Shadow of Phoenix

Respect for Games

Shade’s Review of Silent Hill 3

Posted on this site: Friday, March 25, 2022

Originally Published on Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at https://shadevideogames.blogspot.com/2015/01/shades-review-of-silent-hill-3.html

Silent Hill 3 was released on the PlayStation 2 in 2003.
The PC version was released in North America and Europe later that same year.
Silent Hill 3 never got a Xbox release like Silent Hill 2 & 4.
I have no idea why.
I tried finding information on why it didn’t, but I cannot find anything.
 
KCET’s Team Silent began developing the third game soon after the release of Silent Hill 2.
Some key members of Silent Hill 3 development are Kazuhide Nakazawa (director), Masahiro Ito (art director & creature designer), Akira Yamaoka (sound director & producer), Yukinori Ojima (program director), Hiroyuki Owaku (scenario writer), and Shingo Yuri (character designer).
Some members of Silent Hill 2 development were not involved in making Silent Hill 3.
Suguru Murakashi, Masashi Tsuboyama, and Akihiro Imamura were among the members of the Silent Hill 2 development that split into a second team to make Silent Hill 4 at the same time that Silent Hill 3 was being made.
Takayoshi Sato, CGI and character designer of Silent Hill 2, was not involved in either game.
According to his website satoworks.com (this link now goes to a gaming site that does not seem to be owned by Sato), he eventually left Konami, and worked for Electronic Arts in Los Angeles for a few years.
He currently works as an art director for Virtual Heroes, Inc.
 
The storyline of Silent Hill 3 originally conceived by Team Silent was about a damaged person being called to the town.
Fans, however, wanted some resolution to the events of Silent Hill 1.
Plus, Team Silent thought their original Silent Hill 3 story was too similar to Silent Hill 2 to be a sequel to that game.
They decided to set their original Silent Hill 3 story aside as a future planned game instead, and made the third entry to satisfy fans’ pleas.
 
The protagonist of Silent Hill 3 is seventeen-year-old Heather.
She is a typical teenager on a shopping trip at the mall when a man approaches her.
He introduces himself as Douglas Cartland, a detective.
He tells her that someone wants to meet her, and that she must know important information about her birth.
She refuses to speak to him, however, for she is not interested in what he has to tell her.
She goes to the restroom to sneak away from him, and the nightmare slowly takes over.
 
The nightmare shifts in Silent Hill 3 is similar to the nightmare shifts of Silent Hill 1, but Silent Hill 3 is a little more disturbing than the first two games in some ways.
I can’t explain a lot about the nightmare because it will give away too much of the game.
The gameplay is primarily the same as the previous two games, and it carries on the improvements made in Silent Hill 2’s gameplay.
Like James in Silent Hill 2, I have no problems with Heather running outside or inside.
The default controls of start and select buttons are now switched back to the start button pausing the game and select bringing up the inventory.
The other default control buttons are the same as the past games.
 
There is a little change to the inventory in Silent Hill 3.
In all three games, the inventory is a pause menu screen with the character’s health, access to options and memos, and infinite amount of space of all items collected.
The inventory in Silent Hill 1 & 2 had players going through a long line of stuff when they were looking for something.
Silent Hill 3’s inventory is a little more organized by dividing it into three sections: items (flashlight, radio, keys, and other important items), weapons, and supplies (healing items and ammunition).
Dividing the inventory makes it easier to find something especially when there are more special items available in subsequent playthroughs.
 
Silent Hill 3 brings back the separate difficulties from Silent Hill 2 for action and riddles.
This time there are three riddle difficulty levels, and fourteen action difficulty levels.
Yes, fourteen difficulty levels.
The main action difficulty choices are easy, normal, and hard.
If a player plays on easy mode and dies three times, the game will give the player the option to change the difficulty to beginner.
When a player beats the game on hard mode, extreme 1 is unlocked.
After a player beats it on extreme 1, extreme 2 is unlocked, and it goes on to extreme 10.
 
A new feature introduced in Silent Hill 3 is Extra New Game.
It unlocks after completing the game once.
As the title suggests, it has many extras that the regular games does not have.
Extras includes four new weapons, several costumes (most of which are unlocked through passwords), and a few small changes to the game that I will not give away.
I think the extreme modes have to be unlocked through Extra New Game, but I could be wrong.
 
