Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is the seventh installment in the Silent Hill survival horror series. Shattered Memories is a stand-alone re-imagining of the original Silent Hill for the Wii, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable, developed by Climax Studios and published by Konami. The Wii version was released December 8th, 2009 in North America, and the PS2 and PSP versions were released on January 19th, 2010. In PAL countries (excluding Australia; see below), all versions were released on March 4th, 2010. The game was released in Japan on March 25th, 2010.
Shattered Memories is set in a different universe that is separate from the main canon. This includes the story, characters, relations and locations. According to producer Tomm Hulett, "It's not a remake or a port. That's an important distinction. It really feels like a new game." It is not meant to replace the original Silent Hill.
The subtitle Shattered Memories refers to shattering and re-imagining the memories of the player's experience from the original game, how Harry Mason, the player character, has "shattered memories" of the events leading up to his car crash, and the aim of Dr. Kaufmann to shatter the protagonist's false memories. Bits and pieces of these memories, mainly involving events in Cheryl Mason's life, are spread all throughout the town of Silent Hill in the form of text and voice messages, which are intercepted by Harry's phone throughout his journey.
- The story is set around winter 2008.
Psychiatrist Michael Kaufmann is preparing for a new patient. He pours himself a drink and his receptionist tells him that his new patient has arrived early; Kaufmann acknowledges that this is fine, and tells her they can start. Meanwhile, Harry Mason has lost control of his car on the icy roads and crashes into a snowy embankment in a junkyard in the town of Silent Hill. Coming to from the crash, Harry realizes that his daughter Cheryl is missing, and he sets out to find her in the snowstorm. Searching through Silent Hill's streets for Cheryl, Harry arrives at Diner 52 or the Good Ol' Days bar, where he meets Cybil Bennett or the Bar Maid, respectively. During a conversation with either of them, Harry, suffering from amnesia, realizes that he lives in Silent Hill at 1206 Levin Street with Cheryl. Harry then receives a phone call from home, though he cannot hear anything but static, and comes to the conclusion that Cheryl must be waiting for him there.
On his way home, Harry receives another phone call and can hear Cheryl's and another's voice; to Harry, this indicates that Cheryl is with someone else and may be in danger. Immediately after the call terminates, the streets become consumed by the Ice World. Harry soon encounters creatures known as Raw Shocks, who pursue him. Harry has no choice but to flee and after a nightmarish chase, he successfully reaches his house on Levin Street. Another session with the psychiatrist begins, in which Kaufmann discusses home and family life and asks the player to color in a picture titled 'Happy Family'. Meanwhile, Harry meets a couple (Mike and Lucy Stewart) inside his house whom he does not recognize. When Harry requests for Cheryl, the couple argue that she is not there, and when Harry claims that they are in his house, Lucy states that is impossible as they have lived in it for 14 years. Mike then shuts the door on Harry and Cybil eventually arrives. Cybil acknowledges that, judging from his license bearing that address, things do not make sense and she then takes Harry along with her in her police car to the police station to clear things up.
However, during the ride to the police station, the snowstorm interrupts their drive and Cybil leaves Harry to find their location but does not return, leaving Harry to wander into the nearby forest. After exploring a hunting lodge, Cybil phones Harry to ask why he ran off and Harry states that she abandoned him. Harry then decides to head back to Silent Hill and hangs up on her. After another nightmare sequence through the forest, Harry follows a path leading him to Midwich High School's football field. There, Cybil phones Harry once again and he lies to her, telling her that his phone's reception went out. Cybil directs Harry to the high school's gym so that she can reunite with him, which is also used as a shelter during snowstorms. Harry understands that Cheryl may also be there and agrees. In his third session, Kaufmann discusses the protagonist's life in high school.
Harry explores more of Silent Hill and Midwich High School, where he meets a woman named Michelle Valdez inside the school's gym. Michelle reveals to Harry that she once knew a Cheryl Mason who went to Midwich and shows him a school photograph of her. Although the teenage girl resembles Harry's daughter, this Cheryl is too old to be his little girl. Harry and Michelle enter the principal's office to find Cheryl's records and in doing so, they discover that they are indeed the same person and that Cheryl moved to Simmons Street. During another nightmare sequence, Harry learns that Cheryl was bullied by her schoolmates. After the nightmare, he reunites with Michelle outside the school.
