Games Technology

Silent Hill: The Quick Message Has Me Nervous For The Franchise’s Future

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The announcement throughout final evening’s State of Play {that a} new entry within the Silent Hill franchise was out now and out there free of charge instantly dropped at thoughts the legendary P.T. demo. Sadly, the intrigue Silent Hill: The Quick Message stoked throughout its trailer by no means pays off after enjoying by way of the whole lot of this two-hour expertise. A setting and story stuffed with potential in the beginning rapidly unravel into one thing shallow and predictable. The lasting impression The Quick Message leaves is a way of fear that this can be a signal of issues to return for the franchise as followers await the Silent Hill 2 remake and Silent Hill f with bated breath.

Instantly upon beginning The Quick Message, it’s laborious to not have flashbacks of P.T. Each video games begin inside a decrepit room with a single door main right into a spooky jail holding the protagonist gamers see by way of the eyes of in first-person. In Quick Message, the protagonist is teenager Anita. On the urging of textual content from her pal Maya, a proficient graffiti artist with a decent following on social media, Anita finds herself exploring a rundown residence complicated in Germany that locals say is cursed. That curse takes the type of an unusually excessive fee of suicides amongst younger ladies who come to the deserted constructing and by no means come out alive.

The Quick Message wants loads of set off warnings for its content material. The sport itself does give ample warning of its material, which is far appreciated, however gamers should be stunned at a pair particular moments even with that warning. The narratives revolve solely round suicide, self-harm, and bullying. This consists of some unnecessarily graphic scenes that add little to the general expertise past cashing in some shock worth.

The deserted complicated you discover all through the period of The Quick Message has wonderful set dressing all through, and when paired with a rating by Silent Hill veteran Akira Yamaoka the spooky vibes are immaculate within the sport’s first hour. There may be nonetheless a way of thriller and intrigue to the bigger story in early moments, and exploring the haunted home Anita finds herself trapped in is a delight. There’s a nightmare logic to the format of the constructing that retains the participant unsettled within the methods you need from a horror sport. However much more stunning is how fascinating the historical past of the constructing is. Past Anita and Maya’s brief time on this cursed area, bits and items of a bigger story doled out in discoverable textual content paint an enchanting image of companies attempting to pump cash into a number of makes an attempt at making this now-defunct dwelling area a thriving neighborhood.

Cherry Blossom monster chasing player in Silent Hill: The Short Message

Screenshot: Konami / Sony / Kotaku

Many of the sport happens by way of undisturbed exploration, however there are a handful of moments wherein Anita finds herself chased by a monster that haunts the halls of the constructing. These sequences require the participant to run down a collection of repeating hallways in quest of the proper path that will get you to the following step of the sport’s story. The issue is that there isn’t any steering on easy methods to navigate these mazes, typically resulting in the necessity to restart the part repeatedly, to the purpose being chased by the monster loses any sense of dread. (Which is a disgrace, contemplating the monster design guidelines!) The tall lanky determine draped in white, tied up with barbed wire, and blooming with cherry blossoms is straight away evocative. What else would you count on from iconic monster designer Masahiro Ito, the person behind Pyramid Head?

The majority of the sport revolves round Anita piecing collectively what occurred to Maya. Regardless of her artwork being common on social media, she has been bullied mercilessly in school and obtained an unhealthy attachment to being praised on social media—to the purpose she grew to become obsessive about it. The Quick Message’s most fascinating stylistic flourish is available in flashbacks shot in live-action that heart on conversations between Anita and Maya impactfully deal with questions of actuality versus fiction within the thoughts of Anita. This all will get tied along with fixed discuss of suicide and self-harm that that always will get uncomfortably near glorifying it.

But the failing of The Quick Message isn’t even that it portrays its themes dangerously. It simply drops the ball by taking essentially the most shallow and heavy-handed strategy. At one level, I needed to pause the sport so I might recover from a match of laughing after a scene wherein a faculty bully insults Anita by saying “Your artwork’s fucking bizarre!” It’s simply so unbelievable that you would be able to’t assist however be taken out of The Quick Message’s makes an attempt at seriousness. It’s a really boilerplate story that culminates in a message of “bullying = unhealthy” and “beware the risks of social media” that feels more healthy for a cringe-worthy PSA from a faculty meeting. To not point out it’s fairly straightforward to see the sport’s “twist” coming a mile away, particularly you probably have any familiarity with the narrative particulars of previous video games within the franchise. There’s a genuinely intriguing relationship between Anita and Maya at The Quick Message’s begin that will get misplaced within the sport’s obsession with simplistic themes. Mixed with the rubbish hearth that’s Silent Hill: Ascension, The Quick Message doesn’t instill hope within the route of the franchise, however you probably have two hours to spare, there are worse issues to do than take within the visible design at play. Simply don’t count on something deeper.