This is Objection Network’s countdown of the top 25 video game series of all-time. We’re counting down to the best franchise ever on March 31. For more info on the voting process, click here.
24) Silent Hill (1 vote, 60 points)
Chris: A lot of newfangled high-falutin’ gamers will look at Silent Hill’s HD collection from a few years ago and say “oh, that buggy mess that ruined the graphics and the voices? Pfft.” And to an extent, they’d be right. Konami even had to offer refunds to some customers because their delivery was so terrible, and it’s still bizarre that a collection decided that skipping the first game was a smart choice.
But they would also be overlooking a series that put in yeoman’s work in the 2000s, specifically the games developed by Team Silent.
Unlike Resident Evil, Silent Hill decided “hey, you know what would be cool? If regular dudes and dudettes got put into creepy paranormal situations!” It took a more psychological approach to being scary in a way that was reminiscent of Eternal Darkness. The series deserves a lot of credit for working with the hardware limitations of the time to create a legitimately spooky experience. Now, if we could just pretend that the movies didn’t exist…
Michelle: I’ve always been kind of a wuss when it comes to the horror genre in general; only within the last couple years have I ventured into the horror video game waters because as it turns out, I really love the stories being told, but I emotionally and psychologically cannot play the games. They terrify me and make me an anxious mess. But I can watch someone else play them. Thank God for YouTube. I was lucky enough to avoid the Konami HD re-release dumpster fire for the most part and watch a let’s play of the first three Silent Hill games as they were originally intended. I unfortunately had to suffer through missing textures and buggy gameplay for Silent Hill 4: The Room.
The first three games are… so good? As in, no game has the right to be that good. AND YET somehow all three of them are. Psychological horror at its absolute best and spookiest. The ambient music slices right through your psyche. The stories are all super interesting and complex, but not convoluted. The sound effects are on point, and so many of the monsters will make you feel like your eyes went to hell (thanks for this turn of phrase, Griffin McElroy). Pyramid Head, enough said. I also love the multiple endings you can have based on decisions made throughout the game.
I have an unpopular opinion: SH4 is my favorite of the series. Henry is kind of the worst protagonist (in an unaffected, Keanu Reeves clueless kind of way), some of the monsters are lackluster and annoying, some of the puzzles are maddening and straight-up terrible, but the game itself is pretty damn solid. SH4 also has one of the most interesting villains of any game ever. I love serial killers, what can I say? Walter is so well-written, and it’s worth it just for him. The added mechanic of Henry’s haunted apartment also fascinated me, and all the subtleties within that you might miss if you aren’t paying attention. And the story has great payoff. It strays from the original SH formula, but it works.
The only reason SH didn’t make it higher on my list is because as a series, it’s very hit or miss. The first four games are really quite excellent, but its newer installments have been certifiably terrible. Silent Hill: Downpour and Homecoming lacked anything remotely psychological. Or even vaguely interesting. They completely missed the spirit of the original games and replaced it with sexy bubblehead nurses that don’t relate to the traumas of the main characters, and outrageous environments that put the Saw films to shame. Seriously, what were they thinking?