Silent Hill 3 PC DVD
Developed by Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
Released - Out Now
Price : £29.99
The bone chilling PlayStation 2 sensation has arrived on PC and it's as frightening as ever. The psychologically thrilling series returns once more to PC for what has to be the scariest of the series. Usually there is a build up to the psychological terror but Silent Hill 3 is tense and terrifying right from the beginning. It's not a lazy port either. Konami have gone to considerable effort to make sure this looks like an excellent PC game rather than a game running on an emulator. While the game is essentially the same as the PlayStation 2 version it looks a lot better if you have the hardware to make the most out of it. Anyway lets get on with the review.
In Silent Hill 3 you play as Heather, a young woman, who suddenly becomes trapped in what can only be described as a twisted nightmare. Right from the very beginning the atmosphere is tense. Heather begins the game in what appears to be a kind of amusement park. Even in the amusement park the game has a kind of psychological terror about it that is just too difficult to put into words. Silent Hill 2 took time to warm up but this time, it feels like you're in the thick of it from the word go. There are far more situations where you'll want to jump out of your chair and the monsters look more evil than ever.
In case you're wondering that isn't a mistake at the top of the screen the game has indeed been released on PC DVD. Konami have taken a bold and sensible step of not furnishing you with 3 or 4 CD-ROMs. The amount of PC games we have received recently that are spread over at least 3 CD-ROMs is just becoming silly. Most PC users now have a DVD-ROM drive and software is becoming ever larger. Silent Hill 3 requires about 4.85GB which is a very large installation but it installs very quickly indeed thanks to the extra speed of the DVD format. It's about time other publishers switched to DVD but Konami deserve credit for releasing a big name game on the format.
On starting a new game you get the opportunity to alter the difficulty levels for the action (combat) and puzzles. There are three difficulty levels for both the action and puzzles. On the easiest settings the combat is fairly easy and Heather takes minimal damage and is not able to fall from any dangerous edges. The puzzles are virtually non-existent, because they are that easy, in fact some of the difficult puzzles aren't even there. On the most challenging settings though Heather will have a really difficult time of it, as the enemies are very strong, she is not so accurate with the weapons and the puzzles will have you scratching your head more often than not. These game variations are great for those who like to play through more than once.
The PC version can either be controlled via the keyboard and mouse or you could use a gamepad if you want. Personally I used a PlayStation 2 gamepad with an adapter but it's fine with the mouse and keyboard combination. Just as in Silent Hill 2, you have a choice of two control systems. The default 3D control system feels awkward (it's similar to the one employed in the Resident Evil games) at first. However, if you switch to the 2D control scheme it suddenly feels much more natural. Silent Hill 3 includes a search view. When you hold down the relevant key or button you can move the camera to where you want to. If you hold down the search key or button for a short while it will put the camera right behind Heather and therefore also acts a method of controlling the camera. The only snag is that you can't use the search key or button feature in some locations, as these must be viewed from a fixed angle.
The PlayStation 2 version was very good in terms of graphics but if you have the hardware to turn the screen resolution and rendering resolution up, the PC version outclasses the PlayStation 2 version. You'll still come across occasions when the draw distance is slightly short and shrouded in mist but these instances are not frequent. It's rather pleasing to see the option to turn the screen resolution up to a whopping 1600x1200 and many ports to the PC from a console don't usually offer this.
The quality of the text is superb and is easily readable, even on the fairly small television that I reviewed the game on. In fact overall Silent Hill 3 is fine for deaf gamers. A disadvantage for deaf gamers though is the fact the game uses the same static noise (which the radio gives off) whenever you are near to the monsters or indeed you can hear the noises from the monsters themselves. This is only a small disadvantage though as you usually have to visually encounter the monsters before they will attack you. An added bonus for the PC version is that you can save anywhere and you don't have to wait until you get to a save point so if you do run into trouble you won't have so far to backtrack.
Without a doubt this is the best game in the Silent Hill series. The quality of the plot is very impressive and a cut above what is usually encountered in games these days. If you're a longstanding fan of the series you'll be well pleased with Silent Hill 3. Konami have done an excellent port of the game and deserve high praise for releasing it on DVD as opposed to a multitude of CD-ROMs. If you're new to the series then prepare for one of the most frightening, action adventure gaming experiences ever.
Game Rating: 9.2/10
PC ports of console games often get a bad press but Konami have done a superb job. With the screen resolution and rendering resolution turned up it is far superior, visually, to the original PlayStation 2 version.
The radio warning noises are not visually shown but otherwise there are no problems.