Harry follows Michelle to The Balkan, a night club where she works. After leaving her downstairs while he searches her room for her car keys, Harry finds that a young woman identifying herself as Dahlia is sitting in Michelle's place upon his return. Dahlia seems surprised at his confusion, though she is not interested enough to explain anything to him. She tells him that she came to pick up the SUV parked outside to take Harry to Simmons St. where he would meet up with Cheryl at his current address. Upon reaching the bridge on their way through town, the Ice World takes over, freezing Dahlia and then the bridge itself, which collapses. The SUV plummets into the river below, trapping the two inside. As Harry struggles to escape, Dahlia is motionless, still frozen. Depending on the player's actions, Harry can either turn on the radio and escape, or drown.
Back at the psychiatrist's office, Kaufmann speaks to the player about death in his fourth session. Some time later, Harry awakens at Alchemilla Hospital, having been saved by Cybil. She tells Harry the events he described could not have happened, and that he must have swam in the river and could have died. Another nightmare sequence occurs and freezes Cybil during their conversation. Once Harry escapes the nightmare, he runs into Lisa Garland, a nurse who works at the hospital who has been involved in a car crash. Harry decides to keep her company as they walk to her apartment. Inside, Lisa asks Harry to get some pills from the bathroom to help with her headache. Once Lisa falls asleep, Harry leaves but before he is able to enter Toluca Mall, Lisa phones him, pleading for his help.
When Harry arrives back at her apartment, Lisa will either be dead or dying (depending on if the player gave her the correct pill color). Cybil appears and finds Lisa's corpse, ordering to freeze. Seconds before the nightmare happens again, Cybil tells Harry that she knows that he isn't "Harry Mason". After another nightmare sequence, Harry finds himself inside Toluca Mall. After a search of the mall, he arrives at the Simmons Street address where he meets an older version of the Dahlia he met before. Dahlia reveals two things to Harry: they are married and that Cheryl is at the lighthouse. The nightmare reappears, freezing her, and Harry soon finds himself in a "Nowhere"-like area. Afterwards, Harry enters what appears to be Cheryl's bedroom and falls asleep on her bed.
Meanwhile, in the psychiatrist's office, Kaufmann talks about marriage in the sixth session. When Harry wakes up in Cheryl's room, Michelle is beside him and she offers him a car ride to the lighthouse. During the car ride, an argument takes place between Michelle and her boyfriend, John, which results in them both leaving the car. Harry finds himself in the sewers and later, Annie's Bar. Inside the bar, Michelle tells Harry that she broke up with John and that he can reach the lighthouse by crossing Toluca Lake using a boat which can be found at the moor located behind the amusement park.
In the seventh session, Kaufmann talks about sexuality. Harry passes through Lakeside Amusement Park and finds a boat at the moor. Inside, Harry finds the young Dahlia again and asks her to take him to the lighthouse, to which she reluctantly agrees. Dahlia seduces Harry and it is implied they have sex. Sometime after, Harry wakes up in the Ice World, which freezes Dahlia again. The lake's water has been transformed into ice and Harry sets course to the lighthouse by walking on the frozen lake. Raw Shocks begin to pursue Harry, however, they suddenly freeze. The lake's icy surface transforms back into water and Harry passes out while swimming to the lighthouse.
Cybil is on the lighthouse's shore and she saves Harry once again, although Harry snatches her gun, saying he will not let her stop him from finding Cheryl. Cybil states that she doesn't understand what is going on, as she looked up his file, which showed that Harry Mason died 18 years ago in a car crash. Cybil leaves Harry and he enters the lighthouse which is actually Kaufmann's clinic.
It is revealed that Kaufmann's patient and the game's protagonist is actually Cheryl Mason, now 25 years old. Kaufmann explains how Cheryl has been desperately holding onto the memory of her father, meaning that the Harry that the player has been controlling is a manifestation of Cheryl's delusion. Infuriated by Cheryl's reluctance to accept her father's death, Kaufmann smashes his drink at the wall and tells Cheryl she needs to move on for her own sake. Harry enters the therapy room during the discussion and Cheryl notices him.
