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Silent Hill 3 PlayStation 2

Published by Konami
Developed by Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
Released - Out Now
Price : £39.99

Without a doubt the scariest series on the PlayStation is Silent Hill. Both the original game on the PSone and the sequel on the PlayStation 2 are two of the most blood chilling games you could ever wish to experience. Instead of being a full on gore show, Silent Hill is full of psychological terrors that will have the hairs standing up on the back of your neck for virtually the whole game. After our time with the game we can safely say that Silent Hill 3 is even more blood chilling than the first two games. Be afraid; be very afraid.

In Silent Hill 3 you play as Heather, a young woman, who suddenly becomes trapped in what can only be described as a twisted nightmare. Right from the very beginning the atmosphere is tense. Heather begins the game in what appears to be a kind of amusement park. Even in the amusement park the game has a kind of psychological terror about it that is just too difficult to put into words. Silent Hill 2 took time to warm up but this time, it feels like you're in the thick of it from the word go. There are far more situations where you'll want to jump out of your chair and the monsters look more evil than ever.

On starting a new game you get the opportunity to alter the difficulty levels for the action (combat) and puzzles. There are three difficulty levels for both the action and puzzles. On the easiest settings the combat is fairly easy and Heather takes minimal damage and is not able to fall from any dangerous edges. The puzzles are virtually non-existent, because they are that easy, in fact some of the difficult puzzles aren't even there. On the most challenging settings though Heather will have a really difficult time of it as the enemies are very strong, she is not so accurate with the weapons and the puzzles will have you scratching your head more often than not. These game variations are great for those who like to play through more than once.

Just as in Silent Hill 2, you have a choice of two control systems. The default 3D control system feels awkward (it's similar to the one employed in the Resident Evil games) at first. However, if you switch to the 2D control scheme it suddenly feels much more natural. Silent Hill 3 includes a search view. When you hold down the L2 button you can move the camera to where you want to. If you hold down the L2 button for a short while it will put the camera right behind Heather and therefore also acts a method of controlling the camera. The only snag is that you can't use the search button feature in some locations, as these must be viewed from a fixed angle.

Graphically the game seems much better than Silent Hill 2. The quality of the textures and lighting effects are very impressive and is easily as good as anything else that has appeared on the PlayStation 2 to date. The monsters have always had a terrifying, description defying, look about them in the Silent Hill series and this third game in the series is no exception. Even the hound (or monster that looks like a hound) that you see at the beginning of the game is pure evil. The quality of the cutscenes is also very impressive and blends seamlessly into the gameplay. You may be pleased to know that there is a 60Hz option available for those with televisions that support it. The load times aren't too bad at all either, which is particularly impressive given the quality of the graphics.

After the disappointment of the Resident Evil games not being subtitled it was great to see that subtitles can be fully enabled in Silent Hill 3. The quality of the text is superb and is easily readable, even on the fairly small television that I reviewed the game on. In fact overall Silent Hill 3 is fine for deaf gamers. A disadvantage for deaf gamers though is the fact the game uses the same static noise (which the radio gives off) whenever you are near to the monsters or indeed you can hear the noises from the monsters themselves. This is only a small disadvantage though as you usually have to visually encounter the monsters before they will attack you.

Without a doubt this is the best game in the Silent Hill series. The quality of the plot is very impressive and a cut above what is usually encountered in games these days. If you're a longstanding fan of the series you'll be well pleased with Silent Hill 3. If you're new to the series then prepare for one of the most frightening, action adventure gaming experiences ever.

Overall Game Rating: 9.2/10
A fantastic sequel in every respect. Silent Hill 3 is sure to be one of the games of the year.

Deaf Gamers comment:
You might not get the monster warnings from the radio but the subtitles enable deaf gamers to enjoy the psychologically thrilling story line.