Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Silent Hill: Origins (PS2) review

Player(s): 1
Memory: 179KB

Do you have fond memories of playing your old Playstation 1 games on your Playstation 2? Remember how you would turn on the graphics filter and faster loading to make the polygons of some games would look smoother and the overall game load faster? Remember how some games would indeed look smoother and load faster, but they would have sound bugs or some other type of bug throughout them because of the extra stuff that you tried to force on them? Well, that is the sort of problem that we have here with Silent Hill Origins on the PS2.

I'm not going to go into detail about the story of the game, gameplay or any other features such as that. Please view my review of Silent Hill Origins on the PSP for that info. The PS2 version is the exact same from a gameplay perspective and the story remains the same with no added features.

If the PSP version has been played prior to starting up Silent Hill Origins for the PS2 then one can immediately notice the redone character models and slightly better backgrounds (and enemies). The game can be played in 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio and has multiple languages that can be chosen as the game begins. All files now have pictures that can be viewed prior to reading the text which provides a slightly more immersive experience when picking up any of them.

So what's so bad about the game? Well, the game is not absolutely terrible by any means. For the most part it still plays just as well as the PSP version, but the PS2 version suffers from some sounds bugs among other bugs and an overall darker look. Music will cut off while in some rooms, door opening sounds will not play when interacting with a door, the radio sound effect while touching a mirror cuts on and off in a choppy manner when compared to its PSP counterpart and sometimes the sound effect of picking up an item will sound distorted and nearly scare you more than a random sound that was actually meant to scare the player. All of these sound bugs happen randomly but some of them happen quite often - especially the door opening bug.

That's not all of the bugs either. There is also a slight delay in button response sometimes. Again, this happens randomly, but it's annoying when I want to simply view my map or run and have to wait a bit for the game to recognize my command.

Then there's the dark look that the game now carries. Konami could have easily put a brightness option in place on the PS2 version to remedy this issue but there is not one to be found. Some rooms are extremely dark and without your flashlight, all you can see is some slight movement on a nearly black screen. Yes, Silent Hill uses the darkness for its atmosphere, but when a game encourages you to turn off your light for a certain unlockable or to hide from enemies in an area, you would think the player would be able to see somewhat without a light in every room.

The new character designs look rather impressive. The models are much smoother than the PSP models. The jagged edges on the character models were really the only noticeable flaw on the PSP when it came to graphics. I do have a few issues with the way some of the characters look in the PS2 version though, most notable Lisa. She looks so much older in the face unlike her younger look in the PSP version. That's just my personal opinion though.

The 16:9 aspect ratio actually makes the game look much better even when played on a standard television. Everything is zoomed in and can be seen more clearly. The darkness isn't as much of an issue when this is turned on, but if you're on a standard TV then some of the game screen gets cut off.

All arguments aside, the game is still a really great survival horror experience. If you haven't played the PSP version then you should pick up Silent Hill Origins for PS2 if that is your only option. Even if some of the aspects have gone downhill when compared to the PSP version, the game still remains the same from a gameplay perspective and overall story point of view. If you have to choose between both versions then I would easily recommend the PSP version however.

Graphics: 9.0
Controls: 8.5
Sound: 8.0
Gameplay: 8.5

The Good

+ Redone character models and slightly improved overall graphics.
+ New 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios and multiple languages.
+ Files now have pictures of the file to view along with the text.

The Bad

- Many sound bugs that were not present in the PSP version.
- Slight button delay at times.
- Very dark appearance with no in-game brightness option.


What once was near perfect has now been broken, yet upgraded a bit in the process. The nightmare that plagues Silent Hill still continues regardless!


Alicexia said...

Actually the sound bugs were in the PSP version. I got them a lot and usually had to restart the whole game by going to home. It became really annoying not being able to hear enemies or the radio and I usually died before I was able to get a save spot.

Berserker said...

I did have some slight issues with the sound on my first time through the PSP version but they never did happen again.

But yeah, the PSP verstsion does carry a sound bug as well - I've seen users on the GameFAQs boards speak of it also. The PS2 verstion's sound bugs are much more constant though.

Anonymous said...

In the PS2 version the monster seem to easier to see you even if you off your flashlight than the PSP version.. This make the PS2 version harder