Like many Silent Hill games, it is unknown which ending is canon. Depending on the player's Psych Profile, there are 3 possible conversations that Cheryl can have with her father:
- Cheryl accepts her father's death, telling him "You've been with me for so long", to which Harry replies, "I always will be." He then smiles and freezes completely, and Cheryl lowers her head. This ending is generally associated with the "Love Lost" ending, though other endings may be obtained alongside this. The song "Acceptance" plays as the credits roll, as Cheryl has accepted her father's death. If Cheryl does not accept his death or does not forgive Harry, the song "Hell Frozen Rain" will play instead.
- Cheryl refuses to let him touch her shoulder and tells her somone has to be blamed for his death. In response, Harry says that she should forget him; he then freezes completely and shatters into pieces, and Cheryl lowers her head and cries.
- Cheryl is delusional and tells her make-believe "father", "Dad. You are a hero. The man who died, that wasn't my father. That isn't who I remember. Those memories are all I have — you're all I have." Harry sullenly replies, "I'm not even a ghost." Cheryl then hugs Harry and cries. Although Cheryl is happy, she still clings to her fantasy father. This is similar to Silent Hill 2's "Maria" ending.
After Cheryl's conversation, there are 4 possible videotape scenes as well as an additional joke ending that can play which vary depending on the player's Psych Profile:
- Love Lost: Harry is next to his car with Dahlia, and is getting ready to leave. He tells Cheryl that the divorce wasn't her fault. He says, "You know this has nothing to do with you, right? Even though Mom and Dad don't love each other anymore, we both love you, and we always will." This is considered the best ending of the game. This ending can be seen if the player doesn't focus on sexual images or drugs, tells Kaufmann that they are friendly such as saying they make friends easily or that it doesn't take much time for people to get to know them, and being a good person in general.
- Drunk Dad: Harry arrives drunk at his house and begins to yell angrily at Cheryl to get him another beer. Harry was a drunk and an addict, and every aspect of his life was mired by his addiction. This ending indicates that when Harry was still alive, his alcoholism negatively impacted his family. This ending can be seen if the player focuses on alcohol and other recreational drugs such as cannabis pipes, cigarette dispensers and downers.
- Sleaze and Sirens: In the Orpheus boat, Harry is lying on a bed with Michelle and Lisa. They ask him if they can be in his next book and if it can be dedicated to them. Harry claims that he dedicates his books to his wife and daughter because it's "only fair", to which all three burst out in roaring laughter. When Harry was still alive, he cheated on his wife. Harry was a serial adulterer and was sexually immoral. This ending can be seen if the player focuses on sexual images such as porn magazines, and tells Kaufmann that they enjoy role-playing during sex and have cheated on a partner. If the player acts like a pervert in general, then they are most likely to get this ending.
- Wicked and Weak: In Cheryl's parent's bedroom, Dahlia is seen violently slapping Harry several times. Dahlia berates Harry for not having enough money, calls his novels "shit" and tells him that he is a pathetic "dickless waste of space". The ending can be seen if the player tells Kaufmann that they are involved little in friendship, meaning they don't make friends easily, that it takes a while to get to know them, and related topics. It can also be achieved by acting rude to people, being distracted by trivial things, and being self-centered.
- UFO: This ending can only be achieved on a second playthrough, where the player participates in a sidequest that requires taking photos of 13 UFOs hidden throughout Silent Hill. In this ending, Cheryl believes that her father was abducted by aliens and that Silent Hill is built on a giant spaceship. James Sunderland then arrives only to realize he'd arrived on the wrong day and leaves. Cheryl reveals herself as Mira and claims her mother was a bitch. Likewise, Kaufmann reveals himself to be an alien, and they continue the therapy session.
One of the main new gameplay features for Shattered Memories is the way the world reacts to the player's actions, known as the Psych Profile. Different actions yield different results, in a manner more advanced than the simple "good or bad" responses that have been prevalent in most games that use this mechanic. This will affect certain aspects in the game, such as what buildings will be open or closed, which characters will be met and what clothes they will wear, and variations of phone calls and text messages on the in-game phone. Real time decisions made by the player, such as which restroom they enter first, affect the game in many ways.
