After having played both Silent Hill 2 & 3 so close together, it’s inevitable that I’d start comparing the two. Both games had different aspects that I think are better than the other:
- SH2 has better sound design. All of the music just constantly makes me tense & paranoid.
- SH3 has better graphics. Obviously a large part of this is because it’s a more recent game, but it always bothered me that some of SH2’s cutscenes were really good while others used the regular in-game graphics.
- SH2 has a better story. I really liked that very few things were outright stated in the game but left the horror to your own imagination.
- SH3 has more interesting characters. I think Heather’s personality is developed more than James, although you could probably argue that the town itself reveals James’ personality. But there’s a better sense of getting to know all of the characters in SH3.
- SH2 is longer. With the exploration of the town, the second game took me around six hours to complete, whereas the third took me less than three. SH3 really cuts out the town exploration.
- SH3 has more replay value, at least for me. True, it has fewer endings, but it has more unlockables.
- SH2 is scarier. There are only a handful of moments in SH3 that really made me jump, whereas in 2 is was constantly tense.
In the end, it’s sort of a toss-up. Although I liked SH2 more, I think I would play SH3 more.
I also wanted to take a minute to discuss the new voices. As I was watching some videos comparing the original & new voices on Youtube, I saw a lot of hate for Konami’s decision. Anytime you change something that fans are so nostalgic about, you’d better expect some backlash. But I’m looking at things from a fresh perspective. I never played the original versions, but I’ve watched videos of them. So while I know what the old voices sound like, I don’t feel as attached to them as long-time fans.
Overall, I think all of the voiceactors did a good job. There were no voices that I heard & thought, “Oh God, what was that?” But it varies on who I thought was better. In my opinion, I preferred the new voices for James, Maria, Angela & Vincent. I preferred the original voices for Mary (Maria’s voice suits Maria but not Mary), Eddie, Douglas & Claudia. I think both of Heather’s voice are good, & I have no real preference for Laura’s voice. They were both so annoying, which is guess is a good thing…?
Although I decided to review the two games separately, I wanted to give my overall opinion of the entire Silent Hill HD Collection. Several HD re-release collections have been released over the past year, including Metal Gear & Devil May Cry (which I plan on renting), & all of these include several games on a single CD. The Silent Hill collection includes HD versions of 2 — which includes the Born From A Wish sub-scenario — & 3. I’m still not sure why they didn’t give the first game an HD release. Truthfully, there wasn’t a lot in any of these games that screamed an HD upgrade. There doesn’t appear to much in the way of graphical or technical improvements. Really, it just seems like a combined port for the newer consoles.
Overall, if you already have a copy of these games, I don’t see any reason to buy the HD Collection. Stick with what you’ve got. However, if you’re like me & have never tried the games or you no longer have a copy of them, I think it’s worth it. With the two games combined, it’s cheaper & more efficient to buy the collection than to hunt down each game separately.