fogged in, in silent hill

On Sunday, I went out and picked up Resident Evil and played it for a few hours, doing my best to prove to myself that it was good.

My failure to convince myself was /so/ staggering that I got on my bike, went over to Game Crazy, and picked up the other cheap horror game they had: Silent Hill 2.

I’ve played Eternal Darkness, which means that I’ve seen a horror game done right. I mean, man! Eternal Darkness is awesome. Resident Evil left me really wanting a good new horror game, and immediately. Of course, once I got Silent Hill 2 home, I didn’t have time to play it. Still, I felt better.

I did my research, and the thing everyone had been talking about was the fog. Fog this, fog that, fog fog fog. So, I was prepared for the fog. Still, what can I say about it? Fog fog fog! It’s everywhere, and it’s awesome. I tried to explain the big evolution of fog to a coworker today. I said, “See, it used to be that fog was a big hazy wall you put up to hide draw distance. Now, fog is something you put up that looks like fog and shows off that you have a zillion transparent polygons to spare.” In SH2, that might be two zillion polygons.

Everywhere, you’re surrounded by fog. You can see about ten feet in any direction, but the fog really swirls, so that distance isn’t exactly constant. It also seems to diffract light nicely, so some things can be made out better than others.

On top of that, there’s a layer of graininess added to the game. The XBX version has (as a “feature”) the ability to turn off that filter. I did it, saw that the graphics are still awesome, and turned it back on. Without it, the game looked too much like Shenmue or something. With it, everything looks a little more real. I can’t say why, but it’s great.

The monsters, of which I’ve only seen two kinds, are cool, too. I love zombie stuff, but zombies are a little passe as far as horror goes. “Oh, look, it’s a zombie. Meh.” These things are definitely weird. Their various ways of movement are unpleasant to look at, and they make icky noises, and they’re just basically cool.

The whole setting conspires to make me feel much more wigged out than Resident Evil did. It looks like something bad happened here. Resident Evil felt much more like a big puzzle.

Despite all the good stuff, I’m a little bored so far. There’s been a lot of running around and walking between locations, and not so much actual stuff. Still, it’s doing a good job at mood-generation. As I sit here, several dark rooms away from bed, I keep looking over my shoudler.

Oh, yeah, and there’s a plot: the PC’s wife died some time (years?) ago. Recently, he got a letter apparently from her, telling him to go meet her in the city of Silent Hill. He goes there and, even after being attacked by demons, sticks around to find her. /That/’s devotion.

To recap: so far, so good. I’ll play again tomorrow-ish and try to get down to business.

Written on June 18, 2003
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