As well as this, there is a sequence at the beginning of the game where the character is given a psychiatric evaluation by a psychiatrist. The mode here is first person, and the player must answer questions regarding their personality and psyche. They can nod or shake their head in response to questions. There are many psyche analysis sequences throughout the game, many of them obscure; in one sequence, the player is asked to color in a picture of a house, among many others. These, and almost all of the player's decisions made during the exploration sections, will help determine certain elements and encounters within the game.
The flashlight is a recurring item present in nearly all the Silent Hill games. It returns in Shattered Memories with improved visual effects, and in the case of the Wii, it is a major form of physical interaction that helps to keep the player immersed in the game. Rather than moving a controller's analog stick to maneuver the flashlight, the player will physically move the Wii Remote around, using its motion sensor capabilities to interact directly with puzzles and to aim the flashlight.
Changes to the exploration aspect of the previous games include that when Harry examines something, he vocally responds, a first in the series. The camera is fixed behind Harry in an "over the shoulder" view. There is also more immersion in the game's HUD system, as instead of switching to a separate item screen, Harry holds his phone in his hand instead. Loading screens are absent, and loading times when opening doors are almost always instant.
The player can also collect up to 25 mementos. They serve no in-game function, but instead are collectibles which can be closely examined according to the console's controls.
Harry has a modern style phone which has an important role in the game. The player can use it to dial many phone numbers that can be found on posters, billboards, signs, etc throughout their journey. The player can also receive texts and photos from others, including memories and thoughts from the past. Typically, the recordings Harry listens to reveal that not everything was as pleasant as it seemed. In the Wii version, recordings and phone calls can also come through the Wii Remote speaker, and players can put the speaker beside their ear, as if using a phone.
The phone has a camera that can be used to uncover secrets by taking photos of the player's surroundings. These are known as Echo Photos, and can also be saved in a gallery.
Harry's phone has a map of Silent Hill with GPS (Global Positioning System) software allowing the player to locate Harry's position. Waypoints can be added, and the player can also draw on the map.
The phone also replaces the radio from other Silent Hill games, emitting static when Raw Shocks are nearby. While using the phone, the player is still susceptible to enemy attacks, as well as being able to move. The phone is the only way to save the game.
To add depth to the fear and tension aspects of playing the game, combat has been completely removed in favor of evading enemies during nightmare sequences. The goal of these nightmare sequences is to find the exit in a maze-like environment as soon as possible before the Raw Shocks defeat Harry. In the Wii version, the Wii Remote's speaker acts like a radio, delivering static to the presence of Raw Shocks.
Certain doors, fences and ledges that Harry can interact with are highlighted by light blue frost. They are intended to show the player that they can go there; they should not be mistaken as the path to safety.
The Raw Shocks chase Harry and seek him out at all times; they pursue him through rooms, over fences, under crawlspaces and drag him out of hiding spaces. However, there are a number of actions Harry can do to evade monsters, such as jumping through windows, climbing fences, and barging through doors while on the run.
If a Raw Shock becomes too close to Harry, it will jump on him and grapple him. When Harry is grabbed by a Raw Shock, the player must steadily and quickly thrust the Wii Remote and Nunchuk at the same time in the direction in which the Raw Shock grabs them (e.g. If a Raw Shock jumps onto Harry from the front, the player must thrust the Wii Remote and Nunchuk both at the same time forward).
The player can also knock down certain objects, briefly delaying the Raw Shocks. Certain places such as wardrobes and underneath beds can be used as hiding places to try and avoid detection. If Harry is detected, the Raw Shock that discovered him will let out a scream, alerting nearby Raw Shocks, and proceed to yank Harry out of hiding.
During each nightmare sequence, the player can find one or two flares to defend themselves temporarily; the heat from the flares negatively affect the Raw Shocks, giving Harry invincibility for about 15-20 seconds.
If Harry's "stamina" is lowered enough (indicated by VHS-tape like effects on the screen and by Harry's limping), Harry will collapse. There is no penalty if Harry collapses, and Harry will return to the very beginning of the nightmare sequence so that the player can keep retrying.
- Main article: Silent Hill: Shattered Memories Soundtrack
The music in Shattered Memories was composed by Akira Yamaoka, and was his final contribution to the Silent Hill series before he retired from Konami.
