Shadow of Phoenix

Respect for Games

Shade’s Review of Silent Hill: Origins

Posted on this site: Sunday, March 27, 2022

Originally Published on Monday, January 19, 2015 at https://shadevideogames.blogspot.com/2015/01/shades-review-of-silent-hill-origins.html

I’ve decided to go ahead and review the recent Silent Hill games: Origins, Homecoming, Shattered Memories, and Downpour.
I admit that I do not care for these games.
I don’t think they measure up to the original four games for several reasons, but I will do the best that I can to be objective in reviewing them.

 

Silent Hill: Origins was released on the PlayStation Portable in North America, Europe, and Japan in late 2007.
It was ported to PlayStation 2 in spring 2008.
Origins was developed by Climax Studios making it the first Silent Hill game not made by Team Silent.
The Origins development team included William Oertel (producer), Tomm Hulett (associate producer), Mark Simmons (director), Sam Barlow (writer), and Akira Yamaoka (music).
Yamaoka is the only Team Silent member that had a role in making Origins.
 
The gameplay style is very similar to Silent Hill 1-3.
R trigger (combat stance) plus X to attack enemies, L trigger to move camera, analog stick to move the main character Travis, etc.
The only control issue is that there are no tank controls.
No tank controls can be a problem when the camera angles changes.
It is easy to accidentally have Travis go in the opposite direction when the camera angle changes.
It may be due to people complaining that they don’t like tank controls.
Like Silent Hill 4, Origins also demonstrates that tank controls are needed in a game that changes angles.
 
The flashlight button is mapped to the circle button like the first three games, though whether or not having the flashlight on in Origins is not as much of a dilemma as in past games.
In Silent Hill 1-3, the flashlight attracted enemies, but the main character could not see in the dark with the flashlight off.
I always just keep the flashlight on, and take my chances with enemies.
In Origins, Travis can somehow see without the flashlight in the dark so it’s much easier to run around with the flashlight off.
In fact, there is an accolade in the game for only having the flashlight turned on for a certain amount of time.
Sometimes, however, enemies will still attack Travis in the dark with the flashlight off.
 
When an enemy grabs Travis, quick time button presses will appear on screen.
Hit the right button at the right time, and Travis will push the enemy off.
Fail to do so, however, and the enemy will hit Travis.
It’s a little odd to have quick time events (QTE) in a Silent Hill game.
I couldn’t find any interviews from Origins development members on why QTE was added, but I presume it’s due to the popularity of games like God of War and Resident Evil 4 where QTE is common.
 
There isn’t a lot to say about the enemies in the game.
They’re not difficult to fight.
They’re more annoying to deal with especially since QTE is used when they grab Travis, and most weapons are breakable.
Their designs are not disturbing like in the monsters in Silent Hill 1-4.
Part of what made the monsters in the originals disturbing was their ambiguity.
It takes awhile to figure out how each monster is disturbing.
I don’t see ambiguity in Origins’ monsters.
 
To attack enemies, Travis has many items he can use as weapons.
He can uses TVs, knives, shovels, wrenches, etc. etc.
All melee weapons, except extra weapons, are breakable.
There are firearms as well, but they are sturdy.
I’m not a big fan of breakable weapons.
I find them to make a horror game more frustrating than frightening.
Every time I’ve played a new game from scratch in Origins, I avoid combat unless I have to engage in it such as boss fights because of the breakable weapons I didn’t want to deal with.
In subsequent playthroughs, I used the extra weapons to fight enemies.
 
Travis carries weapons and other items in the pause menu inventory like the first three games.
Players can access the inventory by pressing the select button.
The D-pad can also be used to scroll through weapons without pausing the game.
Among the items that can be collected are energy drinks for Travis’ stamina, but players don’t need to worry too much about collecting them.
The reason is because when Travis is running, he will get tired and slow down after a few minutes, but he’ll run like normal again a few seconds later.
 
One last thing I’ll say about the gameplay is the puzzles.
The puzzles aren’t bad, but I didn’t find them to be as challenging as the puzzles in the original three games.
I think it’s most likely due to the fact that most puzzles in Silent Hill 1-3 are solved by figuring out riddles in the games.
There isn’t much riddle solving in Origins, which may be why I didn’t find them very challenging.
The puzzles in Origins can be fun, but not quite a challenging as past games.
 
As for replayability, Origins has a few reasons to replay it.
There are no difficulty levels, but there are three endings.
The game also has accolades that can be achieved through players’ actions.
Each accolade achieved rewards players with a costume or an extra weapon.
The replayability in Origins is decent, but I do think it’s hindered by the lack of difficulty levels.
 
In my reviews of Silent Hill 1-4, I said that the storylines contribute to their replayability because they are presented like a puzzle, and it takes multiple playthroughs of each game to understand them.
That is not quite so true with Origins.
In fact, the story and nightmare presentation of Origins are my biggest criticisms of the game.
 
I’ll try to keep this spoiler free.
The story of Origins takes place seven years before the first game.
A truck driver named Travis Grady is dragged into the events of the town when he drives through Silent Hill.
Origins acts as a prequel to Silent Hill 1, but there are a lot of things about the story of Origins that doesn’t make sense with the story of Silent Hill 1.
I also don’t find the story of Origins to be presented like a puzzle like the first four games.
 
The nightmare consists of switching between the normal version of an area to the scary version of the same area by Travis touching mirrors.
Mirrors are kind of  a neat concept for a horror game.
For Silent Hill, however, giving players the ability to switch between normal and nightmare versions of the area they’re in takes away some of the horror.
The idea of mirrors in Origins also does not make sense with the nightmare of Silent Hill 1-4.
For anyone who understands and likes the storylines of Silent Hill 1-4, the story and nightmare of Origins may be problematic for you.
 
Silent Hill: Origins is not a bad horror game for PSP especially when there are really no other horror games for the system.
If you love the story and nightmare of the original four games then you might have some issues with Origins.
A used copy of the PSP version can be found for around $10 or less.
The PS2 version may be a little higher though.
It also was released on the PlayStation Store for PS3 exclusively in Europe.
I would recommend Origins for anyone who has a PSP, and would like a horror game for it.
For fans of the original Silent Hill games who have not played Origins, I would suggest to judge the game for yourselves, but don’t be surprise if you think that it doesn’t measure up to its predecessors.