Review: The Silent Hill Experience

The Silent Hill ExperiencePlatform: PSP
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Konami
Release Date: 4/04/06
Genre: Multimedia
Players: 1

Due to freak audiences out of their seats in theaters on April 21st, the Silent Hill motion picture from director Christophe Gans and TriStar Pictures is actually one of the limited few videogame-based movies I’ve ever held any interest in seeing. And that’s not only because I’m a fan of the games, but also because the movie actually appears to be just a good all-around horror/thriller flick that will hold up on its own even if you have no interest in or never liked the survival-horror videogame franchise it has been inspired by. Leading up to the series’ big-screen debut, Konami has just released The Silent Hill Experience for the PSP, a fantastic new interactive UMD multimedia product featuring loads and loads of digital content related to both the games and upcoming movie that fans of the franchise definitely need to stop what they’re doing right now and go pick up.

Set within the rundown walls of the Midwich Elementary School and using it as its 3D interface, The Silent Hill Experience brings together various forms of Silent Hill-based digital content, from digital comic books to music to game and movie trailers to interviews. The interactive interface consists of a small compass in the bottom left corner of the screen with four arrows correlating to the d-pad that light up red to indicate which directions you can take through the halls and rooms of the school to reach the UMD’s various content. Occasionally the interface navigation can be a hair on the slow loading side, but overall it moves along briskly, is a breeze to maneuver and features an atmospheric presentation authentic to the series, with gritty imagery and eerie ambiance.

Chief among the UMD’s content are six digital comic books spanning over two hours of viewing time. Included among the digital comics are five chapters in the popular Silent Hill: Dying Inside comic series, in addition to the brand new Silent Hill comic storyline, The Hunger, which was written by series author Scott Ciencin and illustrated by Steve Perkins and Alex Shibao. These digital comics are beautifully rendered and animated on the PSP’s crisp wide-screen display, and are backed by a haunting musical score that heightens the atmosphere to near-movie-like proportions. All’s that is missing are sound effects to accompany key animated scenes and transitions, which feel a little off without corresponding sounds chiming in.

For Silent Hill soundtrack buffs, The Silent Hill Experience also offers a whopping 20 tracks from each of the four titles in the series that were specifically chosen for this UMD by none other than the series’ producer and music composer, Akira Yamaoka. Along with choosing the list of included songs, Yamaoka explains the reason for his choices and discusses influences and other information regarding his musical works for the series in an interesting video interview. Speaking of interviews, there is yet another video interview in which Yamaoka discusses his feelings about the upcoming Silent Hill movie and the movie’s director, Christophe Gans, talks at great length about the videogame-to-movie adaptation process. Gans’ portion of the interview is especially intriguing and informative, as it’s obvious he has a love and passion for the games, which gives me the utmost confidence that he’s done a fine job authentically capturing the spirit of the games in the movie.

Honestly, the only thing that slightly disappoints me here is more content regarding the film. Other than the director interview, the only movie-related content is the film’s trailer. As I was virtually roaming the halls of the Midwich Elementary School I was hoping to find maybe some sort of behind-the-scenes feature or “making of…” video for the movie, but alas there is nothing of the sort. I guess they have to save something for the DVD release, however with the release of The Silent Hill Experience coming in to provide hype for the movie it seems like there should’ve been a bit more relevant content to that topic.

All things considered, The Silent Hill Experience is an absolute must-have for any Silent Hill fan. Even though I would’ve loved to have seen more movie features, the digital comics, compilation soundtrack, movie trailer, video interviews and game trailers (yes, the trailers for each game in the series have been included as well) are totally worth throwing down 20 bucks for, no questions asked. If you love Silent Hill and own a PSP, do not, I repeat, do not miss out on The Silent Hill Experience.

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About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!