I am a chickenshit when it comes to survival horror video games. There has been known to be an incident when I screamed out loud when a ghoul jumped out on my character whilst playing Fallout 3 and I had to take time to calm down after killing it. This is why I have yet to play The Last of Us, because I have a zombie phobia… it ranks as one of two main phobias along with drag queens.
One reason I mention this, other than the fact that Silent Hill is probably the best known survival horror series after Resident Evil, is because this was a game that got the balance right for me in that it creeped me but it did not have me running for the off button. The website that I am using lists the Silent Hill series so I am using my experience with the first iteration in the series in order to cross it off. I know that Silent Hill 2 is regarded as the better game (and I will be getting to that) but for now I am sticking with the first one.
An issue that my partner and myself had with this game was the control system, it was a bit fiddly as the fixed camera angles changed since the direction on the analog stick for left in one instance did not always work as you went to the next scene. The rest however, was pretty impressive. I, being slightly weird and very much my mother’s son, love it when something strange and occult can be incorporated well. There are many examples of media when it is not done well but Silent Hill is able to pull it off by playing on a truly primeval fear: child possession.
The other main thing I thought was really useful, in terms of gameplay and in setting the mood, was the radio static. It worked as a way to give you some notice of when you were near enemies… but sometimes it would be the only sound you hear. This, coupled, with the lack of light other than (at times) your torch meant it could be creepy without being overly crap-your-pants scary.