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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
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‘Silent Hill: The Short Message’ is Not the Return We All Hoped For

Unlike most other people, I have not lost hope in modern Silent Hill! The remake is on the horizon and I’m sure it will be fantastic. If not, we have “Silent Hill: Townfall” and “Silent Hill f” on the way.
Silent+Hill%3A+The+Short+Message+%28Screenshot+courtesy+of+KONAMI%29
Silent Hill: The Short Message (Screenshot courtesy of KONAMI)

 

The last few years have been amazing for survival horror games. Besides “Resident Evil” going back to its horror roots and “Alan Wake 2” significantly improving upon the first one and making an actually scary game, Silent Hill has made its long-awaited return. I’ve talked about most of these in-depth in other articles, but today we are gonna focus on Silent Hill. Recently they showed off some gameplay of the highly anticipated “Silent Hill 2” remake, and released a free game on PS5 titled “Silent Hill: The Short Message.” Did it live up to the hype? Did it feel like Silent Hill’s grand return? My short answer is no. Although, it wasn’t a complete flop.

The Game

The game follows Anita, a young teenage girl who struggles with self-confidence, feeling like she is not good at anything and dealing with past trauma from her life. She is seemingly lost in an abandoned building, trying to meet up with one of her friends who she realizes too late has actually been dead for several months. This, along with other revelations and story twists comes in a tight two-ish hour package that does not overstay its welcome and throws enough new stuff at you to keep you engaged. There are intense chase sequences, incredibly eerie set pieces and odd live-action segments throughout, but the gameplay stays fairly simple. No combat, no stealth; just exploring, interacting and occasionally running away.

The Problems

This gameplay loop works for the game, but by the end, you start to feel a little disappointed by how little they did with it. It has massive shoes to fill. Especially considering the last free Silent Hill release was “P.T.,” one of the scariest games ever created. This just doesn’t quite stick the landing. The story was fine, but there were a few things that felt shoehorned in. The gameplay was fine but the decision to put it in first person felt too modern-“Resident Evil” for me and the protagonist is one of the most annoying characters I have ever experienced in any medium. This is intentional though, as we later find out. The things that really stood out to me were some of the sections later in the game: when Anita ends up in her childhood apartment, and the chase sequences. The monster design is impeccable as always, and the shift from abandoned concrete buildings to rusting metal fences was fantastic.

The Legacy

If this didn’t have the Silent Hill IP attached to it I think it would’ve been pretty instantly forgotten, forever known as a fine free horror game that was released out of the blue. The IP does a lot of heavy lifting, but also drags it down. With so many amazing horror games released every year now, it takes more than just an IP to make a game stick out. Unlike most other people, I have not lost hope in modern Silent Hill though! The remake is on the horizon and I’m sure it will be fantastic. If not, we have “Silent Hill: Townfall” and “Silent Hill f” on the way. If those flop too, then at least Resident Evil is back to kicking ass, and let’s hope it stays that way.

 

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@EthanBlume07

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About the Contributor
Ethan Blume, Arts Writer
Ethan is a senior in college majoring in English and minoring in Animation Studies. He always loved student media, even back in high school. He spends his free time reading, playing board games and hanging out with his cat, Yoda.

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