PS2 Classics: I’m Still Hoping For A Silent Hill 4 The Room Remake

The last Silent Hill remakes didn’t go down too well, but what about a Silent Hill 4 The Room remake? Jason Rocha talks about the faint hope of seeing this long forgotten title coming back, as part of PauseResumeQ4’s PS2 Classics series.

Silent Hill 4 The Room is a macabre experience that draws players in with thematically engaging gameplay and an unorthodox yet moving story.

The game strives for resonance between player and protagonist at the sacrifice of an enjoyable and comforting design. Like all Silent Hill games, patience and tedium are required to fully derive the most appreciation for the entry’s artistic merit. Arguably, the most underrated Silent Hill; The Room admittedly lacked some of the refinement of its predecessors which is why the world would benefit greatly from a modern remake.

Stylistically, Team Silent wanted gamers to echo soft-spoken protagonist Henry Townshend. To achieve this, traversal through the malevolent and benign otherworld can be annoying with limited inventory, cumbersome combat, backtracking, and escort gameplay. This is done for the sake of greater immersion and player to character empathy. Doom permeates the atmosphere of the game’s narrative and this game wants players to actively participate in that dread. Soon, you’ll find yourself spying on your neighbour Eileen Galvin more often than you should, as you and Henry slowly become one.

For those that take the time to appreciate it, the story is arguably on par with the games’ famous predecessor Silent Hill 2. It begins with Henry waking from a nightmare after already five days of being trapped in his apartment room 302. His only escape is a portal to a nightmarish world where a serial killer is on the loose, thus Henry begins exploring the depths of madness. It’s a sad and oppressive story that stays with you long after it’s over. Perhaps the most compelling case for a remake is the fact that out of the four possible endings the UFO/joke ending was cut.

If you’re a fan of the series and have seen the other joke endings you know the world is just a little darker without Silent Hill 4’s contribution.

Silent Hill 4 also contains my personal favourite OST of the Silent Hill series, with tracks like Traversing the Portals of Reality, Tender Sugar, Remodeling, and the list goes on. Veteran Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka hit it out of the park with this soundtrack that creates a haunting atmosphere with a melancholia that permeates all, really exemplifying the game’s themes. Unfortunately, playing through the game you will only encounter approximately half the tracks. This beautifully inspired music is too good to waste, which is why a remake would allow the developers to properly implement and execute the sound design to its fullest.

“The Room admittedly lacked some of the refinement of its predecessors which is why the world would benefit greatly from a modern remake”

There are a few areas where The Room admittedly falls short. Combat is genuinely easy, making it a missed opportunity for thrills and suspense. The enemies, for the most part, are lacking the psychoanalytical touch of past Silent Hill games causing the series’ famous symbolism and allegorical nature to be lacking at times. The levels could use more work in terms of detail and environmental design in order to prevent wearisome repetition and blandness. Although I love him, many would insist on deeper characterization for Henry Townshend, at present much is left up to implication and speculation. A remake could address all these issues changing the weaknesses into strengths. The game did not get a fair development cycle and should be allowed the chance to reach masterpiece status.

The black sheep of the Silent Hill franchise explores isolation, fixation, and voyeurism in a way no other game has and probably ever will. The phantasmagorical room of Henry Townshend, abuse of Eileen Galvin, and tragic nature of Walter Sullivan make Silent Hill 4 The Room a classic that deserves to be brought back. It’s Konami, I know it’ll never happen, but at least let me dream.

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