There are three endings this time around.
Playing regular New Game always leads to the Normal ending, but playing Extra New Game allows players to see the other two endings by fulfilling the conditions for them.
Silent Hill 3 has fewer endings than its predecessors.
Years ago, I remember reading an online article of an interview with one of the members of the Silent Hill 3 creative team explaining that there was going to be at least one other ending.
Unfortunately, I cannot find this article anywhere.
 
The only confirmation of the team considering a fourth ending that I could find is a quote from Silent Hill 3’s writer Hiroyuki Owaku in the Book of Lost Memories.
I do have some issues with the Book of Lost Memories, but I will include this quote since it is from a member of Team Silent.
He is quoted saying, “The truth is that when we first started development on this project, we considered including an ending for this situation. However, in order to show another means of resolving this in a way that could be easily understood, we decided to show it in the form of a ‘game over.’”
Owaku is talking about a part at the end of the game where Heather must perform a certain action within so many seconds, or it will result in a game over.
Team Silent was thinking about making this into a fourth ending, but they made it as a game over instead.
 
I will put the link to Owaku’s quote at the end.
Fair warning to anyone who has not played Silent Hill 1, 2, & 3, this page of the Book of Lost Memories has storyline details of those games.
I will also include a link to the Making of Silent Hill 3 video since I did so with my reviews of the first two games.
Once again, the Making of Silent Hill 3 video is best to be watched after finishing the game at least once.
 
Silent Hill 1 & 2 have five endings each (SH2 has a sixth ending in the Xbox and PS2 Greatest Hits versions).
The many endings in both games is one of the reasons why they’re highly replayable.
Silent Hill 3 does have fewer endings, but it has more extras than its predecessors making it just as replayable.
 
I’ve always thought the complicated way that Silent Hill 1-4 told their stories is another motive for people play them over and over again.
Some fans have commented through various forums and websites that the story of Silent Hill 3 is more forthright than the first two games.
I’ve also read some comments saying that Silent Hill 3 is not as well told as Silent Hill 1 & 2.
It is true in some ways that Silent Hill 3’s story a little more straightforward than the previous games, but that’s only because it’s a direct continuation of Silent Hill 1.
If you have a good understanding of Silent Hill 1’s story then the main story details of Silent Hill 3 will be easier to follow.
There are details about Silent Hill 3’s story, however, that are not straightforward.
It will take multiple playthroughs and some examination of information in the game to better understand the entire story.
The story of Silent Hill 3 is definitely well told.
 
Silent Hill 3 is a wonderful entry to an amazing series.
If you like Silent Hill 1 & 2 then Silent Hill 3 is a must own.
It is best to get the game on the PlayStation 2.
The PC version would be great as well, but it seems to be difficult to find.
Like I mentioned in my Silent Hill 2 review, there has yet to be Steam or GOG releases of the PC versions of Silent Hill 2, 3, & 4.
 
An HD Collection of Silent Hill 2 & 3 was released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2012.
As I said in the review of Silent Hill 2, I strongly suggest that anyone who has not played these games to NOT buy this version.
I know the HD Collection is more convenient to get if you have a PS3 or 360, and you don’t have a PS2.
But, it is not worth wasting your time and money due the numerous issues these ports have from graphical glitches (some are pretty bad), freezing, stuttering, missing or wrong sound effects, missing or wrong music pieces, problems with fog effects, and much more.
The character’s voices were also re-recorded with new voice actors.
Silent Hill 2 has the option for the original voices, but Silent Hill 3 does not.
The new voice acting does not match the fantastic job done by the original actors.
 
Silent Hill 2 & 3 are perfect on PlayStation 2, and Silent Hill 2 has a great port on Xbox.
The Silent Hill HD Collection is a mess, and it’s a terrible way to experience Silent Hill 2 & 3 especially if it’s your first time playing them.
If you want to experience Silent Hill 3 in the best way possible, the PlayStation 2 version is the one to play.
 
Hiroyuki Owaku’s quote on a 4th ending (Book of Lost Memories pg 111)
http://www.translatedmemories.com/bookpgs/Pg110-111.jpg
(this link no longer directs to the Book of Lost Memories site)
 
Making of Silent Hill 3 video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiH4wOkSzGs