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Matt Bassos
10 Oct, 2004

Silent Hill 4: The Room Review

Xbox Review | PALGN wonders what’s inside that room…
If you have never played a Silent Hill game before, then you are missing out on some of the best scares a video game can ever give you. Silent Hill 4: The Room is no exception and like previous games in the series, it has plenty of disturbing horror which will no doubt keep you up at night. Even better however, is the fact that beyond the horrifying imagery the game paints, is an enjoyable survival horror game, which integrates some well thought-out ideas which help intensify the atmosphere that little bit more. Silent Hill 4: The Room, is one ghastly trip, so get ready for some mentally distressing sequences and a bucket load of gore.

Welcome to Silent Hill..err..I mean Ashfield

Interesting enough, this is the first game in the series that doesn’t actually venture into Silent Hill. Instead the story focuses around the neighbouring city of Ashfield and as the games title subtly hints, takes place inside an apartment named room 302. You play as Henry Townshend, an everyday, ordinary man, aged someone in his mid-twenties. Unfortunately for poor Henry the apartment he has been living in for the past two years is cursed, and recently he has been having strange, unexplainable, recurring nightmares. Things only get weirder when Henry finds his front door locked, chained from the inside, his windows bolted shut, and all electronic devices in his house busted, except for his radio. Henry virtually becomes a prisoner in his own apartment, until something strange happens within his very bathroom. A bizarre tunnel has somehow appeared in the centre of his bathroom wall, which leads to alternative worlds of darkness. Henry of course has no other option, so takes the lunge through the tunnel, which then leads to a new kind of nightmare.

Spacious Living

The first thing you will notice with Silent Hill 4: The Room is how the game is divided into both first person perspective scenes while Henry is in the confines of his apartment and third person perspective scenes while Henry is visiting the alternative world. Controlling Henry around your apartment is a pretty straightforward affair, using one analog stick to look around and the other one to move. While in Henry’s apartment you can do a fair bit of exploring, and nose around his meagre possessions. If something worth noticing comes across your screen, an eye icon will appear and by pushing “X” players will examine the object with greater detail.

His apartment consists of one bedroom, a lounge room, a bathroom, a laundry, and a kitchen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun looking about. There are photos about the place, a radio to occasionally listen to, and windows to gaze out of if you wish to see people doing their daily business while you’re trapped in a personal nightmare.


Item Chest cliché anyone?

Then there are the sequences which take place in the alternative nightmarish world. By entering the tunnel found in Henry’s bathroom you are taken to many strange places where creatures lurk in the shadows. These scenes are played in traditional Silent Hill third person perspective and if you have played any of the previous games, you should feel right at home here. Similarly to the other games, combat is done by going into an aggressive stance, which is achieved by holding down the right trigger. Once in this pose, you can swing or fire to your hearts content. Replacing the block ability in Silent Hill 3, is the dodge manoeuvre, which can be triggered while in the combat stance and allows you to quickly move out of harms way against creature’s attacks. Selecting weapons and items have also been streamlined in Silent Hill 4 over its predecessors, and no longer does the action pause if you need to switch weapons or use an item. Instead a categorized menu appears at the bottom of the screen and lets you change weapons or use items on the fly. You can however, only carry a limited amount items with you at any given time, so the handy dandy item chest which will store all those unneeded items, found in Henry’s apartment lounge room, becomes a necessity.

Combat is predominately the same from other titles in the series. Unlike games in the Resident Evil series, Silent Hill 4 thankfully lets you move about while you are in the combat pose, thus giving the player more freedom, as well as the flexibility to use the dodge manoeuvre. (unless you count Resident Evil 3) A new feature has been added to combat in the form of a charge meter. Certain melee weapons can be charged up, (by holding down the button) for extra powerful attacks, which will knock most enemies back in one hit. Most weapons in the game are in melee format, with very few firearms found in the game. This isn’t too much of a problem however as most melee weapons are enjoyable to use and have their own strength, attack speed, combo strings and charge attacks to make each weapon feel unique. While in Henry’s apartment and in first-person perspective you cannot attack with any weapon.

Home sweet home

The first-person apartment scenes and the third-person alternative world scenes co-exist with each other flawlessly throughout the game. In the beginning the apartment will act as a safe zone, a place to escape the nasty alternative world. In fact, at the start of the game you will be looking for exits out of the alternative world (in the form of tunnels) as much as possible, as while Henry is back at his apartment, his life will slowly recover, and you can save your game and take a moments breather without the fear of being ripped to shreds.

