The real silent Hill Experience




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FUNGO

Tomm Hulett, we love Silent Hill more than you do because we think they were perfect games as they were. Even if we didn't think they were perfect, we would still love every flaw you perceive them to have.


"For example, if you are attracted by some woman, she's not perfect. If you take her pictures, sometimes her face is like that. It's not perfect. But if always she's perfect, I guess you won't love her. You're in love with her because she's human, she has character. That character has bad point — of course bad point — and good point.
They didn't make that. It's more 'real' than Silent Hill 2 from a visual or technique point of view, but I think I made more realistic work."

- Takayoshi Sato


ROSSETER

Let's look at this from a different perspective. Every single home video release of The Star Wars since 1997 has been drastically altered from its original theatrical version. You cannot find a single fan who approves any one of the changes. Everybody wants the original theatrical versions of The Star Wars back.


FUNGO

There's a documentary called The People vs. George Lucas which explores the anger The Star Wars fans feel toward George Lucas for permanently altering his movies for the worse. We highly, highly recommend everyone watch this documentary because the points that are made are applicable to Silent Hill.


ROSSETER

But George Lucas is the creator of The Star Wars, and if anyone has the authority to change the originals it's the guy who created it, and you can't tell him he's wrong because it's his vision in the first place. But Silent Hill is being changed by people who had nothing to do with its creation, and seemingly without any consideration for Team Silent and their decisions!


FUNGO

And people aren't upset about that!? It's outrageous!


DERFUZHWAR

But this is totally different. All you're doing is nitpicking about continuity and line deliveries.


ROSSETER

Oh, it's different, is it? Where does the force come from? Is it mysticism or midichlorians? Who shot first, Han or Greedo? Yeah, totally different.


DerFuzhwar gets upset and leaves.
ROSSETER

Yeah, get angry... Please get angry because there's nothing left to do but get angry! Why aren't people lighting car-fires over this stuff!?


FUNGO

I think I know why.


"The best thing about this is that if you don't like the new version you always have the original."

- Troy Baker


"If you like the old game and you like the old voices, then just play the old game and enjoy the old voices. But this, on the other hand, this is going to introduce 2 and 3 to a whole other generation of players that haven't played it before."

- Mary Elizabeth McGlynn


That's the one thing anyone who's part of production says. "If you like the original, you should play the original. But, the HD Collection is going to introduce Silent Hill 2 and 3 to a whole new generation of players." Those two ideas do not go together because the "new generation of players" isn't playing the same game. The "new generation" is playing:
A parody of an infomercial plays on the new Mary tape cutscene's TV overlay:
"Silent Hill 2 and 3, the Revised Tomm Hulett Editions, updated and remastered with new graphical enhancements and new, groundbreaking vocal performances! In 'Konamivision'! For information call 1-800-SILENT-1. That's 1-800-745-3681. No checks or COD's."
ROSSETER

And because they never played the originals, they will think that every glitch, every slow-down, every poor line delivery, and every graphical mistake was there to begin with. Masahiro Ito:


"But new SH user who know SH2/3 with HD will think SH2/3 are not good, I think..."
"But the first impression is most lasting. :( "

- Masahiro Ito


FUNGO

This new generation of players, and in many cases even the old generation of players, do not have access to the originals. For many, the HD Collection versions are the only version they can acquire without overspending for a used copy or an older console.


ROSSETER

And that isn't fair to the fans because the older players don't get the versions of the games that they loved, and the newer players don't have a point of reference to compare.


FUNGO

Why can't we just have the original versions as downloadable games on the Playstation store like they're doing with other PS2 games?


ROSSETER

Because Tomm Hulett wanted to make the games better because he loves them so much.


FUNGO

Why can't people just divorce themselves from the series to show Konami that there's no money they can milk from Silent Hill? That ought to keep this from happening again.


ROSSETER

You know why people get divorced? It's because the person they married no longer exhibits the qualities that they fell in love with. Tomm, I want an annulment. You can keep the new games, but I'm taking custody of the original four. And you don't get visitation. Look what you did this time. They came home looking like trash! You're a bad influence.


