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<  Game reviews  ~  Silent Hill 3 (gameplay observations) ***SPOILER ALERT***

Auriea
Posted: Mon Jun 02, 2003 11:29 pm Reply with quote
Site Administrator Joined: 07 Jun 2002 Posts: 454 Location: at your fingertips
Got it today.

I have been very excited to play this game. I've waited patiently for 2 years since Silent Hill 2. I must say that this kind of anticipation makes for a bit of an anticlimax once I finally get the game in the drive... and, as with the previous game, alot of the appreciation i have for the game is upon reflection after the fighting has been done and whatever supremely strange plot has been revealed.



So far I like the little changes they have made to the character motions. Heather feels far less wooden-doll like than James Sunderland. They've kept up the SH tradition of awkward facial animations. the textures are amazing even in motion.I really would like to know what resolution they texture their walls with. Many of the sound effects remain the same... sometimes this is not good, you see a glass door but the sound of it closing is a metal sound. her footsteps on wood sound the same as her footsteps on concrete etc.



The interface for using objects and choosing wepons is much the same but now there is an added category called 'Supplies' for helper items (beef jerky anyone?)



I have decided 2 things thus far however about game design in general and this game in specific. I do not like all the locked doors (we shall see if some of the doors in the mall open up later in the game) and I hate, absolutely detest, GAME OVER.


Last edited by Auriea on Thu Jun 05, 2003 4:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Auriea
Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2003 6:49 pm Reply with quote
Site Administrator Joined: 07 Jun 2002 Posts: 454 Location: at your fingertips
the subway level is wicked genius. a great idea to have the character play while travelling from one place to the next. i like the fat monsters too.



the creepiest part is that it all looks so much like the nyc subway.. if i was still living there i don't think i could play this game. being down there on nights alone i think i often fantasized about some of these things!



Twisted Evil



but yeah, the game is just so linear and i find that irritating in a way, i will withhold judegment a bit til we're done playing the full game.



thinking about game design, making a game, ruins playing them in some ways it seems.
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Michael
Posted: Wed Jun 04, 2003 10:36 am Reply with quote
Site Administrator Joined: 07 Jun 2002 Posts: 8065 Location: Gent, Belgium
As we realized last night in bed, the gameplay hasn't changed since Silent Hill 1. Not just the kind of game and the type of things it wants you to do, but also the way actions are performed: opeing doors, using a weapon, picking up items, walking,... The strange thing is that, while the graphic quality of the game has "improved", meaning more polygons, higher resolution textures, more photographically realistic, the quality of the gameplay has remained the same. In Silent Hill 1, the amount of Suspension of Disbelief that was required to believe in the reality of the world and the reality of the character's actions were about the same. Now, in Silent Hill 3, a lot less suspension is required to believe in the visual reality of the game. This leads to an inconsistency between the believability of the character and that of the world. As a result, the be+havior of the character appears stiff and the acting "stylized".

The Silent Hill designers, however, have always made a point of using bad motion capture acting to their advantage: the akward ways in which characters move, adds to the general feeling of unease that the player gets from the game. Which is perfect for the thriller that Silent Hill is.



I'm not so bothered by the linearity of the game. And I can stare on the skin texture on Heather's arm for hours. It looks so real-unreal... Once again the SH texture artists are putting on an amazing show.

And while it is still very difficult to fight the monsters with this character, it appears that they are easier to beat and to avoid (re the SH motto: "Run away! Run away!"). Sometimes you can walk through the game for quite a while without meeting monsters. Which adds to the surprise when you meet some and therefore heightens the scare factor.

They messed up with the radio, though. In SH1, the radio started buzzing static when a monster was near. Now this is accompanied by all sorts of experimental music and grunting. It's a lot less creepy. But there are still moments of silence ("Silence is also a sound", Akira Yamaoka). Moments in which her akward repetitive footsteps freak me out.

Another thing that bothers me is that Heather does not have a reason to roam around in the Silent Hill universe, as opposed to Harry Mason and James Sunderland in the previous games. True enough, the reasons of those two were shallow but at least it made you feel less silly trying to open each and every door.



Don't get me wrong: I love this game. It's still one of the best games out there.
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Auriea
Posted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 4:45 pm Reply with quote
Site Administrator Joined: 07 Jun 2002 Posts: 454 Location: at your fingertips
Ah something one does not normally get in a game... actual... suspense... actual... anticipation! The notes and dolls left by Stanley really bring me into the story much better.

