Silent Hill Origins - updated impressions

When we last saw Silent Hill Origins, it was something of an abomination, and we don't mean that in a good way. Sure, it was kind of cool to see the series go all Resident Evil 4, with an over-the-shoulder view and a bigger focus on action, but it wasn't scary, and it sure as hell wasn't Silent Hill. A lot of fans didn't react well to the gameplay shift, and for months, rumors circulated that the game had been canceled.

It turns out the rumors were half-right. Silent Hill Origins, or at least the version we saw, was scrapped - but only so that it could be remade as a proper Silent Hill game. The things that offended fans' sensibilities - the over-the-shoulder viewpoint, the dearth of puzzles, the failure to set a creepy mood and the crappy, crappy monsters - have all been jettisoned in favor of a darker, grainier experience that's much more in line with the rest of the series.

Some things haven't changed, however; the game still stars trucker Travis O'Grady, who stumbles into Silent Hill just as the horror that consumes the town begins to take hold. The foggy streets of Silent Hill, patterned closely after the movie version, are still a freely explorable hub that leads to horror-filled buildings. And there's still a deeper fighting system than in previous games. But in terms of eerie tone, grainy camera filters and slow, cautious, exploration-centric gameplay, Origins is a Silent Hill all the way.