on Oct 28, 2008
We resume our nonsensical journey with Travis Grady, a trucker turned ADHD firefighting paramedic ghostbuster. Part one is back that way. When we last left our
hero special-needs truckdriver, he’d rescued a girl from certain death by helping her to escape to a different certain death. Then he passed out.
Besides, this is fun. More fun than playing the game, anyway.
|Welcome to our haunted town, which is beset by pagan devilry and ancient curses borne of unspeakable acts of bloodshed. Please take a brochure.|
No she’s not all right you bumbling, dim-witted, lamebrain. She was doomed before you scooped her up and loped outside with her. She was cooked. The best hospital in the world would be hard-pressed to coax a day or two out of her. You drool-soaked, cross-eyed, dunce.
Having failed to present the player with a compelling protagonist or mystery, the game sends you off to the hospital. Now, the hospital is an iconic place in Silent Hill. Everyone remembers their first trip to the hospital. It’s arguably the signature area of the series. It was a major part of almost all the other titles in the series, as well as the movie. But it’s something you build up to. It’s the headlining band, not the opening act. This game just has no patience. It hasn’t even bought me a drink yet and already it’s trying to get my pants off. And I’m really sorry for that metaphor.
Travis keeps looking for her, even after he arrives at the hospital and finds the place is bereft of life and brimming with decay. He’s attacked by one of the once-inspired-but-now-required zombie nurses. And he still keeps looking for the girl. Why? The game hasn’t filled in his backstory yet, but I’m pretty sure Med School isn’t a part of it. I didn’t see a medical degree hanging in the cab during the opening sequence. There’s nothing he could do for her, even if she was here and even if the place wasn’t infested with the malignant manifestations of the Otherworld. Come on, Trav. The place is deserted, man. Why don’t you go and see what’s going on with your truck? It has a CB, remember? Is this your big plan? To wander around a haunted hospital bludgeoning nurses with a sledgehammer looking for someone who is either dead or Not Here?
Here? It’s just monsters recycled from other iterations of Silent Hill. Travis is a man so dull he has other people’s nightmares.
|Oh my, this nurse looks evil and kind of scary, maybe I should- HA YOU ARE PLAYING A VIDEOGAME AND ITS TIME TO PRESS A BUTTON A LOT NOW! PRESS FAST SO YOU DON’T LOSE! PRESS PRESS PRESS!|
- Press inventory
- Cycle through the different classes of items using R1 and L1 until you reach “weapons”.
- Cycle through the weapons until you find the one you want.
- Select it.
- Now scroll down and select “equip”.
- Press circle to back out of inventory selection.
- Press circle again to dismiss the inventory screen and return to the fight.
Then three swings later your weapon breaks and you get to do it all again. This is not fun, it’s not intuitive, and most importantly it’s not scary. Fighting horrors can be a thrill, but not if the game keeps yanking me out of the experience so I can screw around with the menu system two or three times during every fight. (You can select weapons without going to the menu, but then the game keeps running and the foes get in a few cheap shots while you try to decide between the cardboard tire iron or the balsa wood crowbar.)
|Well lookie here! The doc’s got some ‘o them “health drinks”. Still no sign of a “plot drink”, “character drink”, “dialog drink” or, “non-sucky combat drink”.|
The usual excuse offered up is that survival horror combat is supposed to be difficult. But you want it to feel difficult because it’s desperate, panicked, primal, and chaotic. Here combat is fumbling, silly, tedious, time-consuming, and annoying. Hit detection is dodgy at best, and when it malfunctions it seems to go against Travis. I managed to get behind a nurse and take a free swing at her. My attack passed right through her. Still facing away from me, she attacked the empty air in front of her, and injured me. (And don’t even get me started on fighting two foes at a time, which is like trying to juggle bricks while handcuffed.)
|Shee-it, she’s a fine lookin’ lady. Bit thin fer my tastes, but Truckers like me can’t be too particular. I done beat the juice out of a whole mess of nurses back there. Would that impress her? Should I tell her about it or not? Shucks, I’m just no good at talkin’ to womenfolk.|
Travis crawls down into the insane core of the hospital and then fights his way back out into daylight and sanity. A boss fight is involved, if you didn’t see that coming. He awakens in the lobby and meets a nurse (a normal human one) who tells him in no uncertain terms that the little girl is dead, for sure.
Since Travis no longer has any reason to hang around the town, he dashes back to his truck and high-tails it to safety before anything else unnatural happens. He stops at the first chain hotel he sees and checks in. It’s the middle of the day and he probably can’t even afford the place, but he throws down a credit card and nearly runs over the cleaning lady on the way to his room. He showers for an hour and a half and then calls room service and orders one of everything. That goes double for booze. He slams down a hot meal and falls asleep with the TV on and the curtains open.
Wait. Actually, that is incorrect. Travis does not attempt to leave Silent Hill. Instead he heads for Cedar Grove Sanitarium. He has absolutely no motivation or justification for doing so, but the nurse mentioned it in passing during their conversation. Damn the main character and his will to live, we have cutscenes to unlock! Onward to the Sanitarium!
We’ll find out how that goes in part 3.