DERFUZHWAR

Hey, it could have been worse. They could have shipped it off to Malaysia, or even Canada.


"Don't hate us for doing this. They could have sent it to Canada. They could have sent it anywhere. They could have sent it back to Malaysia and had non-actors, which is what these people were, do it, you know? So..."

- Mary Elizabeth McGlynn


ROSSETER

Oh... Then, I guess that makes it fine... Nevermind. It's perfect.



15: DOWNPOUR
DerFuzhwar cuts carrots on the kitchen counter while a pot boils on the stove next to him. He hums to himself. Rosseter pulls up in front of the house, gets out of the car, opens the trunk, pulls out a grocery bag and closes the trunk. Fuzh continues to cut carrots and hum. Rosseter suddenly appears in the doorway.
DERFUZHWAR

Oh, hey! Just making some pickle stew. I hope you're hungry!


Rosseter pulls something out of the bag and tosses it across the room onto the counter next to DerFuzhwar's cutting board. It's a pack of drinking straws. Fuzh glances at it and continues cutting, looking nervous.
... What's that?
ROSSETER

You tell me.


DERFUZHWAR

I-I don't know what that is.


ROSSETER

Oh, you don't know what that is? I think you do know what that is. That's a present from the viewers. You know what they're saying about you? They're saying you tried to speak for the other side. Only, you didn't really speak for the other side, you misrepresented them. That's what they're saying. They're calling you "Straw Man".


DERFUZHWAR

Is that right?


ROSSETER

That's right.


Rosseter begins to walk toward DerFuzhwar. The carrot cutting intensifies the moment.
Now, I can understand you playing devil's advocate, trying to give some context to the situation. I can appreciate that. But what I don't appreciate is when something you said reflects poorly on me, as if somehow your attempt to bring context to the situation is the worst thing I've ever done. Does that sound fair to you? Hmm? Is that fair?
Fuzh turns on Rosseter, swinging the knife at him. Rosseter blocks the swing and grabs Fuzh's arm, twisting it behind his back and slamming Fuzh's face down on the cutting board in one skillful motion. He holds the knife to the back of Fuzh's neck.
Every line of dialogue I write for you comes from personal e-mails and YouTube comments. So, don't you think for a second that I'm going to feel guilty for something your precious "other side" said to me. That's what's unfair. And now you're going to nod your head in agreement and go back to cooking for me because that's what I wrote for you to do in the script. Isn't that right, Straw Man?
Fuzh nods, terrified.
Now, I'm going to go collect my basket and go out to that beautiful little cherry tree in the back... and I'm gonna pick some cherries...
Rosseter strokes Fuzh's head, then pats it. He rises, throws the knife onto the counter, and leaves.
ROSSETER

Here's your little knife. Don't let your tears spoil my stew.


Fuzh remains, crying over the cutting board. Onna no Ko Otoko no Ko begins to play as Fungo's laptop flies out from behind the counter. Fungo is super enthusiastic as he flies into the living room and hovers over a PS3, controller, and copy of Silent Hill: Downpour. His invisible hand picks up Downpour, and the two circle each other in love. They fly out the front door and up into the sky, his hair blowing in the wind. They fly back down through the front door and land on the coffee table. The music ends.
ROSSETER

Silent Hill: Downpour was released exactly one year ago on March 13, 2012.


DERFUZHWAR

Tell me about it. What took you so long?


ROSSETER

Who do you think we are, IGN? We're supposed to throw a four minute review together and slap a number out of ten on at the end? These people payed for this. We need to give them their money's worth.


FUNGO

This is the part of the video where we thank the donators. This video would not have been made without you.


DERFUZHWAR

Don't be proud to beg for money, you panhandlers!


ROSSETER

Begging? There's no begging here. This is an even trade. This game for this review. We didn't want to play this game, but they're paying customers and they paid us for a review. And they'll be happy to know that despite having given Konami the revenue for just two copies in exchange for this review, Downpour has only sold about a half-a-million units in the year since its release.


