Resident Evil Vs. Silent Hill

Recently, someone was kind enough to cross Silent Hill 2 off that donations page of mine. Yon donation confirmation e-mail was mangled so if that person wants my to pay that back with a link to something well, throw me an e-mail. In the meantime, it's time for something I've been meaning to jot down for a long time now. A comparison of the series to the Resident Evil games.

First of all, I can sum the whole thing up with a single analogy. Resident Evil is Night of the Living Dead. Silent Hill is House. If you're familiar with both of those, that's pretty much all you need to know. If you like both those movies, odds are you'll like all these games. Now then, on to the head to head... which will of course spoil a truckload of stuff for people who haven't played these games, but odds are you've heard it all before.

Resident Evil Silent Hill Winner
Setting Installations owned by an evil biological weapons manufacturer, which are all styled to look like big ornate fancy mansions whether they're actual mansions, police stations, or trains. A realistically designed sleepy little resort town devoid of people and shrouded in a heavy fog. Silent Hill. Aside from the general state of cruddiness, monsters, and giant holes in the ground, that's quite the realistic setting.
Why There's Monsters A few virii are leaked out, turning everyone exposed into a zombie or other monster. Monsters are created from the psyches of troubled souls thanks to evil cultists performing magic rituals. Resident Evil. Getting into mysticism seriously hurts horror. When you have ghosts and magical artifacts lying around, everything becomes deliberate, and even if you do die, you're just headed for ghost country. With a zombie plague going on though, it's just pure death, destruction, chaos, and hoping you don't get infected.
Claustrophobia Tight narrow hallways with creepy camera angles. Impaired vision due to thick fog, or having to navigate by just a flashlight. Resident Evil. While it is pretty creepy not knowing where that monster you keep hearing is, the roads and hallways tend to be so wide that not only are monsters excessively easy to dodge, but half the time you won't even see each other. Plus while I appreciate the ambience, fumbling about in the dark gets annoying.
Combat Stand still, pull out one of several guns, and blast away. You can do that, or you can beat things to death with a rusty metal pipe. Resident Evil. The real horror factor in the Resident Evil games comes from ammo starvation. You can only afford to kill so many monsters, so you have to constantly decide whether it's a bigger risk to use up some of your dwindling pool of ammo, or dodge through and possibly lose some of your even more precious horde of healing items. Viable melee weapons make it excessively easy to conserve both.
Monster Freakiness You've got zombies, you've got bugs, you've got weird slimey skinless freaks... You've got zombies, you've got bugs, you've got weird slimey skinless freaks... I suppose we have a tie here. Resident Evil does consistantly better in the looks department, but the way monsters twitch in Silent Hill 2 makes for a nice effect.
Monster Silliness The deadliest critter in Resident Evil 0: Monkies. They aren't even zombie looking, just little screeching jumping monkies. The smurf! The original Silent Hill contains, for no explicable reason, pteradactyls. Then the second one has monsters scooting along the floor at high velocities. Resident Evil. Nothing can ruin your atmosphere like a monkey.
Consistancy of Atmosphere Towards the end of the games, you go from exploring some big art filled mansion to an underground high tech lab. You periodically switch between the normal version of town, and a rusted metal nightmare version. Silent Hill. Rusty metal beats clean any day. I've always found the labs in the RE series to be relaxing to be quite honest.
Appropriateness of Atmosphere You're trying to escape from a big place full of zombies, constantly finding notes from people as they were turning into zombies, and seeing how a monster will kill a person before you find the monster. The first game is semi-incoherent, but there's an evil cult to stop and reality to question. SH2 is just focused on being bleak and depressing, and talks your ear off about suicide. Resident Evil. When you call yourself a horror game, it's good to focus on being scary.
Weird Jokes Resident Evil 2: Tofu. The UFO and Dog endings. Silent Hill. As amusing as it is to try and help a giant silly brick of soy run a gauntlet, questioning the aliens takes the cake.
Game Design The farther you get, the quicker the pace gets, and the more deadly the monsters get. The deadliest monster in Silent Hill is also the one found in the greatest numbers, AND found exclusively in the first real area of the game, before you find any decent weapons. Resident Evil. Difficulty curves are supposed to be uphill.

So overall, I'd say the Resident Evil series is better overall, and anyone who doesn't agree it's the scarier of the two needs to do some studying... or see a shrink about their irrational fear of nurses. They're both fairly enjoyable though. While I'm on the subject though, some random thoughts on the specific games:

So overall, I'd say the Resident Evil series is better overall, and anyone who doesn't agree it's the scarier of the two needs to do some studying... or see a shrink about their irrational fear of nurses. They're both fairly enjoyable though. While I'm on the subject though, some random thoughts on the specific games:

Resident Evil 1: I'd probably have a lot more respect for this if I didn't play 2 first. What stands out most to me is the uber-cheesy live action intro.

Resident Evil 1 (GC Remake): No game in history has ever received a face lift of such quality. The visual realism alone is darn impressive, the extensive gameplay changes just plain make it worth owning both.

Resident Evil 2: This is the first game in the series I've played, and I consider it the best. It's the hardest one, for starters, has the biggest big monster, the rottingest zombies, and the biggest guns. Plus lickers. Now all it needs is the sort of remake the first one got.

Resident Evil 3: What the heck happened here? Massive overcompensation for difficulty is my best guess. Resident Evil 3 provides you with a metric ton more ammo than you'd ever need, an oversized inventory, and even the abilty to just shove zombies aside. Plus as cool as it was in concept, Nemesis wasn't as relentless as I'd like.

Resident Evil: Code Veronica: Moveable cameras with backgrounds that still look pre-rendered. Yum. Too bad about the anime supervillain factor.

Resident Evil 0: Has a worse anime supervillain factor than CV did. Many radical changes in gameplay that worked out pretty darn well. Too bad it forgot to be scary.

Silent Hill: I have a serious problem with the main character's lack of emotion in this game. First of all, you're looking for your daughter in a hellish monster filled town, and not once express concern for her. In fact, the only thing that seems to bother you is finding a wheel chair in a school. The monsters, chains hanging from the ceiling, and flayed corpses on the wall, those don't make you bat an eye of course.

Silent Hill: I have a serious problem with the main character's lack of emotion in this game. First of all, you're looking for your daughter in a hellish monster filled town, and not once express concern for her. In fact, the only thing that seems to bother you is finding a wheel chair in a school. The monsters, chains hanging from the ceiling, and flayed corpses on the wall, those don't make you bat an eye of course.

Silent Hill 2: The first monster you find in the game looks like what you'd get if you burned a guy in a straight-jacket, fusing his arms to his torso. Normally they just stagger about, but lying down they can take off in a random direction at something like 60 mph. That's just funny.


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