First Impressions: $118 a night, room and board -- and the board's your weapon against evil.
If ever there were a town no one would or should or could even visit without being sucked inside, it'd probably be the location known as Silent Hill. Konami's Silent Hill franchise, commencing as a unique horror competitor of Capcom's zombie-fied Resident Evil series near the spiritual end of the PlayStation's lifespan, sparked fear and excitement and many unusual perceptions about life through its sickening and twisted story telling of a man on the hunt for his missing daughter through an abandoned, morbid and monster-rich town. Two moments-that-are-scarier-than-watching-your-parents-making-it sequels later, and Konami has established a reputation for being one of the few top-shelf, goto game makers in the survival/horror genre. Releasing their last PlayStation 2 Silent Hill edition just last summer, Silent Hill 3, it came as a shock recently when Konami officially put the word out that this year -- in fact THIS SUMMER -- would receive a follow-up to the company's creepy credentials called Silent Hill 4: The Room.
Confined inside his apartment. Nowhere to go. No way to get out. Harry Townsend finds that he is unable to walk into the normal world again, being boarded up and locked up with padlocks and chains barring his escape from it all. Time moves forward and Harry is still trapped after a week's schedule, until...mysterious portals gape all around Harry's living quarters. Not knowing why these portals persist or why they are even there, Harry has no choice but to step through them and find out what the hell is happening. One man's journey into the unknown, Harry's, is about to become much more deadly and terrible than he expected. Those same windows leaking into his apartment lead straight into the alternate dimension of Silent Hill. Harry's only option now is to step further and further into the bizarre universe before him: either to live...or to die.
Konami's Silent Hill 4, ultimately, is destined to be different. A bit far off from any usual horror release, including the previous Silent Hill titles, the fourth Hill will be staged directly from inside Harry's apartment. By departing into one of many portals inside his pad and arriving in another part of Silent Hill, Harry will eventually find himself tracing back and forth between both destinations. It's here that Harry's perspective will change, as when he's inside his apartment he'll be placed into a first-person view of his surroundings. When reentering the town, he'll retort to a standard third-person view. This teleportation system will affect the gameplay, as every time a new portal reveals itself to Harry in his apartment, he'll step into a distant location from before.
In an example for just how Konami wants players to feel constantly afraid when in the confines of Silent Hill this time around, they're bringing to life creatures that can and will stalk Harry. Take in mind that these monstrosities won't appear as anything like you've witnessed in a Silent Hill game before. Now try to picture a torso felted with hair, dual baby heads sprouting out from its top side, and enormous arms that allow it to sprawl the ground like an ape. Other unimaginable things are to be ghosts who can float amidst the open air, slug and dog-like uglies, and possibly the most interesting addition, monsters that can peel themselves right off the wall. As the monsters are growing new features, Harry will have his own. Battling back at these deformations will be easier this time around with a menu selection that can be accessed directly while in gameplay (a process that could only be done through opening the in-game menu in previous releases). Of the usual items, like a shotgun, a handgun, a melee weapon, and Harry's own pocketed-flashlight, the combat in Silent Hill 4 is being prepared to involve players in it more so than ever.
Layered over the past two Silent Hill games was a radiance of beauty...and sheer putridness. Evolving the visuals of Silent Hill 4 might not sound possible (after all, Silent Hill 3 was one of the most remarkably detailed spectacles in gaming last year), but Konami says it is. Pumping more article into the game's characters, there'll exist new freaks and people alike that will more than ever absorb into the horribly good to look at world of Silent Hill. Further disturbing is that in addition to another chilling serving of tenacious audio effects in which to hear, Silent Hill 4's soundtrack will consist of spine tingling songs, including one reminiscent of a lullaby. Creepy.