As the plot thickens Henry’s once safe apartment becomes a hell zone in its own rite. As the story progresses the apartment degenerates and becomes a haunting ground for spirits. Furthermore the once healing effect found in your apartment is gone, and you may want to reconsider leaving the alternative world to come back home, as a series of spiritual attacks can occur at any time through in the once secured environment. Fortunately there are ways to combat these spirit attacks while you’re in this first person perspective (seeing how you can’t use weapons), and include such things as lighting holy candles to purge rooms clean for short periods of time.


Backtracking to the item chest, now there’s a cliché!

The game is not without its faults. While item selections may have been streamlined, your item inventory is still inefficient, as things like pistol ammo and health drinks cannot be stored together and take up an individual inventory space each, which results in a lot of aggravated back tracking between the apartment and the alternative world. Another thing must be said about a certain type of enemy named victims, which are more or less floating ghosts. These enemies can come out of nowhere and will emit an evil aura which will damage Henry, if they are close by. This wouldn’t be a problem except for the fact that you lack the means to kill these types of enemies early on in the game, which results in you running from them most of time and not allowing you to explore an area properly without having an invincible foe pursue you.

If you hate escort missions in video games with a passion, maybe you should stay away from Silent Hill 4, as a great part of the game will have another character tagging along behind you. Although this character can use weaponry, it is always a pain to look after someone, especially for long periods of time.

The graphics in Silent Hill 4 is what you would come to expect from a survival horror game. Distorted, gritty and washed out are all good words in describing the environment in the game, not to mention the blood stains splattered about the place. During you travels in the game you will visit many places such as a subway, a forest, a prison and even a hospital, and all these locations are dark and moody, which sets up the perfect atmosphere to creep you out. The sound is also well established, which furthers enhances the eeriness of the game. Most sound effects are spot on, and the music will definitely help contribute to the scares in the game.

Distorted, gritty and washed out...yep must be a Silent Hill game

Distorted, gritty and washed out...yep must be a Silent Hill game
Close
Silent Hill 4 comprises of some appealing puzzles, which help stretch the overall lifespan of the game. While the game itself isn’t terribly long and can be finished within twelve hours, there are four endings in total (depending on how you play the game) and quite a few unlockable game modes which will have you coming back and giving the game another go.

Silent…but deadly!

Silent Hill 4: The Room will be one game that will surely scare you in some capacity. Its well implemented concepts of both first person and third person perspectives and its centralisation between an apartment and an alternative world offer a rare kind of gameplay experience. If you are looking for a good survival horror game, or simply an intriguing plot surrounded in mystery and you can handle a few disturbing images, Silent Hill 4: The Room will be a winner.
The Score
Excellent game if you're ready for some scares and a bit mystery. A must buy for fans of Silent Hill, or anyone who digs survival horror games. 8
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Content

Silent Hill 3 Review
08 Jun, 2003 This review may contain scenes which are violent or may be considered cruel.
46 Comments
9 years ago
gonna have to get me to a video store i think...

looks like a good game to play from the series if you haven't played an SH game before... like me...
9 years ago
silent hill 4 was the crappest game i have ever played, how could you give it an 8? every other site gave it about a 6.
9 years ago
I haven't played the series since being bored silly by number one - I might have a gander at this on a rental basis too...
9 years ago
Quote
silent hill 4 was the crappest game i have ever played, how could you give it an 8? every other site gave it about a 6.
So far Silent Hill 4: The Room is averaging 78% on Gamerankings.com
9 years ago
wow 7/10, its still the most boring crap game ever.
9 years ago
Heard someone in Game talking about the different horror styles between SH and RE, he seemed to prefer the seemingly more thriller-like style of SH. I've never played a SH game, so I might borrow/hire this.
9 years ago
TransgenicX wrote
wow 7/10, its still the most boring crap game ever.
You're obviously forgetting about Driv3r then...
9 years ago
i didnt play it, but i played sh4 and it sucked ass, whatever morons who compared it to re4 are fools.
9 years ago
I still prefer the Resident Evil series by far, it's just more exciting to get into in my opinion. I do however love Silent Hills mysterious and absolutely wacked up elements. Very weird game, but still a great series.

Only went through the 4th briefly last night and I don't think it's too good really. I didn't finish the game completely, but I did get a good feel of it. Wasn't too impress, well compared to past Silent Hill games anyway.
9 years ago
Guess I was the only one who found the game worthy of the Silent Hill series. icon_confused.gif
9 years ago
Resident Evil 4 isn't even out yet so you can't compare the two Transgenic. For all we know, RE4 could be shit. It could also be fricken excellent too, we won't know till January.

