Ever since the PlayStation release in 1999, Silent Hill has been coming up with new ways to escalate our fear. Even before the advancement in cutting-edge graphics and top-tier voiceover work, Silent Hill still managed to capture an essence that left nineties gamers terrified of their own shadows. With a history of obtaining distorted worlds with twisted stories, Silent Hill has been leaving nightmarish imprints on fans for over two decades now. And, you know — we’re still often afraid to shut off the lights after booting up one of the many horrifying entries to the series.
Using hellish landscapes and grainy designs have always worked wonders for Silent Hill. In ways, this art concept has sort of become one of the many staples on the series that can never be replicated by rivals. Plus, with the addition of a few otherworldly monsters lurking between the shadows of every journey, Silent Hill never seems to fail in harvesting tension with a unique approach to horror gaming. But although every entry to Silent Hill feels unique in itself, there definitely seems to be a few standout titles among the many.
5. Silent Hill 4: The Room
There’s nothing worse than having to endure pure isolation in an apartment bound by chains and nightmares. I mean, facing the Coronavirus pandemic is one thing, but nothing rests on par with the insanity of Silent Hill 4: The Room. Now that’s where the whole world takes a turn for the worse and incorporates a pile of sinister antics. Similar to the previous instalments, The Room looks to induct the player into a shadowy realm possessed with eerie surroundings and grotesque creatures. However, in The Room — escape is never an option one can take. Descending deeper into madness, on the other hand — is worryingly inevitable.
Over the course of several days, players are forced to step deeper into the black hole that spreads through the grubby walls of the apartment. With nothing but an alluring sense of dread resting over your shoulders and a cryptic questline in hand — Silent Hill opens up, and the darkness takes force with no warning in sight. So, is it possible to break the chains of the possessed home — or are you left to wallow in the misery of darkness for all eternity? Only The Room will guide you on that one.
4. Silent Hill 3
Inducting another defenceless victim into the blood-stained streets of Silent Hill comes the third chapter in the distorted timeline. As nightmare-riddled Heather Morris, who suffers from recurring visions of twisted editions to the living world; players are left to descend into the ashen streets in search of her father’s murderer, Claudia. Still, seeing as Silent Hill isn’t exactly renowned for its tropical pastures — navigating the world proves to be a twisting task that only the bravest souls can survive.
Silent Hill 3 went on to receive extremely positive reviews on release and became a new franchise favourite. Thanks to Team Silent and their deranged visions on the horror category, the third chapter turned out to be capable of keeping the household name engraved in the minds of many gamers. In fact, we’re sort of perplexed over the serious lack of remasters in this series. Konami — where are you?
3. Silent Hill
Without the creative input from Team Silent back in 1999 — we’d never have the likes of Silent Hill altogether. We’d also never have been gifted the movies, the monsters or the entire merchandise line, either. That’s sort of why Silent Hill has to feature on this list. But other than Silent Hill being a genuine contender in the survival horror pool, it also proved to be a fantastic experience from beginning to end — faults and all.
As Harry, the desperate father of one who only wishes to spend time with his daughter, Cheryl — you are inducted into a series of catastrophic events. Following on from a car crash after swerving to avoid a mysterious girl, Harry blacks out and wakes to an altered version of Silent Hill. With no lay of the foggy lands or recollection of Cheryl’s whereabouts post-accident, it is up to you to wade through the mists in search of answers. Only, it isn’t the sinister creatures that possess a problem in Silent Hill. It’s the concerning connection Cheryl holds with the town.
2. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
Shattered Memories looked to reinvent the original Silent Hill game from 1999, but throw in a few twists in terms of plot, setting and development. And, while you may agree with the term “if it isn’t broke — don’t fix it”, Shattered Memories proved to be a powerful entry to the series that possessed better elements that the first game lacked. With more focus on player growth, this Wii release aimed to make actions and judgements play a key role in the outcome of the story. Of course, being a Silent Hill game — there are still oceans of distorted monsters. But with Shattered Memories, it feels more like a survival game as opposed to a point-blank horror title. And that’s not technically a bad thing, either.
Shattered Memories is often regarded as the underdog in the series, but many fans are still certain that the Wii hit is still the best in the Silent Hill library. However, it all depends on your personal preferences. After all — not everybody likes an ambitious remake. But with this reimagined edition, it almost feels like a whole new package. Plus, who’s to say the Wii can’t produce quality horror games?
1. Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill 2 amassed critical acclaim due to its narrative, art design, soundtrack and symbolism. Even today, as we become encumbered with reels of survival horror titles — Silent Hill 2 still sits at the apex of the genre with the 2001 phenomenon. Again, thanks to the fractured minds and unique direction of the aspiring developers, Silent Hill 2 was able to make its biggest imprint on the community and claim the everlasting title of best horror game ever produced.
Drawing back on the shadowy town as a starting point, Team Silent aimed to deliver a psychological horror unlike any other. Including a disturbing score to back the familiar surroundings of Silent Hill, players are left to fend off the darkness over a nailbiting journey in search of protagonist James’ deceased wife. With only a letter in hand and a trail of obstacles, Silent Hill becomes the ultimate playground that obscures no games.
HONORABLE MENTION — SILENT HILLS (P.T.)
Even after six years, we’re still just about getting over the cancelled Silent Hills project. Of course, we’ll never really know what went on behind closed doors between developer and publisher. Still, we can’t deny the fact that Silent Hills would’ve been a showstopper in the market. With its bleak manor setting and disturbing roster of characters, the short playable teaser was enough to snag the attention of millions. However, before it ever came to fruition — Konami pulled the plug. Six years later — we’re still salty about it.
Although a distant memory, Silent Hills is still mentioned within the horror community today. Fans are still very much toying with the idea of resurrecting the fractured game, and Hideo Kojima hasn’t stopped receiving fan mail over the project since it was pulled. But, perhaps it’s best that we leave the idea of ever seeing a full release. Of course, talks may resume — but nothing is set in stone at present. Still — what a game it would’ve been.