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A franchise will typically release one or two games a year, if fans are lucky. However, game developer and publisher Konami is making March the biggest month ever for SILENT HILL fans with the release of SILENT HILL DOWNPOUR, SILENT HILL HD COLLECTION and SILENT HILL: BOOK OF MEMORIES, all within a three week span.
The flood of new game releases will begin March 13 with SILENT HILL DOWNPOUR. Incarcerated some time ago for unknown reasons, the game’s protagonist Murphy Pendleton has since became a troublesome prisoner and is now being transported to a new facility. When the prison transport vehicle is involved in an accident, it provides the perfect distraction for Murphy to escape into the accursed town of Silent Hill. Excitingly, DOWNPOUR is said to take place primarily in a previously unexplored sector.
In addition to the new location, time will actually passs in Silent Hill, and weather will play a key factor as well. If you are caught out in a bad rain storm, prepare for an onslaught of enemies, or do your best to run away from the fight for a better chance of survival. Combat in the game primarily revolves around the utilization of melee weapons, with a scarcity placed on firearms and the like. Melee weapons degrade with use, and only one weapon can be carried at a time, so you'll really have to manage what you fight with and how you approach each battle. At various points through the game, your frightening fight for survival will also extend into the dreaded Otherworld, where you will have to quickly find your way out of the nightmarish maze before you are hunted down by a killer ball of dark energy. Konami Digital Entertainment’s Producer, Devin Shatsky explained, “SILENT HILL DOWNPOUR will have a huge area to explore, and there will be tons of lore objects to find in the game. The newest and biggest thing we have added are the side quests. Murphy can just be exploring, and next thing you know your on a mini-adventure. Murphy is capable of handling himself, and you can pick up things in the environment to use as weapons. He is more of your average man and this will be evident in how the character handles.”
The second big release of the month will be March 20th’s SILENT HILL HD COLLECTION, marking the first time SILENT HILL 2: RESTLESS DREAMS and SILENT HILL 3 have been released in rendered 720p graphics. SILENT HILL 2: RESTLESS DREAMS is the tale of James Sunderland, who enters the dreaded town after a message from his dead wife sends him there. SILENT HILL 3 was a sequel to the first game that follows a deadly cult looking to drag the daughter of the first game's lead into Silent Hill in order to resurrect a demon. The gameplay remains the same from the originals, but voice work and the soundtrack have received major overhauls. Producer Devin Shatsky commented, “The HD Collection covers SILENT HILL 2 and 3 and is totally remastered, while featuring all new voices. It is produced in HD resolution with 5.1 sound, and we have updated the textures within the game to fit this. The games were not changed any, but we just simply updated what was already there.”
SILENT HILL: BOOK OF MEMORIES completes the trio, hitting March 27. The PlayStation Vita exclusive shows what happens when your character receives a strange book that can alter the past. The book contains everything that has ever happened to the character within its pages, but the contents of it can be changed, and so will our hero’s to match the new events. While the game doesn't feature any of the SILENT HILL’s main characters, the enemies essentially form an all-star team of monsters, ghouls and creepy crawlies from the entire series.
The first major departure in SILENT HILL: BOOK OF MEMORIES is your ability to create your character from scratch, rather than using a fully developed one throughout the game. It’s also the first game in the series to feature multiplayer, so you and up to three of your buddies can team up and survive the nightmare together. The game plays from a top-down camera perspective with a greater emphasis on action combat with degenerative melee weapons and a rare amount of guns and ammunition similar to combat in SILENT HILL DOWNPOUR. You'll notice some RPG elements, such as having a hit points meter and seeing how much damage you're dealing with each attack, as well. Plus, as you kill more enemies and gain more experience, you can level up and increase in strength and ability. Konami Digital Entertainment’s Senior Associate Producer, Tomm Hulett explains, "When coming to the Vita, we looked at the Vita and its capabilities, and made a SILENT HILL to fit that. Since the game system is portable then we wanted to encourage multiplayer which led us to a dungeon RPG type game. It is an all new game and not your average dungeon crawler. In the game you are given a book from SILENT HILL, and then you are given the ability to alter your life within the game through the book."
Whether already a SILENT HILL fan, or newly planning a trip, you’ll not want to miss any of these three releases this month. The HD collection can give players a real sense of the history of the SILENT HILL franchise, or help longtime fans enjoy the classics again, while the other two releases work well as standalone titles. SILENT HILL: BOOK OF MEMORIES is the easiest of the three to recommend, because there really aren't many other horror titles available on the new system at the moment. Still, you shouldn't sleep on SILENT HILL DOWNPOUR, because it could easily be the best of the three when all’s said and done. I personally cannot wait to get my hands on all three titles, so make sure March is SILENT HILL month for you too.
To learn more visit the official SILENT HILL site.
Special thanks to BGG’S Kenny King, Konami Digital Entertainment, Devin Shatsky and Tomm Hulett.
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