Oh well, you're entitled to your opinion and if you dislike Silent Hill 4, you dislike Silent Hill 4.
I haven't played it yet so I don't know what it is like but it looks good and sounds it too.
Beepos, lend me your copy for a while eh? icon_wink.gif
9 years ago
No re4 cant be shit, watch videos on it and read previews everyone previewer is hyping this game to be great and a re invention of the series, there is no way it can flop.
Also what are you talking about worthy of the silent hill series? Silent hill has sucked ass since the start, its a half assed resident evil rip off.
9 years ago
Hype Hey?

hmmm... what was that other game that was hyped and previews were amazing... ummm... hangon i'll get it soon...

thats right, it was Driver 3... and look how that turned out...

Don't believe the Hype...

RE has always sucked IMO... well, the first was good, and since then they've been rehashes of an old story... who knows, maybe 4 will introduce something new into the mix, but i doubt it... cheap scares...

SH interests me because it seems more of a terror game, rather that a fright game... a game you're too scared to play, but want to know what happens next... at least thats how a friend of mine described #2... maybe you're just too thick to get the points where you should be scared... or maybe you're console setup sucks testicle...
9 years ago
You are now showing your stupidity, read some previews and watch videos why dont you.
Youre calling silent hill scary? what are you 5, whos scared to play a game,even if you are scared the game itself is far from scary, its pathetically boring and crap.
Btw did driver 3 win e3 awards? no it didnt.did re4? yes it did.
9 years ago
Oh jesus christ. Here we go...

Transgenic wrote
No re4 cant be s--t, watch videos on it and read previews everyone previewer is hyping this game to be great and a re invention of the series, there is no way it can flop.
Also what are you talking about worthy of the silent hill series? Silent hill has sucked ass since the start, its a half assed resident evil rip off.
Every game could be a flop and no on ever knows until they play the damn thing. Sure all the hype surrounding RE4 is good, just like it is with Halo 2 or San Andreas. It is pretty easy to assume that these games will be bloody awesome too, just looking at their trailers and previews and stuff helps us assume they will be great. Until we play them though, we won't know. You suggest that I watch trailers and read the previews for RE4. Well I have already and will do so with any new information/footage that becomes available for the game too. I agree that it looks bloody awesome but I won't know till I play the game. Hype can make any game look good, even a Barbie game for fudge's sake.

ObsoletE wrote
thats right, it was Driver 3... and look how that turned out...
Bingo. The hype for this game was almost as big as the hype for any of the other big titles that are due soon. With a lot of people saying "how will it fare against San Andreas? Will it be as good as the previous two titles?" etc.

Heck, even the previews that were made a week before it was released to the public praised the bloody thing and look at what happened. We just don't know until the thing is in our hands and it is that simple.

Transgenic wrote
You are now showing your stupidity, read some previews and watch videos why dont you.
Youre calling silent hill scary? what are you 5, whos scared to play a game,even if you are scared the game itself is far from scary, its pathetically boring and crap.
Btw did driver 3 win e3 awards? no it didnt.did re4? yes it did.
I don't see how ObsoletE was showing stupidity for posting what he did...

It is the definition of scary that describes the difference between the Resident Evil series and the Silent Hill series.

Resident Evil relies on (as some describe it) cheap tactics to scare the shit out of you. Walk past a window and a dog could jump through it, when you weren't expecting it. A window is a window right?
Silent Hill relies on more atmospheric and just plain trippy tactics to scare you. Two different ways, two different games. Both good in their own right.
9 years ago
silent hilll attempts to scare you mentally but it fails miserably, i cant believe anyone likes that pathetic series.
9 years ago
maybe you just don't have the mental capacity to get it... twat...

i thought RE2 and 3 tried to scare players using cheap tactics but failed miserably... just 2 different opinions... RE1 (or Biohazard giving it the name i played it under) was good for its time as it created the genre... but RE2 and 3 were mots... you knew what was gonna happen and you (or at least i) very rarely got to jump... i've played a bit of SH now, and it seems to scare you not by making you jump, but making you feel you are absolutely alone... even though i was watching a mate play...

and i'm pretty sure Driver 3 (as it was then known) won a few E3 awards in its day... at the very least it was nominated... it looked awesome from all the promotion stuff that came out, but most (if not all) of it was pre-rendered...
9 years ago
TransgenicX wrote
silent hilll attempts to scare you mentally but it fails miserably, i cant believe anyone likes that pathetic series.
Just remember that everyone's interactions with things, be it in a game or in real life will be different to yours. What might not scare you could scare someone else.
So what if Silent Hill fails to scare you, it certainly scares other people so the game gets its job done. Just not with you.
9 years ago
ObsoletE wrote
maybe you just don't have the mental capacity to get it... twat...

