Silent Hill 3

A worthy addition to an already great series, but the content hasn't gotten any milder.
Colonel Link - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

Violence and Gore: Enemies spurt small amounts of red blood when hit, and the blood later pools around their bodies. Environments are sometimes have blood stained sheets, walls, etc. Gruesome looking monsters are present, and there are a few disturbing scenes that lack any violence.

Oppressive atmosphere: dealing with frighting horror, death and the macabre

Being of the supernatural horror genre, the game has many themes dealing with demons, Satan, and God. But, as with previous games in the series, SH3 clearly defines the lines between good and evil, and during the game you are clearly trying to defeat the evil.

The sexual content is limited to some revealing clothing. Hell is used about 10 times, and B**ch twice.

*NOTE*: Since Silent Hill 3 is a sequel; it is necessary to have played the first game to understand it fully. Hence, this review will contain some major spoilers regarding the first Silent Hill. Read at your own risk.

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Who am I?
What am I?
Silent Hill can show you the answers.
It can make you remember.
But do you really want to know the truth?

Silent Hill 3 is the sequel to the first Silent Hill (it has very little relation to Silent Hill 2) and continues the story of the cult of Silent Hill. This time around you play as Heather, an attractive 17 year old who is on her way home when strange things start to happen. Monsters appear and soon the world starts changing into a horrifying alternate reality with blood covered walls and grated floors. But this is just the beginning. A woman named Claudia tells her that she is the chosen one, and that she will finally complete her quest for paradise. Of course, she doesn’t believe any of this “crazy talk”, and instead goes home. What she finds there will eventually lead her to Silent Hill on a quest for vengeance and answers to her past.

The story in SH3 is extremely well thought out and incredibly deep. It continues the story of the first one nicely and is a whole lot easier to understand. The characters are almost perfectly animated and acted, making the story that much more gripping and entertaining.

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The graphics in the game aren’t that great by today’s standards, but they still look pretty good. The character models are extremely well done, and the lip syncing is usually very accurate, making character expression extremely realistic. The environment and monsters also look great (in a terrifying sort of way), but everything is a bit blurry. Still, the graphics are good enough that they don’t lessen the enjoyment of the game in any way.

Did I say enjoyment? That might not have been the best word to describe Silent Hill 3. The game is anything but a “joy” to play. The atmosphere the game manages to create is so terrifying and intense that you’ll feel exhausted after each play session. The game designers have created a truly scary game, and they didn’t have to resort to any cheap “jump out monsters” to do it. From the minute you start the game until you beat it, you’ll never feel safe or relaxed. This experience is augmented by an incredible soundtrack (written by the amazing Akira Yamaoka, who wrote the music for the previous games) that always fits the mood perfectly. The sound effects also contribute to the scares, with periodic crashes, thumps, loud static from the radio when monsters are near, scraping noises, and even deathly silence that sometimes scares you more than anything else.

You’ll spend most of the game walking through buildings in various locations, solving puzzles, killing/avoiding monsters, and reading memos and diaries that help explain the story. Combat is simple but not encouraged as Heather isn’t all that proficient with weapons. She is weak, enemies are numerous, and it’s simply easier to avoid them. I believe that this adds to the fear factor of the game, since running from many enemies is much more frightening than fighting them all and getting knocked around like a little kid.

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Objectionable Content:

Unlike many other games in the genre, Silent Hill 3 doesn’t resort to buckets of blood and gore to scare you. When enemies are hit they spurt small amounts of blood, and blood pools beneath them when they defeated. While the combat itself is relatively mild, the rest of the game is covered in blood (more than in the previous installments, sans barbed wire bodies). Throughout the course of the game you will see blood covered walls and floors, blood from bodies leaking through the sheets covering them, and horribly bloody monsters. All that said, the game’s use of blood is rather tasteful, fits the atmosphere perfectly. I never thought it was used in a pointless way. Apart from the blood, there are a few disturbing scenes, including one of a woman swallowing a wriggling creature whole.

Silent Hill 3 is also pretty clean when it comes to profanity and sexual content. I counted around 10 uses of hell as an expletive, 3 uses of b**ch, and the only sexual content is Heather’s mildly revealing skirt and a blurry picture of naked people covered in blankets.

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*SH1 SPOILERS BEGIN*

Now, the main problem Christians will have with Silent Hill 3 is the spiritual content. The whole game focuses on the cult of Silent Hill, false gods, and demons. In the first game, the cult tried to “birth” a “god” from a young girl, Allessa. Unfortunately for the cult, half of Allessa’s soul escaped into another girl, Cheryl (Her adoptive father, Harry Mason, is the main character in the original Silent Hill). The cult succeeded in “birthing” the god but Harry, with the help of Allessa, killed him. All of this is is referenced in SH3, but never actually “seen”. However, the cult is trying to birth a god once again in this installment.

The characters in the game speak of God constantly, and how he is a God of mercy and forgiveness who will bring a paradise without suffering or pain. But first he must “cleanse the world with fire” so that it may be reborn. The cult members all seem to be star struck in love with their “God”, and honestly believe that what they are doing is right. However, it is pretty clear (to me at least) that the cult has been deceived by Satan. Is it not true that he appears as an Angel of Light?

*END SPOILERS*

The whole game is supernatural horror (unlike the Resident Evil series), and has many themes dealing with demons, Satan, and God. But, as with previous games in the series, SH3 clearly defines the lines between good and evil, and during the game you are clearly trying to defeat the evil.

Another issue some might have with the game is the fact that Heather’s motivation for going to Silent Hill is vengeance. Another character, Douglas, tells her that “Revenge doesn’t fix anything”. Heather answers something along the lines of “I don’t care, I’m doing it anyway”. All that said, since Heather is clearly not a Christian, it would be illogical to expect her to not want revenge for the horrible crime committed against her.

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In Conclusion:

Silent Hill 3 is a masterpiece of a game when it comes to graphics, atmosphere, genuine scares, sound, and story, and any fan of Silent Hill has probably already played it. The content is similar to the first game, but with a little bit more blood splashed around. By no means is it a good entry point to the series, and squeamish people should avoid it like the plague.




Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.

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