|By Zach Patterson||Monday, 21 Jul 2008|
While browsing the bargain PSP stuff at a local Gamestop, I came upon the UMD Video for “The Silent Hill Experience.” Seeing it’s price had been
cut down a few times from the numerous stickers on the front, I figured for $3.99, I couldn’t feel horribly ripped off.
Well, I don’t, but the content was a lot worse than I thought it would be.
The back of the box boasts a bevy of stuff, but so little of it is worth anything to fans of the series. There’s 20 music tracks selected from the first 4 games, but they are stuck in a terrible interface that won’t even allow you to play them all or create a setlist of them. There’s rare videos from the series that were produced at one point or another, but in this day and age, any of the videos on here can be found on Youtube in seconds. To add to the thrown together feel, they didn’t format the videos correctly, and as such, some of them appear with black bars and warped, as if they didn’t realize that the PSP is a widescreen handheld. The videos are nearly unwatchable like this. There’s interviews with series creator/composer Akira Yamaoka and movie director Christopher Gans, but both are rather dull, uninteresting interviews that I’m sure can be found elsewhere for free as well. It’s the kind of videos you would get in a electronic press kit or as a shitty extra on the Silent Hill movie DVD that you would never bother watching more than once. There also some pictures of CG from the games. I seriously couldn’t believe that was a feature. So worthless.
In addition, you have to navigate a terrible menu that takes forever to load and is unnecessarily cumbersome to find things. It really wasn’t a great idea even in concept, to have it like you are in first person view navigating the elementary school, and the time to takes to get from one “room” to another feels like they added it to make it seem like there was more content here.
The real meat of the UMD is supposed to be the digital comics they have included here based on the miniseries “Silent Hill: Dying Inside” and a brand new, exclusive-to-this-collection comic, “The Hunger”. I’ll admit, the idea here is rather great, and I’ve always enjoyed when comics are digitized online, because it really adds to the experience of reading a comic. And while the comics are nicely set to music from the series (you can see now why “Selected Tracks” from the series were included as a feature; to add just a bit more fluff using content that’s already there anyway to an otherwise barren collection) and animate well, the stories just aren’t that great.
The Hunger is poorly written and the art varies from passable to sloppy. In addition to the dialogue not being that great, the story seems so far away from the plots of the games (and even the general themes and direction of them). In general, while it is exclusive content, it’s not worth picking it up to read it. Dying Inside has a bit more to it, but I can’t say I particularly enjoyed it either. The first 2 issues are fairly interesting and seem to at least take in some of the spirit of the series, regarding characters with clouded pasts, feelings of isolation, and representations of inner demons as monsters in the world of Silent Hill. Sure the dialogue is again awful, but at least it is better than The Hunger.
But abruptly, the story takes a complete 180 for the last 3 issues and revolves around a bunch of idiotic goth punks getting gored in Silent Hill. The kids aren’t likable, their motives aren’t believable (make money off of the monsters in Silent Hill? Uh alright), and the characterization is sparse. The art also changes completely, and not for the better. In most action or gory scenes, you can’t even tell what’s happening. It’s just some random colors and cryptic dialog and you figure out what’s going on. It feels like 1 mediocre story and 1 crummy story mashed together and then given the smallest of
connections. Then there’s stuff about the main character being a witch or something, and banging two of the other goth dudes, who I think are supposed to be brothers? And the demon girl in the town is her sister? I don’t know, the shit didn’t make any sense, and it was a real struggle to finish this. Not to play armchair comic creator, but I could have made a better Silent Hill comic than these two messes.
So that’s about it. A bunch of promo material you can get for free, and 2 bad comic stories. It kept me busy for an hour or two, so I wasn’t totally ripped off, but I’ll be damned if I’m ever booting it up again. I pity anyone who paid 20 bucks for this.