Genre: Survival Horror
Release Date: Winter 2006
I’m excited about Silent Hill: Origins for a whole host of reasons. I’m a rather embarrassingly large Silent Hill fanboy, for one thing. More importantly, if Konami manages to follow halfway through on their claims at E3, we’ll finally see a 3D game on the PSP that isn’t saddled with an awkward-ass control setup that requires yet lacks a second thumbstick.
That said, Origins was only present at E3 in the form of a remarkably vague trailer, and offered no gameplay to speak of. Thus, everything I’m writing here is basically what I’ve been told by Konami. You’ve been warned.
Silent Hill Origins (a working title; also previously known as Silent Hill Original Sin) is set in the events immediately preceding the first game in the Silent Hill series, before Harry Mason brought his daughter Cheryl back to town. According to Konami, Origins will provide “the historical context [of the series] that the fans have been clamoring for.”
You play Origins as an innocent bystander, the truck driver Travis O’Grady, who just wants to get through town and back to his truck in one piece.
Along the way, Travis will meet up with the characters who shaped not only the plot of the first Silent Hill, but the town itself, making it into the place of horror where subsequent games have been set. He’ll run into Michael Kaufmann, the director of Alchemilla Hospital; the infamous Dahlia Gillespie, leader of the unnamed cult that worships the fallen angel Samael (note to fans of the movie: the games’ version of Dahlia is actually a raging bitch); and most interestingly, Alessa Gillespie, the psychokinetic young girl who some fans think created Silent Hill’s otherworld.
Travis will face a variety of new creatures, which are shown in passing in the trailer; it’s almost impossible to say what they are, besides “grotesque.” Fortunately, he’ll have access to a variety of unnamed special moves to fight them off.
Most importantly, Silent Hill: Origins has been reworked from the ground up to be better-suited to a system like the PSP. The camera is situated to better take advantage of the PSP’s smaller screen, and both it and the controls will adjust to the current context that Travis is currently in. The infamous puzzles that’ve been the hallmark of the series will also return, but apparently, the focus of Origins will be much less on the random key hunts that’ve characterized past games, and more on multiple, genuine puzzles.
I’ll admit that I’m a little psyched. I don’t have much of a choice, sure, but I’m also interested to see how these new controls shake down. I’ve been one of the fiercest critics of the PSP’s often-crippled control schemes, and if Silent Hill Origins manages to overcome the limitations of the hardware to deliver a genuinely playable game, it’ll do nothing less than revolutionize the platform. I’m really looking forward to this one.
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