The iconic survival horror franchise Silent Hill has been around for over two decades, first launching in 1999. This renowned and terrifying series focuses more on the psychological aspects of horror as opposed to Resident Evil’s more action-oriented gameplay. While the series may have deviated from its roots in the last decade or so, it still remains popular to this day.
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Fans of the spooky series are still clamoring for a new game, especially since the whole P.T. (playable Silent Hills teaser) was canned due to Konami pulling the plug on the project. Fortunately, there are plenty of incredible games in the series to dive back into starting with the one that began it all.
The first installment in this venerable series is none other than the original Silent Hill, launching on the Playstation 1 back in 1999. Silent Hill stars Harry Mason, who after seeing an image of a girl on the winding mountainside road, swerves and ends up stuck. After coming to, he quickly realizes his adopted daughter, Cheryl, is nowhere to be seen.
The terrifying events unfold as Harry searches the iconic foggy town of Silent Hill in search of his missing daughter. Unfortunately for him, he comes up against some truly harrowing creatures.
Silent Hill 2, which launched on the Playstation 2 back in 2001, is often lauded as being one of the greatest survival horror games of all time. Much of this praise comes down to the incredible story of James Sunderland and his search for his missing wife.
All James knows is that his wife left him an ominous and mysterious letter stating that he should meet her in their “special place.” Silent Hill 2 is truly a masterpiece of the genre with a fantastic narrative and iconic characters, including Pyramid Head, a true manifestation of James’ guilt.
Silent Hill 3 follows up from Silent Hill 2 and launched in 2003 on the Playstation 2 and stars the daughter of Harry Mason, Heather. Silent Hill 3 is known for its iconic set pieces, including the opening area where Heather finds herself, a dilapidated and creepy amusement park.
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Heather’s mission in this game is to attempt to return home to her father but along the way deals with nightmarish situations such as getting swept between the real world and the supernatural otherworld.
Silent Hill 4: The Room released in 2004 on the Playstation 2 as a major departure from the original three games. What immediately set this iteration apart was the fact that the protagonist, Henry Townsend, literally finds himself chained into his apartment.
What makes this game so unique, as well as divisive, was the fact that as Henry, you return to your apartment hub area many times throughout the game. These sections also played out in a first-person perspective, a first for the series.
Silent Hill: Origins originally released on the Sony PSP (Playstation Portable) back in 2007 with a Playstation 2 version becoming available later down the line. This entry stars Travis Grady, a trucker who unfortunately has the bad luck of seeing a vision of a cloaked figure on the road during the dead of night.
What follows is Travis’ harrowing journey into Silent Hill itself where sacrificial offerings have taken place amongst many other terrifying encounters. Like previous Silent Hill games, this one also features the notorious otherworld.
Silent Hill: Homecoming, which released in 2008 on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, was received with incredibly mixed reactions due to its emphasis on action combat instead of true survival horror gameplay elements.
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This entry in the series stars Alex Shepherd, a supposed returning war veteran who finds himself strapped to a gurney in a derelict hospital. The only thing he knows is that he needs to return home to Shepherd’s Glen to check on his ailing mother. What follows is a true descent into madness with some genuinely scary moments despite the combat-focused gameplay changes.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories originally released back on the Nintendo Wii in 2009 with a Playstation 2 and PSP port in 2010. This entry in the series took quite a different approach to gameplay with some sections where you must answer psychological questions which shape the game and its outcome.
Many fans of the series were skeptical of Shattered Memories because many of its gameplay sections were comprised of running away from monsters through pre-determined corridors. Fortunately, this innovation was well-received along with the dark story centering around Harry Mason.
Silent Hill: Downpour released in 2012 for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 and is sadly the last mainline entry in the series. Unfortunately, Downpour wasn’t incredibly well-received, mostly down to a combat-heavy gameplay experience and a generally unlikeable protagonist, Murphy Pendleton.
Murphy is a convict that happens to escape a prison bus transport gone wrong. Of course, he inevitably stumbles upon the titular Silent Hill and things go south from there. It still had some good scares but didn’t live up to the original games’ potential.
Silent Hill: Book of Memories is a franchise spinoff that takes the survival horror elements but blends them up with a top-down RPG adjacent experience. Book of Memories released in 2012 for the Playstation Vita.
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This game still featured the titular town as well as the well-known otherworld but centered on multiple playable characters, character customization, specific gameplay zones, a unique karma meter, and even multiplayer. This type of spinoff hasn’t really been done since but it should be praised for trying to innovate.
Silent Hill: HD Collection came out in 2021 for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 to less than stellar critical and fan reception. While the idea of playing Silent Hill 2 and 3 in HD graphics was tantalizing, this collection, unfortunately, took what made the original game’s limitation, namely, the fog, and removed it altogether.
The fog was used in the Playstation 1 and 2 games to mask hardware limitations but it also added to the spooky factor. This was sadly removed and it took away part of what made the series so iconic in the first place.
P.T., or playable teaser, was a demo for the now canned Silent Hills from Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro from 2014 for the Playstation 4. This incredible terrifying first-person experience was meant to draw up hype and excitement for a new entry in the iconic series.
Unfortunately, due to a major split from Konami, Hideo Kojima was removed from the company with Silent Hills’ production being shut down, to the great dismay of fans the world over. P.T. was downright scary in all respects. The only way to experience this playable teaser now is to get your hands on a Playstation 4 that still has it downloaded.