FUNGO

Technically that qualifies it for a Greatest Hits release. But, to look at it from a different perspective, compare it to Silent Hill's long-running rival Resident Evil, whose latest entry managed to quadruple that in two days, and everybody hated that game. Capcom talks about these sales being "disappointing". Compared to that, Downpour is not going to be winning any best-seller awards (or any other awards, for that matter).


ROSSETER

Indeed, the critical reception was, if you can believe the internet, "mixed". But no matter what the final verdict, you'll be hard pressed to find any reviewer that doesn't compare the game to its predecessors. Silent Hill is a big name, and Downpour has an enormous apron to fill, much to the dismay of its producer, Devin Shatsky:


"There are a lot of haters out there that we would love to silence. In a perfect world, our game would be judged on its own merit, not how it matches up to its predecessors. I truly believe nostalgia has a way of skewing peoples perception, so we're never going to please everyone, that is a reality we accept. That being said, we're still trying very hard to appeal to the core SH fan as well as to a more mainstream audience, and believe me, it's a tough line to walk."

- Devin Shatsky


Basically, what he's saying is that they knew they wouldn't be able to make a game that lives up to the standards of the originals, and that they would need to cast a wider net with their target audience to make up for the fans of the originals they were going to lose. After all, Silent Hill fans are unpleasable.
FUNGO

On the contrary, Silent Hill fans are very pleasable. Just make a good Silent Hill game. That would please us very much. But, there is something to what Mr. Shatsky is saying, even if he doesn't know it. The way we judge late entries in the Silent Hill series is the same way we judge any adaptation of source material.


ROSSETER

Whenever a new director attempts to make their own version of something that already existed before, there are two questions we ask in order to measure their success in doing so; "Is the work functionally good?" and, "Is the work contextually good?" In Downpour's case, we look at functionality in terms of gameplay, and context in terms of canonical accuracy and ability to expand upon the story in some meaningful way.


FUNGO

If you can nail both, what you've got is a genius game. If the story is non-existent, but the gameplay is just phenomenal, that would be enough to get you over the bar. There are plenty of games that get by with no story at all. If the game is a piece of crap, but it tells a good story that's true to the spirit of the material, in a Silent Hill game that's equally important (if not more so).


ROSSETER

We've always applied this reasoning to a new Silent Hill game, and Downpour is no different. So with this video, Devin's going to get his wish. We're not going to judge the game in a vacuum, there has to be some basis for comparison among games in general, but the first part will be untainted by nostalgia with no unfair comparisons to the originals. And then, in the second part, we're going to judge it based on the friggin' title.

PART I: ON ITS OWN MERIT
ROSSETER

Let's say you've never played a Silent Hill game. You walk into a Gamestop, they treat you like crap, you walk back out of the Gamestop and into the Target next door, and you see a copy of Downpour sitting on the shelf. "What is this? I've never heard of this before." You turn it over to get some idea of what kind of a game it is. All you'll see is the phrase, "Who can stop the rain," — a dire warning against the people of Luvia, Finland — and this sentence: "Join convict Murphy Pendleton in Silent Hill, where fear and torment are inescapable..." And that's it. The rest is just a bunch of legal information and stuff like that.


FUNGO

Already, they're banking on brand recognition. Two sentences isn't enough to get you to risk a sixty dollar investment on something you have no experience with, so you're going to go back over to the Gamestop and wait in line for Battlefield of Halos: Future Warfare 5. Nobody's going to buy it on its own merit...


ROSSETER

The game's manual isn't much help either, containing nothing more than some technical information and a controller layout in three different languages. And this pitiful, black-and-white three pages has a freaking table of contents. If you happen to be familiar with other games of the same publisher, you know they can do much better with their manuals.


