Silent Hill: Origins PSP Review

Silent Hill: Origins was set to be a major Resident Evil 4 style reworking of the popular series, and would have more than likely eradicated the recurring problems that the series, for some reason, hasn’t been able to shake off or simply is too stubborn to do so. But the developer changed hands from the US Climax studio to the UK studio (yes, as with Silent Hill 5 the wonderful Team Silent has taken a back seat for this one) and as a result what we have here is a Silent Hill that is very much a Silent Hill game.

As the title suggests, Silent Hill: Origins details the origins of the creepy town (it could be a nice quaint town, if not for the blinding fog and freaky monsters wandering around it) bringing back into play some familiar faces from the original game and in truck driver, Travis Grady a new character to take charge of, and yes this chap has his demons.

Travis’ troubles and the games effective setting are far from the only aspects retained from past games.

The graphics successfully capture the grainy style of the previous entries in the series. Silent Hill: Origins actually looks like a mini Silent Hill game, which is a resounding achievement and as a result is one of the most graphically impressive games on the PSP to date and, considering the eye candy that we’ve already seen on the system, that‘s certainly saying a lot.

The familiar real world and hell world mechanic is of course intact, but this time, by finding mirrors you decide when to shift between the two. We have mixed feelings about this, as the shock of suddenly finding yourself in a more macabre world (as you did in the other games) has disappeared. Backtracking is also a minor issue as essentially for much of the game you’ll traverse each area multiple times, albeit a dark and even darker version of each.

Combat has been tweaked, but is clunky enough to still feel like a Silent Hill game that you’re holding in your trembling hands (wimp!). Like Silent Hill 4: The Room, the game has many household objects (yes, don’t worry there’s guns too) with which you can whack hellish creatures across the head with (that’s if they have one). It may be somewhat clumsy (just attribute that to the fact that Like every previous Silent Hill character, Travis is just a regular guy, albeit with some irregular problems) but it’s supremely satisfying, and with the addition of finishing manoeuvres that can be triggered when you knock down a freak and they’re disturbingly twitching on the ground. Combat is a little tidier too and as a result even more satisfying.

To hold your many freak slaying tools, ammo, medical supplies and vital objects, your inventory has been expanded to literal infinity, which means you’ll never have to worry of micromanaging your equipment to make room for that shotgun or whatever. Travis certainly must have some deep pockets.

What hasn’t been changed is the games fixed camera, perhaps the Achilles heel of the series as a whole. Yes it gives us some wonderfully cinematic camera work, but we do like to see what we’re trying to shoot from time to time. At least the game has a generous auto aim function, which allows you to score a hit with a firearm, even when your enemies aren’t in view.

Seeing the game through to the end takes no more than a paltry five hours, but in typical Silent Hill fashion, there’s plenty of extras, which includes multiple endings (obsessive fans will be jumping right back into the game immediately after completion to assure they see the lot).

Climax have done a fantastic job in replicating the Silent Hill experience for a significantly smaller screen, some might even say that it sticks too rigidly to the somewhat flawed formula. Fans won’t mind one iota though and will be glad to learn more of the origins of the town as well as unravelling the troubled past of the lead character. We can only hope that The Collective does as good of a job with Silent Hill 5 as Climax have done with Silent Hill Origins.