Mary Elizabeth McGlynn provided the vocals for four songs: "Always on My Mind", "When You're Gone", "Acceptance" and "Hell Frozen Rain", and Joe Romersa returned to provide lyrics for them, excluding "Always on my Mind", which is a cover.
GameStop offered a pre-order soundtrack containing 21 tracks.
The game was not always supposed to be a re-imagining of the first game, nor was it meant to be a Wii title at first. The project was actually rebuilt from the ground twice. The only feature that remained in all three projects was the Psych Profile system.
After creating Silent Hill: Origins, director Sam Barlow and his team at Climax Studios wanted to create a new Silent Hill game on PSP. However, Silent Hill's US producer suggested a Nintendo Wii release of a first-person shooter set in the universe of the series. Climax started a project called Brahms PD, a spin-off to the main franchise with an amnesiac police detective searching for his partner as the protagonist. Apart from the shooting gameplay, transition sequences featuring sessions with a police psychiatrist were to be implemented, making this game "the world's first truly interactive psychological horror". This project did not receive Konami's approval, and was abandoned.
The next project was not a spin-off anymore but an actual new installment to the franchise called Silent Hill: Cold Heart. It featured a depressed 19-year-old college student named Jessica Chambers, who studied psychology, as the protagonist. It was envisioned with melee combat and a body temperature system, requiring Jessica to scavenge for food and clothing in the cold. It involved the Psych Profile system, as well as a therapist called Dr. Alan Fairchild, and wanted to introduce the series to new players thanks to the Wii's wide audience. However, Climax was afraid that this project would not convince the producers either.
Climax had the idea to transform it into a re-imagining of the first game, an idea that they knew Konami would like as they had already suggested it before development for Origins began. This is when the Shattered Memories project actually began. It used the story of the original game to create something totally new, with no combat but a big emphasis on the scenario, to please a more casual audience and immerse the player in a touching scenario.
At first the title was meant to be a Wii and PSP exclusive, but Konami decided to release it on PS2 as well, as they thought that there would not be enough people interested in the survival horror genre among Wii players. Climax commented that they were disappointed that Konami promoted the game as a hardcore title while it was created with a view to pleasing more casual gamers.
The game was announced in the May 2009 issue of Nintendo Power and was set to be released October 13th, 2009 in North America and October 30th in Europe. In September 2009, Climax revealed that the release date would be pushed back to November 3rd, 2009. Around early October near the game's original release, it was revealed that Climax Studios pushed back the release date from November 3rd to December 8th, 2009. On October 13th, Konami also announced that Shattered Memories would be released across Europe in early 2010.
Originally intended for March 4th, the Australian PAL Wii version release was delayed until June, due to European supply problems caused by the economic effects of the 2010 volcanic eruption in Iceland. Furthermore, major retailers struggled to confirm available copies of the game for several months after the delayed release, potentially damaging initial sales of the game in Australia.
Late in the game's production, producer Tomm Hulett began a development blog which discussed various facets of information regarding the making of Shattered Memories, as well as other Silent Hill related matters. Each blog featured a picture, usually a glimpse at in-game artwork such as Cheryl's sketches, or even a part of the script itself.
Reviews of Shattered Memories were mixed to positive. Positive reviews (80% and over) were given to the game by Destructoid (95%), Eurogamer (90%), IGN (86%), GameTrailers (85%) GameSpot (80%) and Nintendo Power (80%). More of the slightly positive to mixed reviews given to the game include GameSpy (70%), Game Informer (63%), 1UP (58%) and GamePro (50%). The most negative review of the game was given by G4TV (40%).
The graphics were praised, including the detail of the environments. The flashlight was well-received, and GameTrailers commented that it gave "pixel perfect" accuracy. The psychological evaluation system overall was also a well-implemented feature that gave the game a unique experience. The deep emotional storyline was applauded by IGN and GameSpot, and the ending reveal was generally complimented by players.
Criticism to the game included "overly simplistic" puzzles from 1UP and G4TV, and some reviewers felt that the nightmare sequences were frustrating. Many reviews noted that the game was short, ranging from about 5 to 7 hours on a first play through. Some reviews such as Nintendo Power felt that the game had a "reduced emphasis" on horror, as monsters do not appear outside the Ice World (excluding the Larval Stalker), and it is impossible for Harry to truly die in a game over.
