. Even with the issues, the games themselves are solid. However, fans of the series may be left frustrated with the changes and censorship in places as no matter how subtle they are they are still noticeable. For the true Silent Hill experience stick to the PS2 copies but if that's not possible then Silent Hill HD Collection is an alternative.
- Graphical updates looks great
- The 2 best games of the series on 1 disk
- Comes with the Silent Hill 2 add on sceanario "Born From A Wish"
- Lag and framerate issues
- Nessless censoring
- Inability to chnage Silent Hill 3s vocals back to the original cast