Rosseter holds up the Metal Gear Solid 4 manual and marvels at its page-count.
Turns out, you have to go online just to find out what genre of game this falls into. The answer is "survival horror". Downpour is a survival horror game.
FUNGO

Oh, it is? Could have fooled me! There's nothing horror or survival about it, contrary to what many reviewers would like you to think. Not all of them are fooled, but most are. The one thing all the reviewers have reached a consensus on is that Downpour's story is very good and well-told. We respectfully disagree. The way Downpour tells its story is convoluted, vague, and confusing.


That's not a bad thing in itself. For example, the movie 'Prometheus' came out last year, and it, too, had a convoluted, vague, and confusing way of telling its story. That movie is part of our Essential Viewing Collection series because of the way it told its story. It had a single driving question, and then placed clues here and there, challenging viewers to piece them together for the answer.
ROSSETER

But Prometheus did have a definite answer, whereas Downpour looks like it's convoluted not as a way of challenging you to figure out what's happening, but as a way of purposefully avoiding having to give any kind of concrete answer as to what's happening. Every clue given has any number of possible explanations, and there's nothing to tell you that any one of those explanations is right.


FUNGO

Compounding the convolution, the game has five different endings, and every one of them has the possibility of not only changing the conclusion you reach, but changing the story itself. One ending even reverses the roles of the characters! Any conclusion you draw can be the right one, with the result that there are no conclusions, and there is no story. Nobody's right, everybody wins, trophies for participation.


ROSSETER

The story, as everyone understands it (and as the developers describe it), begins with convict Murphy Pendleton's prison transfer gone awry as the bus crashes in the woods on the outskirts of the town of Silent Hill. Murphy must try to escape the town, but the town has other things in store for him. He'll have to fight hideous monstrosities across hellish planes of existence in the ultimate battle with his greatest foe... himself!


FUNGO

They should have written that on the back of the box...


ROSSETER

The general idea with Downpour is that the town of Silent Hill forces people to face their guilt by trapping them and manifesting creatures of the night and nightmares of the day from the depths of their psyche. How it's able to do this, and why, you'll never know. They'll only be able to get out of the town once their emotional baggage is sorted out. The story as it unfolds while you are playing is maybe about Murphy Pendleton's quest for revenge against Patrick Napier, the man who raped and murdered his son. Murphy got himself arrested by stealing a cop car so he could end up in prison with Napier, where he could exact his revenge.


FUNGO

How did Murphy know he would end up in the same cell block as Napier, let alone the same prison? Child murderape and grand theft auto aren't in the same league.


ROSSETER

Well, Murphy was counting on the assistance of a dirty cop, Officer George Sewell, who arranged the situation in exchange for a favor.


FUNGO

That's wishful thinking, that there might be a dirty cop there that would arrange everything.


ROSSETER

In exchange for the opportunity to murder Pat Napier, Sewell wants Murphy to murder off Officer Frank Coleridge, the primary witness in an investigation of Sewell's dirtiness. Frank is severely mutilated during a prison riot that Sewell stages, and Murphy is convicted of the crime. The transfer to Silent Hill's Alcatraz Penitentiary has something to do with this conviction. After the bus crash, Officer Anne Cunningham, Frankie's apparent daughter, chases Murphy through the nightmare in order to see to it that Murphy fries for the vegetablization of her apparent parent.


FUNGO

Whether or not Murphy attacked Frank depends on which of the five endings you get, along with whether or not Murphy killed Pat Napier and whether or not Murphy Pendleton is even the main character.


ROSSETER

In the best ending possible, Murphy could not go through with killing Napier, and it turns out the scene at the start of the game where he kills him was actually a dream! And then he couldn't kill Frankie Coles, either, so there is no reason for Murphy to feel guilty about anything! Throughout the game, Murphy is being tormented by the guilt of having murdered nobody.


FUNGO

Through the magic of Silent Hill, Anne learns that Murphy never hurt her father and releases him from custody, bypassing the United States criminal justice system and ignoring the charge of grand theft auto, which was the reason he was sent to prison in the first place.


ROSSETER

"I have this insatiable desire for justice, and I will not rest until I make you pay for every crime you committed (except for the only one you actually did commit)."


