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Which Silent Hill game is the scariest? (in your opinion)

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It seems lately, and perhaps understandably, most conversations regarding the Silent Hill game series has been wholly negative and almost entirely on the subject of the much lauded P.T. (and it's frankly bizarre cancellation) and Konami's hideous abuses of the franchise (truly, is anything more terrifying in the game's universe than that screeching Pachinko animation of Pyramid Head screaming "HIT THE LEVER!!!"?) but hopefully this thread can draw back the discussion towards what made the series truly great.

 

Which of the Silent Hill games did you personally find the most scary? Fear is a highly subjective thing so feel free to choose and elaborate on which aspects of your chosen game/s did it for you. Fear can run the gamut from sheer momentary terror, blind animal panic, numinous dread and even an intangible sense of the uncanny. I'd argue that at it's best the Silent Hill games masterfully wove these diverse threads of fear together into a unique whole that left its players both morbidly curious and paralyzed with uncertainty. Feel free to choose any of games from any system, from the PS1's first titular debut right through to the aforementioned P.T./Silent Hills which, although I sadly never got to play, looked absolutely heart-stopping. I'll provide a link to the franchises Wikipedia page for your convenience.

 

Sh3_boxart_zpsujmoqvw1.jpgSilent2002_zpsdoeg3vdc.jpg

 

For me it's an almost irreconcilable decision between Silent Hill 3 and Silent Hill 4: The Room. The former is certainly the better game for various gaming mechanics reasons as well as lacking a few of the latter games slightly annoying difficulty/survival elements, but I absolutely adore the conceptualization of the respective protagonists worlds in both titles. SH3's Heather had a fresh appeal and gave the series a locus distinct from the previous games, being a relatively positive younger female character which probably engendered a different set of sympathies in gamers than the two previous utterly miserable adult men. Given that it's a well-established trope that in the Silent Hill-verse the purgatorial/hellish otherworlds are shaped by the complex phobias and guilt haunted neuroses of the protagonists, SH3 was an interesting and diverse landscape for a character who seemed to (on the surface at least) a much more innocent and blameless figure. Despite this the monsters were by far some of the best ever devised.

 

sh3-numbbody.png

 

Take the above example, the so-called "Numb Bodies", one of the weakest enemies in SH3 but a fine example of what the Silent Hill team was capable of. The real strength of SH3's monster designs was the unnerving tension between abstraction and bodiliness. I rate them alongside Francis Bacon's most brutally uncanny paintings (see Painting (1946)), Damien Hirst's earlier (and in my opinion less commercially crass) vitrines, or John Isaac's jarringly formalist sculptures of hyper-realistic fleshiness. SH3's monsters possess that same uneasy balance between something that is profoundly "wrong" and anatomically impossible, with the wholly objective hair-streaked sweaty "thingliness" of an actual object hovering between inanimate and organic qualities. It's an effect that both enthralls and appalls me in equal measure, and one finds it in the best darkly inclined art of any given medium.

Not that there weren't plenty of other equally compelling and accomplished elements of SH3's scariness, the perverse familiarity of the rust and blood caked interiors taken to an extreme conclusion, a uncompromisingly frightening soundtrack/ambience that often harassed and unnerved the player even in relatively safe areas of the game, the many genuinely disturbing non-lethal encounters and expertly utilized "jump scares", to cite a few. But I guess I'm just overwhelmingly biased towards great monster design due to being an irrepressible teratophile. Even some of more recognizably humanoid and animal-like enemies of SH3 are admirably conceived, in terms of their surface appearance, the godless sounds they emit and their repulsively tic-ridden movements.

 

Thanks for reading my ramblings and thanks in advance for replying if you choose to do so. I'll post my thoughts on Silent Hill 4: The Room at a later date if this thread garners any interest. I've leave you with one more image of an SH3 enemy that I think exemplifies the truly stellar aesthetics of the game. The Glutton, which you encounter (if I remember correctly) in the office level that blocks your path to Heather's home. It's effectively a non-lethal obstacle in a logic puzzle and not per se an actual combative enemy, but it's the most advanced example of the anomalous "what on God's green earth am I looking at" motifs employed in Silent Hill's twisted oeuvre.

 

sh3-glutton.png

When close friends speak ill of close friends

they pass their abuse from ear to ear

in dying whispers -

even now, when prayers are no longer prayed.

What sounds like violent coughing

turns out to be laughter.

Shuntarō Tanikawa

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Silent Hill 1, despite being on the original PlayStation, it's still comes off as creepy.

Alas, poor Nupraptor - I knew him well. Well, not really. -Kain (Blood Omen)

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Silent Hill 1, despite being on the original PlayStation, it's still comes off as creepy.

In some ways the vagaries and retrospective "inferiority" of the PS1's graphics didn't dilute the abject disgusting horror of the enemies and environments. It's like waking up in the middle of the night, not knowing where the hell you are and suddenly being cornered by a Robert Fry painting that's mysteriously and horribly sprung to life.

 

robert_fry_drawing_room_7.jpg

When close friends speak ill of close friends

they pass their abuse from ear to ear

in dying whispers -

even now, when prayers are no longer prayed.

What sounds like violent coughing

turns out to be laughter.

Shuntarō Tanikawa

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I'm going to go with Silent Hill 2.

 

It's not outright scary, but it makes up for it in subtleties, like hearing some whispering in the background of an empty room or hearing faint running footsteps heading towards you in the distance when you're outdoors.

 

You're usually not completely frightened in SH2, but you're constantly on edge for the entirety of it.

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