Bittersweet Homecoming – Silent Hill HD Collection Review

Posted on by H.B. Duran

NOT a fan of the new voice overs, but you can choose the original voices for Silent Hill 2. Thank goodness no one touched the gameplay, which is good and bad – good because the games rock, bad because I had forgotten how clunky the controls were compared to modern installments. A must have for Silent Hill achievement hunters or those who had been meaning to try it but got rid of their old consoles.

Silent Hill HD Collection Review9.0/10.0 Replay Value– Lots of endings to explore between both games – now with achievements.

8.0/10.0 Controls– Still PS2/XBox clunky, takes a while to remember or get used to

8.5/10.0 Sound– Meh on the voices. Original Akira Yamaoka soundtrack, FTW

10.0/10.0 Visuals– Same great look, just updated for HD

10.0/10.0 Gameplay– Nothing changed, so still perfect!

8.5/10.0 Overall– Like coming home and your mom has a different voice.

Despite there being 9 games in the series, Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3 remain at the top of fans’ lists, with the exception of the original game. When Konami announced that they were giving these games an HD make-over, the fans (myself included) were genuinely excited. The ability to play two of our favorite games on next-gen consoles is a dream come true…with one note of skepticism. What was up with the new voice overs?

How to review two incredible games that come jam-packed with happy gaming memories? The Silent Hill: HD Collection didn’t change any of the gameplay, so my scores here are purely opinion and could honestly be jaded by sentimental value. However, I took a nice, hard listen to the audio – the one area that was changed more than anything.

Pros:

The gameplay in both games remains unchanged, so if you enjoyed them the first time, you’ll have a blast reliving all those dark, frightening moments!

The HD Collection is a great value, at $40 for two full-length, classic games.

Both games come with achievements for the first time.

You are able to choose whether to hear the new voice overs or the originals when playing Silent Hill 2. Next time you pick up the game, you can switch to either performance, but not during the game.

The graphics are slightly sharper than the originals, now adapted for HD. My eyeballs may not be sophisticated enough to notice the difference, but it looked the same to me.

The Cons:

You are forced to listen to the new voice performances on Silent hill 3, whether you like them or not.

No changing back and forth from new to old voices during gameplay; title screen only.

I really do not care for the new voice overs – no offense to Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, whose voice will always be synonymous with Silent Hill…but hearing her as Mary/Maria seems wrong. The only voice I thought improved with the switch was that of Angela Orosco in SH2 – her character is actually like, 19 but was made to look older on purpose due to stress in her life. Together with her older voice, the original performance made her seem closer to 35. Her new voice is SO much more appropriate. Every one else is fine acting wise, but their voices come in so much louder than the rest of the game, making it seem VERY dubbed.

Also, throughout the game, some of the noises have been “enhanced,” i.e. changed. If you’re playing for the first time it won’t be a big deal. However, if you’ve played these games as often as I have, these changes don’t jive with the subtlety of Yamaoka’s original recordings.

Silent Hill HD Collection Review

The Verdict

I’m just not a fan of the new voices, I’m sorry. And it’s not because I’m just one of those fans who opposes all change! The fact is, having the voices changed so drastically was like coming home to find your mom with a different voice. Seriously. Mary Elizabeth McGlynn is one of my favorite people. She has been voice director on a number of anime and video games and is certainly a pro. My beef is not with her or the other actors, but rather the way they were recorded…and the fact that they had to be recorded at all.

What many fans may not realize is that the voice actors were also the motion actors for these games. To me, replacing them just seems disrespectful to those to helped make these games so beloved in the first place. Heather Morris was voiced and acted out by a girl of the same name. Why? The character was originally called Heather Mason, but they loved her so much, they changed the character’s name to match! Was it impossible to play them with the old voices in HD? If so, why can you choose the old voices for Silent Hill 2 but not 3?

Overall, the games are still great. If you’ve never played the games before or maybe just once a long time ago, I recommend picking up the Silent Hill: HD Collection so you can enjoy them on your next-gen consoles. It is nice to know that you can enjoy them on modern entertainment systems, so future generations can come to love them, too.

If you’re not a stickler for achievements or HD, however, I recommend finding them for PS2 or XBox – I still have mine and play them every once in a while. You can find them on eBay all the time, and I even see them in used game stores. The original voices were just so perfect (with the exception of Angela in SH2) and the new voices just don’t match, in my humble opinion.

Silent Hill HD Collection Review by H. B. Duran (originally posted on GirlGamer.com)

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