N Amer - 04/04/2006
Silent Hill Experience Review
A digital comic book, soundtrack compilation and trailer collection all in one
It's not everyday that the PSP gets an exclusive video release. UMD (Universal Media Disc -- the format that system uses) is akin to a smaller, plastic-protected DVD. The picture quality is potentially just as good and the sound quality is as good as any MP3 player (which is top-notch when hooked up to good headphones or a hefty sound system). All your favorite DVD functions are available for UMD manufacturers to implement: pause, fast forward, rewind, etc.
Simply put, the UMD format rocks. But I must ask, where are the exclusives?
Konami has an answer, and it's called The Silent Hill Experience. This interactive disc works like a fancy DVD with polygons. Instead of passing through pretty menus that stick and stutter, you get to navigate a seamless, three-dimensional environment that replicates one of the series' most prominent locations.
The Silent Hill Experience was created to merge a selection of the game's many offspring. Inside you'll find four sections: interviews, music, trailers, and comic books. I'm sure there's a bit of, "If only this were an actual game" floating around in the back of your head, but the PSP is only a year old. We can only assume that a "game" is on its way. Regardless of what you may have been waiting for, don't let anything – even preconceived notions about digital comic books – turn you away from this classic collection.
Digital Comic Book: 8
Visual Quality: 8
Clear pictures, great artwork (mostly), and a stellar soundtrack pumping through the speakers. The Silent Hill Experience comic books fade the images in and out quickly, keeping the story flowing at a steady pace. If it's going too fast you can rewind; if you need to take a break, you can pause it and hold that place. Just turn the system off. It'll take care of the rest for you.
Featuring Silent Hill: Dying Inside and an all-new story called The Hunger, The Silent Hill Experience is very intriguing. It expands on the base plot while re-examining things we already know.
I won't go into more detail than that to refrain from creating a spoiler. If you love Konami's creepy town (and who doesn't?), this is a must-own.
Absolutely beautiful. The Silent Hill Experience takes the best tracks of each game and gives them to players in two forms. One lets you play tracks whenever you want via a clever music note screen.
The other has the tracks playing as you read the comic. It helps set the mood of the adventure, and keeps it in a dark and dreary place throughout the journey.
Songs include the main theme from Silent Hill – an instant, perfectly scored classic.
Complete track list:
Main Theme (Silent Hill)
Tears of... (Silent Hill)
Theme of Laura (Silent Hill 2)
Null Moon (Silent Hill 2)
Love Psalm (Silent Hill 2)
True (Silent Hill 2)
Promise (Silent Hill 2)
Fermata in Mystic Air (Silent Hill 2)
Laura Plays the Piano (Silent Hill 2)
Overdose Delusion (Silent Hill 2)
You're Not Here (Silent Hill 3)
Letter - From Lost Days (Silent Hill 3)
Dance With Night Wind (Silent Hill 3)
Breeze In Monochrome Night (Silent Hill 3)
Maternal Heart (Silent Hill 3)
Never Forgive Me, Never Forget Me (Silent Hill 3)
Cradle of Forest (Silent Hill 4)
Wounded Warsong (Silent Hill 4)
Room of Angel (Silent Hill 4)
Nightmarish Waltz (Silent Hill 4)
Visual Quality: 7.8
What's more fun than digging out old OPM (Official PlayStation Magazine) discs to watch classic game trailers? Popping a UMD into your PSP that includes every trailer for your viewing pleasure. The original trailers created for Silent Hill 1, 2, 3 and 4 are offered, as is the trailer from the upcoming Silent Hill movie. They also threw in a creepy music video that I believe originated on MTV2. Interesting, but not as cool as the official game trailers.
Visual Quality: 7
Silent Hill film director Christophe Gans and original series composer Akira Yamaoka came on board to tell about their diverse experiences while working with the franchise. Both interviews are worth viewing (technically there are three, since there is a second interview with Akira). But Christophe's interview is the most interesting. He discusses the hottest topics surrounding the story, including but not limited to, "Why did you change the protagonist to a woman?" If the trailer didn't look so good I would have been asking that same question, but the film looks like it's going to be amazing. The director really knows games, unlike most other directors who take on game movies. Like it or not, you have to be a gamer that is seriously devoted to the series to bring it to life, which Christophe seems to be. His reason for changing the lead character to a woman is much simpler than I expected, and really can't be argued either.
He also talks about his source of inspiration, his decision to include significant characters and monsters from the game world, and gives many hints as to what will occur in the film. Based on how close the movie resembles the game it isn't hard to predict the outcome, but I'd prefer to go into the theater and see a great, familiar story come to life rather than seeing a great story lose its value because someone thought it should be different from the game. Will every element remain true? Are new revelations in store? How will this lead into the eventual sequel? Can we expect an entirely new cast?
Those are the questions Christophe will likely answer if a second Silent Hill Experience disc is made.
The Silent Hill Experience gives diehard SH fans something to creep and crawl over. You won't find it anywhere but Sony's luscious handheld. This is a great package that shouldn't be missed.