It's good to see that movies aren't the only art form where the whole remake/reboot phenomenon is running wild. Game companies have been on the bandwagon for quite awhile now, too. The difference is that game remakes are generally more interesting because technological advances make them at least appear to be new experiences. Take, for instance, Konami's re-imagining of the original Silent Hill.
In the video demo below, Tom Hulett (an associate producer at Konami) is quick to assert that Silent Hill: Shattered Memories isn't a reboot or remake of Silent Hill. Whether you agree with that sentiment or find it more an issue of semantics is mostly irrelevant. Sure, the game brings back the characters and story from the original game, but it becomes clear early on in this demo that Shattered Memories isn't the same Silent Hill we played back in the PlayStation era.
The game is slated for release on the PS2, PSP, and Nintendo Wii, but it's the Wii version getting all the press here. Naturally, motion controls have been added to the Nintendo version, but there are other gameplay and interface tweaks that will be apparent to gamers playing any of the new versions. Take, for example, the game's new cell phone interface. Rather than clicking over to a clunky menu screen to save, use items, or do any of the other seemingly mundane tasks games ask players to complete, Shattered Memories handles all of this in a much more seamless (and realistic) fashion by having all of the menu options mapped to an in-game cell phone. Even better is that accessing the cell phone's options doesn't stop the actual game. If the player's got some sort of gruesome monster chasing him down, opening the cell phone won't create a temporary break in the action.
Another interesting mechanic is that the game seems more interested in taking away gamers' safety nets than most other survival horror titles. The onus in Shattered Memories is placed on escaping monsters by slowing them down or evading them through the environment as opposed to blasting them with heavy weaponry. It's an interesting idea (that's been explored in other series like the Fatal Frame games)—I'm curious if it will work through the entire experience, though.
That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. Check out G4's live demo of the game below for more information on what to expect when this game eventually hits retail shelves.
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A film critic by trade, specializing in Euro-horror, cult exploitation, and Asian action cinema, Mike has written reviews for a diverse group of print and online publications. He covers horror news, movies, books, and games at TheHorrorGeek.com and Horrorsquad.com and spent two seasons as The Horror Geek on Comedy Central's pop-culture game show, Beat the Geeks.
Mike's childhood was spent playing videogames any time he got a chance. His parents had a Pong console and his grandmother had an Atari 2600, where Mike cultivated his skills by playing hour upon hour of games like Space Invaders, Berserk, and Asteroids. From those early experiences Mike learned one thing: he loved games.
In 1999, Mike became a staff reviewer at Cinescape Magazine's website where he spent a year learning the craft of game criticism. After internal changes led to Mike leaving Cinescape in late 2000, he joined up with RPGFan in 2001 and spent several years writing reviews for them. Happy, but looking for an opportunity to expound on a wider variety of titles, Mike joined GameCritics.com and hopes to help Chi, Dale, and the rest of the GC staff bring a higher level of respect to the field of game criticism.