FUNGO

In the second-best ending, Murphy also did not hurt Pat Nap or Frank. According to the game's Sen. Ass. Producer, Tomm Hulett, this was a mistake, and Murphy was supposed to have killed Napier. Nontheless, it wraps up in much the same way as the other, except that this time Anne goes to take revenge on Officer Sulu.


ROSSETER

In another ending, Murphy kills Nappy, kills Frank, kills Frank's daughter, kills himself, and then "Groundhog's Days" back to the beginning of a prison nightmare sequence to try again.


FUNGO

In the second worst ending, Murphy is magically back in custody and being executed for murdering his own son. Murphy never needed to seek revenge on Pat Napier, and yet in this ending he is still guilty for the death of Frank Coleridge.


ROSSETER

Why would Murphy make a deal to kill Coleridge in exchange for the opportunity to murder someone who didn't kill his son and may not even exist?


FUNGO

And in the very worst ending, the whole game is revealed to have been the dream of Annie Cunningham, in prison for who knows what, and that she was dreaming about Officer Murphy Pendleton.


ROSSETER

This leaves everyone wondering whether she was dreaming about chasing Murphy or if she was dreaming about being Murphy, whether or not Anne was really the one who killed her father, if Frank even was her father, if she's the one whose son was murdered, if she's the one who murdered her son, if she's the one who murdered someone else's son, if she's the one who raped her own or someone else's son, if she's the one who stole a cop car in order to be sent to prison, and a million other legitimate possibilities.


In the end, the moral of the story is that Murphy needs to just get on with his life. Murphy, escape from Silent Hill and just get on with your life. People are dead. Get over it... Unless your real identity is Anne Cunningham, in which case Anne should stop dreaming about Murphy and just get on with making license plates... Unless Murphy died in the bus crash, in which case he should just get on with his death.
Actually, we wrote that as a joke, but then we thought about it, and it turns out it's just one of the many possible conclusions that can legitimately be drawn.
FUNGO

For all we know, Murphy could have been dead and running around in purgatory. Or it all could have been real right up to the point he gets shot, and then he's in purgatory... Or it's real up to the second time he gets shot... Or up to the time he shoots himself... Or maybe he was knocked out after the crash and dreamed the whole thing... Or maybe it's all real, and the town just won't let you die... And that's the problem! It's a friggin' mess! What is this game trying to tell me? How is any of this happening and why?


ROSSETER

You're given notes throughout the game, called "mysteries", that I guess are supposed to fill in the gaps and minor details, but those only make things worse. There are a bunch that have to do with children at an orphanage, but all of their names are crossed out. Murphy talks about being in an orphanage once, but these memos are about children that had a personality disorder, electroshock therapy, a lobotomy... Did Murphy have the disorder? Was he given those treatments? There are two kids running around the orphanage; a boy and a girl. Is this a clue? Are they saying that Murphy's kid was in the orphanage? Is the girl Anne? Was she also in the orphanage? There's a sidequest about a kid with autism that drowned, just like Murphy's kid that drowned. Are they saying that Charlie Pendleton was autistic? Did they give him those treatments? The autistic girl's mother didn't want her anymore. Is that how Murphy felt about Charlie? Is that why he put Charlie into an orphanage? Or is it just all coincidental, and none of it has anything to do with Murphy? If so, why include it? Do they want us to solve the puzzle, or is there no puzzle to be solved? If not, why are they called "mysteries"? And why should I even care?


FUNGO

Within ten minutes of play, the fact that Murphy needs to face his guilt is made obvious, so the only thing keeping you going is learning what he feels guilty about and if he gets over it. But we don't care about Murphy, so why should we care about his conflict? The protagonist is supposed to be a sympathetic character that we can all connect with, but Murphy Pendleton is a remorseless murderer who got himself thrown in jail just so that he could murder someone for revenge. He feels worse about a guy that he didn't hurt, and that's only in the best of endings. In the worst of them he killed everyone, even his own son! And now he feels so much guilt and remorse he's mocking people from the execution table.

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