i thought RE2 and 3 tried to scare players using cheap tactics but failed miserably... just 2 different opinions... RE1 (or Biohazard giving it the name i played it under) was good for its time as it created the genre... but RE2 and 3 were mots... you knew what was gonna happen and you (or at least i) very rarely got to jump... i've played a bit of SH now, and it seems to scare you not by making you jump, but making you feel you are absolutely alone... even though i was watching a mate play...

and i'm pretty sure Driver 3 (as it was then known) won a few E3 awards in its day... at the very least it was nominated... it looked awesome from all the promotion stuff that came out, but most (if not all) of it was pre-rendered...
To get what? the slow boring gameplay?i get that but it doesnt scare me, and re2 wasnt a mot, it is widely regarded as the best game in the series and is my favourite game of all time for sure, so the opinion of one silent hill fanboy who gets pissed off because i dont like his crappy series doesnt matter to me.
RE>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>SH
is that simple.

And no driver 3 won no awards.
9 years ago
if you've read my damn posts you'll know i haven't even played SH for fuck's sake...

imo, RE2 and RE3 were so much more of the same it was funny...

regardless, as i said it comes down to opinions... which, if you hadn't been such an slack-jawed, knuckle-scraping, redneck looney, i'd have respected...

until RE4 is released, there is no way you can compare it to SH4... and regardless of how many pre-release awards a game wins, it may still come out as trite...

ok, so driv3r didn't win any E3 awards... there are plenty of examples of games that did, and final release was a letdown... Doom 3 comes to mind for a great many people... it looks amazing, but the AI was a letdown for many people...

regardless, the point was a great many people, including this very site thought Driv3r was shaping to be something pretty special, before it came out

besides, i'm not getting pissed off, i'm actually having fun trying to discern your logic...

TransgenicX wrote
No Fat Chicks!!
i'm sure they've got more respect for themselves to get with a spanner like you anyway...
9 years ago
Are you two going to have to go to opposite corners for a while?
9 years ago
ah... just when it was getting fun icon_smile.gif
9 years ago
ObsoletE wrote
if you've read my damn posts you'll know i haven't even played SH for f--k's sake...

imo, RE2 and RE3 were so much more of the same it was funny...

regardless, as i said it comes down to opinions... which, if you hadn't been such an slack-jawed, knuckle-scraping, redneck looney, i'd have respected...

until RE4 is released, there is no way you can compare it to SH4... and regardless of how many pre-release awards a game wins, it may still come out as trite...

ok, so driv3r didn't win any E3 awards... there are plenty of examples of games that did, and final release was a letdown... Doom 3 comes to mind for a great many people... it looks amazing, but the AI was a letdown for many people...

regardless, the point was a great many people, including this very site thought Driv3r was shaping to be something pretty special, before it came out

besides, i'm not getting pissed off, i'm actually having fun trying to discern your logic...

TransgenicX wrote
No Fat Chicks!!
i'm sure they've got more respect for themselves to get with a spanner like you anyway...
Your using this site to support your argument?lmao, a site that gave sh4 an 8/10 im not surprised they liked driver 3, i also like the knuckle dragging redneck call very nice, but arent americans usually the rednecks?
Also doom 3 won graphics awards, i dont remember it winning any awards like game of the show or pc game of the show like re4 won gc game of the show, dumbass.
9 years ago
Take out the childish insults and we have a debate on our hands! icon_smile.gif

I for one have not played the entire Silent Hill series, nor the Resident Evil series. Can't call me a fanboy now, can you? icon_razz.gif

So Silent Hill and Resident Evil games scare people differently. That's fine. I think you're missing the point. Silent Hill 4 is out, professionals have played it and professionals have reviewed it. Resident Evil 4 is not yet out, and while there is much anticipation due to the fact it is the fourth game is a long line of famous survival horror games thus leaving it with high expectaions, since it not yet out and no-one had played the entire game for themselves, a comparison between the two games simply cannot be drawn.

TransgenicX wrote
No re4 cant be s--t, watch videos on it and read previews everyone previewer is hyping this game to be great and a re invention of the series, there is no way it can flop.
Yes it can, simply for the fact that we do not posess the technology to travel forward in time and be certain. Most likely, RE4 will be a brilliant game, but your argument holds no water until it is released.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  Konami of Europe
Developer:
  Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
Players:
  1

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