The fourth installment of the Silent Hill series (named Silent Hill 4: The Room) looks to be the best in the series with vast improvements, a new story with new and old characters and problems fixed.
Silent Hill 4: The Room stars a new character, Henry Townshend, and features a new story based around the disturbing alternate reality known as Silent Hill. Townshend starts out trapped in the most potentially scary setting yet: his own apartment. There’s a certain sense of unsettling solitary confinement in this setting and Konami is sure to exploit it. His front door has been made useless with a series of chains and locks. After a week of being trapped, Henry sees portals form in his bathroom. Seeing as how there is no other way out of the apartment, he goes through a portal. This of course leads to a new setting somehow related to Silent Hill and only then does Henry realize the full amount of trouble he’s in.
Just to scare you more, throughout the levels, which include a prison, hotel and forest, psychologically troubling changes will appear in the environment as the game progresses. Of course the gritty look and disturbing atmosphere can only be improved upon with the new installment. Facial textures are also improved. Enemies float through the air and creatures morph. For the first time in the series, you can play in either first or third person view. When in the apartment, you’ll be in first person. Outside of that, third person will be how to see the horror.
Konami is creating new monsters and odd secondary characters to make the story more effective. Monsters can travel through walls. One monster in particular is a thick, furry double-headed torso with baby heads that walks like an ape with two long hands (scary, eh?). Hooded men with dark faces also add to Konami’s desire to create the fear of being stalked and chased (being chased by a flying creature sounds pretty intense).
As I said before, the artistic aspect has been improved. The settings, atmosphere, ambience characters and creatures are all even more terrifying this time. You can bet the soundtrack will only heighten the uneasiness.
More weapons and more enemies will be in store too. The controls will be more responsive and quicker to aid the focus of action that was the goal for the game. New to the series is the ability to switch weapons in real-time (no more using the menu). Some items will return like the flashlight, radio and weapons like the shotgun, handgun, club and katana.
The story will not include any previous characters nor have any connection to them. The puzzles, bosses will be some of the best in the genre and will further enhance the feeling of blur between a nightmare and reality.
Overall, this sounds like the scariest and more disturbing edition to the series yet, if not in the entire genre. The many additions, changes and fixes look to make this a worthy purchase. Look for it in fall of 2004 for both Xbox and PS2 and check for more coverage from us in the future.