Silent Hill 4: The Room
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Lunabean Rating: 8.3
Platforms: Xbox, PS2, PC
Release Date: 09.07.04
ESRB Rating: M - Mature
Official Site: Silent Hill 4
Purchase "Silent Hill 4": PS2 | Xbox | Amazon
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September 15, 2004
Having played all but the first "Silent Hill," I have to say that "Silent Hill 4: The Room" is my favorite in the series so far. It's definitely different than its predecessors, however. Gone are the flashlight and the radio; say goodbye to different puzzles based on difficulty settings; and the omnipresent fog just isn't there. In fact, you never enter the town of Silent Hill.
That being said, "SH4" is a more linear, more solid game that does a better job freaking you out because you're not worrying about a glitch here or a red herring there. That leaves time for the story to really shine. You play as Henry Townsend a guy who, unbeknownst to him, moved into a very haunted apartment two years ago. 5 days ago, Henry woke up and his apartment was a little different. First, his front door is chained shut, there is no power, the phone cord is cut but the phone still rings, and no matter what, he can't leave and no one can hear him.
In order to set things right you go on a quest into different dimensions all the while revealing the gruesome past of your apartment. You'll visit such settings as a haunted subway station, a eerie building with several stores, a horrific hospital, and always the kicker for me, a very troubling orphanage. What is it about freaky orphanages?
The various settings help to weave the story of revenge, murder, demons, and of course carving numbers into victim's skin, into one cohesive, addictive narrative that is sometimes very hard to put down.
"Silent Hills" have always been known for their puzzles and if you're expecting a full-out puzzle game, well, this isn't it. Yes, there are many things that you must figure out but nothing to the extent of those in "Silent Hill 2." That's not to say that this game isn't challenging. I consider myself a well versed game player and I was definitely stuck a few times in the game. And I mean stuck, where I had to put it down and come back to it later to re-assess the situation.
The graphics are well done and there are very few, if any, glitches or dead points in the game. You'll get your fair share of horrific images, blood spattered walls, two-headed baby monsters, and pyscho killers with chainsaws.
If Survival Horror is your genre then you know that "Silent Hill" and "Resident Evil" are the two go-to games. "Silent Hill 4" continues this tradition with a solid, fun, and of course, disturbing experience.