The best games of 2010: Silent Hill: Shattered Memories

Konami’s survival horror franchise had begun to lose its way after numerous releases until very late last year in the US when the Wii received its first truly mature game. The maturity didn’t stem from violence and gore though but instead relied on completely screwing with the players mind, dropping the player into an increasingly disturbing environment. And because the game came out this year in the UK, it felt wrong to leave it out of my top games of 2010. At the very beginning, before anything is played or seen, a message is displayed warning of how you aren’t actually playing the game but rather the game is playing with you. Then a video is played with copious amounts of filtering showing a father enjoying a novelty photo stand with his daughter. She tells him she loves him. The whole thing feels really quite uncomfortable and that the viewer is deeply hurting, setting up the game perfectly. You play as Harry Mason desperately looking for his daughter after a car crash. Inter-spliced between these segments are scenes of Harry meeting with his psychiatrist. This balancing act between panicking for the loss of a child and being calmed by a creepy authoritative figure pulls the story along wonderfully and keeps interest at an all time high. Motion control and the use of the Wii remote’s speaker is exactly how it should be; considered and relevant for the situation it portrays. For example, Harry may get a call on his mobile phone so lifting the speaker to your ear seems only natural and his torch used for investigating areas with its fantastic lighting physics works eerily well. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories may not be the longest of games but then that does mean you’ll get to whiteness its awesome ending even sooner. A great start to my top games of the year – even if its inclusion is based on a technicality!

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