Some players had difficulty with the Wii motion controls being inaccurate and unresponsive, however, many players who do have issues often forget to keep the Wii Remote cursor pointed at the screen. Also, during Ice World sequences, the player is supposed to quickly and powerfully thrust both the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk in the direction the Raw Shock grabs Harry.
The PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable versions were considered downgrades of the Wii version with worse graphics.
- With the Dolphin emulator, it is possible to mod the Ice World into the traditional bloody and rusty Otherworld using a texture pack.
- The PAL version once had different artwork which was later changed. The original version bore a blurry close up of Harry's frozen face, his glasses angled, bearing a slight similarity to the Jacob's Ladder poster.  The final version is closer to the American release of Cheryl on the frozen swing, with a slightly different background and art filter, and the awards removed.
- The game opens with a psychology warning: "This video game psychologically profiles you as you play. It gets to know who you really are then uses this information to change itself, it uses its knowledge against you, creating your own personal nightmare. This game plays you as much as you play it."
- Shattered Memories is the second game to be released on a Nintendo console (the first being Silent Hill: Play Novel, released on the Game Boy Advance, which is also based on the original game. It was only released in Japan).
- Shattered Memories is the first Silent Hill game to feature permanent loss of combat, as the game is meant to avoid confrontation to make encounters with enemies more intense. This is similar to the Clock Tower series and Haunting Ground, where the protagonists flee (or at least are encouraged to) their enemies instead of fighting them.
- When taking a picture of certain strange phenomena, the image may distort and reveal a hint or secret to Harry. This is similar to the Fatal Frame game series. Posters advertising a camera obscura can be found in Silent Hill. The camera obscura is the camera wielded by the protagonists of Fatal Frame.
- Other Wii games that Shattered Memories is similar to include The Grudge, Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon and Fatal Frame 4.
- The map of Silent Hill in Shattered Memories seems to be quite altered, Alchemilla has been moved to a different street and its layout has changed. Also, known connecting streets have been put in separate locations.
- Calling the Konami Customer Service line prompts the representative to acknowledge that the player is calling from Silent Hill, and she says there's no way they can help.
- Latin is a recurring language in the series, and Harry can observe a question in the dialect once he has passed the second Ice World sequence near Bryant Overlook. Above a passage the inquiry "Quis est iste qui venit" is present, which translates to "Who is he that cometh?".
For more in-depth trivia, see Silent Hill: Shattered Memories Secrets and Unlockables.
The Wii version of the game is known to have a few glitches. The solution to most of these glitches is to save often.
- A "gallery" glitch where the gallery is always "full" of photos, even if it has no photos in it. If the gallery is accessed, a message appears stating that the save file is corrupted and needs to be deleted. Fortunately, this glitch doesn't impact the gameplay in any way and the player can still take photos with their camera (photos just cannot be saved).
- A glitch may occur where the player cannot move their flashlight, open the phone menu and open doors. This is because the game is stuck between Harry exploring vs. Harry checking his phone. If this happens, the player needs to turn off their Wii manually.
- Sudden freezing in the game is also rare, but can happen. Many players report freezing while entering Midwich's gymnasium.
- Due to occasional slow down when Harry is crashing through doors in the nightmare chases, sometimes the door won't open and Harry will go through it.
- In the apartment nightmare sequence, the player may open a door and run into the floor and fall out-of-bounds, in which they will walk under the level. They must turn off their Wii if this happens.(at 0:45)
- An audio glitch may occur during the psych analysis scenes where the audio will temporarily distort. It only lasts for a few short seconds, and never occurs when Kaufmann is asking questions, so it is not a big hindrance.
|Silent Hill games|
|Main series||Silent Hill · 2 · 3 · 4 · Origins · Homecoming · Shattered Memories · Downpour · Silent Hills (P.T.)|
|Ports and re-releases||Play Novel · Mobile · HD Collection|
|Spin-offs||The Arcade · Orphan · Orphan 2 · Orphan 3 · The Escape · Book of Memories|
|Production||Konami · Team Silent · Climax Studios · Double Helix · Vatra Games · WayForward · Kojima Productions|
|Extras||Inspirations · Features|