He's a creepy stalker, but.. I can't wait to meet him. Twisted Evil



Being in the same Silent Hill as the previous two games is alot of fun. Going back to the old haunts. Running down the same streets as her father and James Sunderland did.



I still do not like the "look at important items/doors" system they have going. Its like pointing and clicking with her head, a more elaborate "find the hotspot" navigation method.



Also, ever stop to think about how she never really checks a door only occasionally bends down to look at something. Half of the charater actions (meaning everything ecept fighting and cut scenes) are just described to you as text. It is a bit like reading a book a bit like watching a movie, without the simple satisfaction of doing either one. Of course there are other things which make up for this. It is, afterall, neither book nor movie but GAME.



I would like for there to be a greater range of possible actions with her... i wish for her to do something unexpected.



There are borderline Art moments: the spinning of the wheelchair wheel and the sound it makes when you come across it... but then, i cease my observance of this sublime moment with the thought *must find more submachinegun bullets.*
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Auriea
Posted: Thu Jun 05, 2003 11:18 pm Reply with quote
Site Administrator Joined: 07 Jun 2002 Posts: 454 Location: at your fingertips
!!!!eeeeuuuuuuggggghhhhhhh+++

that room with the sink.... and the, and the, the, MiRrOr....

it was just the single creepiest in game experience i've _ever_ had



reminds me of when Laura meets her meat puppet doppelganger in Tomb Raider 1 a bit (one of my fondest game memories)

but this is 100000000 times more intense.



another one of those moments in the Silent Hill universe

where you can see the artistry of it. timing, leading you in suspense, and then making Heather die a gruesome death.

Why Death?

and how the hell do they get the textures to blend and blur like that?
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Michael
Posted: Sun Jun 08, 2003 10:56 pm Reply with quote
Site Administrator Joined: 07 Jun 2002 Posts: 8065 Location: Gent, Belgium
or at least let us skip it!...

They just had to do it... throw in the gratuitous buttonmashing boss round!... Having to kill the same monster four times! It's almost like they knew it was a stupid idea.

Nothing can break my immersion in a game as much as a boss round. It's a horrible tradition. Just give me the source cde already and let me type in the numbers you want. I really can't see any point in boss rounds in games as sophisticated otherwise as Silent Hill. It's retarded and I really don't understand. I feel cheated and abused. And my respect for the designers of this game seriously dropped. 30 Years of video game evolution and all you can come up with is Pong!?
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Auriea
Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 1:40 am Reply with quote
Site Administrator Joined: 07 Jun 2002 Posts: 454 Location: at your fingertips
i think my main problem with the boss round, not only of this game but of any game, is that the boss does not play to win.... the boss never really tries to beat you. Boss rounds are always constructed in such a way that there is a pronounced weakness that you as a gamer can find and exploit. This does not work the other way around however, and thats the flaw... I learn from my mistakes, the boss does not. Most bosses could easily stamp out the character you are playing, and yet they don't. It is all based on robotic behaviour because if the designers didn't there would be no way for a player to finish the game.



In my opinion this makes the entire excercise seem sort of pointless. The big boss at the end of this game doesn't scare me for this reason as well...

The dogs with 3 heads scare me...

the tall blanket men and big fat guys (which can be killed easily with the stun gun, i might asdd) scare me...

the guy crawling around inside the wall scares me...

hell, even the woman in the confessional asking Heathers forgiveness scares me...

but not the Boss. because i know it has no brain... the rest of them, sometimes, can fool me.
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Auriea
Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2003 8:16 pm Reply with quote
Site Administrator Joined: 07 Jun 2002 Posts: 454 Location: at your fingertips
after being sorely let down by the noring boss round at the end i guess i just let this thread die. SH3 is an otherwise fabulous game. Anyway, I found this article about SH3 and game enduced fear on Game Girl Advance and thought it would be good to add here.

http://www.gamegirladvance.com/archives/2003/08/11/silent_hill_3.html
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Auriea
Posted: Tue Sep 02, 2003 11:20 pm Reply with quote
Site Administrator Joined: 07 Jun 2002 Posts: 454 Location: at your fingertips
came across this review of the game while surfing around.
the reviewer seems to take issue with every "feature" that most players of SH hold sacred. the flashlight illuminating just parts of the room for example. its a funny review but some valid points are made.
http://www.justadventure.com/reviews/Silent_HIll_3/SilentHill3.shtm
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