I love this game. It was the first Silent Hill game that came out since Silent Hill 4: The Room in 2004, and I ate it up. It was quite a pleasant surprise to have a new game in one of my all-time favorite series to play again. I found this game to be a worthy throwback to Silent Hill in terms of atmosphere and “feel”, although its proficiency as a prequel is questionable for reasons that are spoilers, and this game should be experienced as spoiler-free as possible. Of course, since it was a prequel to the first SH, and took place seven years before that game, you already know some of what happened in this game, “late to the tragedy” style. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the game focuses more on protagonist Travis than filling in the gaps of SH1. To this day, this may be my favorite of the post-Team Silent, Western-developed SH games; although Silent Hill Downpour has its moments and is a far more ambitious game, it lacks the SH flavor that SHO has. This will be a shorter VGJ because the game is rather short anyway, and I devoured it.
The cover is a spooky and mysterious piece shows Travis holding an ax with a few trees and an enigmatic building in the background. On the right, there is a girl, presumably Alessa Gillespie, standing away from Travis. This is one of my favorite pieces of SH cover art.
The manual, unlike most games, has a different image from the box itself. It shows the Gillespie house.
The introduction is on page five.
“THIS IS SILENT HILL
Travis Grady is alone in his solitary trucker lifestyle. He’s content to live his life one mile at a time, making as few connections as possible. It’s not that he doesn’t have a personal history, but he’d much rather leave the past in his rearview mirror.
His latest delivery takes him past a sleepy northeastern town called Silent Hill. Suddenly, something runs across the road, and Travis is forced to swerve out of the way. Leaving his cab to investigate, he spots a young girl, who quickly runs away. Worried she might be hurt, Travis follows.
He comes to a flaming house on the outskirts of Silent Hill. A girl screams from somewhere in the fire, and Travis rushes inside to help. He fights through the flames, the black smoke burning in his lungs. He finds the girl, but eventually gives in to the strain and blacks out…
…He wakes up in Silent Hill.”
Travis Grady: “Travis Grady is an ordinary trucker with a troubled past. His sleep is frequently interrupted by nightmares, though he can never remember exactly what they’re about – he only knows that they’re terrifying and eerily familiar.”
Alessa: “A mysterious girl who Travis saves from a fire. He’s later told that she died, but… why does she keep appearing?”
Dr. Kaufmann: “Dr. Kaufmann is a cold and scientific man who works at Alchemilla Hospital. He’s been seen around the local religious group, though it’s not known if he’s actually a member, or if he’s merely observing the cult’s behavior.”
Dahlia Gillespie: “Dahlia is a devout, almost fanatical follower of the local religion. She has raised her daughter Alessa to do whatever is necessary for the good of the cult – even if it means the ultimate sacrifice.”
Nurse Lisa Garland: “Travis meets Lisa at Alchemilla Hospital, where she seems kind-hearted, flirtatious, and innocent. How long she can stay this way in the darkness of Silent Hill remains to be seen…”