With the recent leaks hinting at new Silent Hill games and the constant hype for a new entry, it is impossible to not look back and remember the best (and also scariest) Silent Hill games ever made. These games were considered to mark the golden era of Survival Horror, making you feel the constant sensation of being in danger and the intrigue of what on earth you were going to witness in the next room you dared to enter. All of this occurs without the immediate necessity of using jumpscares or screamers. But have you ever thought about which could be the #1 scariest Silent Hill game in the whole series?
Why is Silent Hill 4 the Scariest Game of the Series?
Team Silent developed the most beloved games in the saga. Subsequent games after these were considered a failure by many players. Silent Hill 1, 2, and 3 will always be considered the perfect trilogy for every fan of the series. But what about Silent Hill 4? This game is considered by many the “black sheep” of Team Silent. There are no middle grounds regarding this entry, you either hate it or love it with all your heart. Some gameplay elements such as combat and inventory management were not appreciated by players, but there are still several reasons to love Silent Hill 4: The Room. That’s why today I’m bringing you 6 reasons why Silent Hill 4 is the scariest game of the entire series (even if you correctly believe Silent Hill 2 is the best game of the saga).
First of all, we have the game’s setting. Why is it so different from other Team Silent games? Well, we can start by mentioning it was the first Silent Hill game where you wouldn’t visit Silent Hill at all (which was controversial at the time). The plot is tightly related to the town in some ways but its events occur in the fictional city of Ashfield. The protagonist, Henry Townshend, wakes up one day to find out he has been locked inside his own apartment… From the inside… With the words “Don’t Go Out!! – Walter” written in blood… Which is enough to freak anyone out because of how bizarre and unique the concept is. Of course, the game’s objective is to be able to escape the apartment. But it is not going to be so simple.
I already mentioned Henry Townshend, our quiet and calm protagonist. He sticks out from the rest of the Silent Hill protagonists because of the same reasons: he is REALLY quiet and calm. Several clues around his personality and apartment point out that Henry may be an introverted person that tends to be alone. There are not many mentions of his family, friends, or romantic interests. He is a very mysterious guy. However, the way Henry reacts to some really disturbing events that happen inside his small apartment makes you wonder if the poor guy has already lost it. The OG fans of this entry will always remember the scene where Henry calmly asks “Are you ok?” to a woman that is bleeding out in front of him. No, Henry. I’m not so sure she is ok. Maybe at least look a little horrified by it?
This is probably the main reason that makes this Silent Hill game the scariest of the entire series. The monsters, the ghosts, and the whole “what the hell was that?” moments are always very unique. Being locked inside your own apartment is one thing, but constantly experiencing really disturbing stuff inside it is another story. A hole in the bathroom that keeps expanding, a meowing cat inside the fridge, a crying child in the closet, and a hellish version of yourself knocking on your door are some of the most shocking things that Henry witnesses throughout the game. While other Silent Hill games still have pretty unique and disturbing moments, Silent Hill 4 is definitely the one that holds the major amount of these.
It is undeniable that Akira Yamaoka’s composing was one of the strongest pillars to define Silent Hill. Games without his music feel empty… Like something is missing. It is also known that both Silent Hill 2 and 3 have the best soundtracks of the entire series… But there is something else about Silent Hill 4’s soundtrack. Disturbing noises, dark lyrics, and Yamaoka’s classic guitar gave Silent Hill 4 a different vibe. Other games had a few songs that made you feel safe, like you were finally at peace inside one specific place. In Silent Hill 4: The Room, there is no escape from the constant feeling of being in danger until the very ending sequence of the game. You either have this haunting, almost irritating music and sound effects… Or you have complete silence, which is not very comfortable at all either.
In case you need a little bit of proof for this point, here you have “Room of Angel”, Silent Hill 4’s main theme (composed by Akira Yamaoka and lyrics performed by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn):
While Pyramid Head remains the most beloved Silent Hill enemy of the entire franchise, Silent Hill 4 also has a very interesting but underrated antagonist: Walter Sullivan. This apparently normal guy is going to be the reason of your nightmares for a full month if you ever get to play this game. The complexity of the character remains in his motivations and backstory, which is very interesting for the later plot twists in the story. Not to mention his continuous stalking throughout the game. He can knock on your door, call the phone and show up inside other apartments, observing you from the distance. He also chases you with a gun or a chainsaw whenever he gets the chance, so yeah… this guy will never give up on you. Perfect boyfriend material.
And finally, we have the locations. As I already mentioned, this game transcurs into different scenarios rather than the well-known town of Silent Hill. It is mentioned several times and you even get to visit close areas to the town though. This wasn’t taken very well by some fans, but it gave an interesting twist to the series. Silent Hill 4 expanded the idea of Silent Hill being a space rather than a physical place. In other games, it was easy to determine where the characters were located, and where exactly the events were unfolding. But it is very complicated to determine the exact nature of Silent Hill 4’s locations. It is Silent Hill, but it’s not Silent Hill. It is Ashfield, but it’s not Ashfield. It’s apartment 302… But it’s not apartment 302. Look, you get the point, right?
Those are the main reasons why I believe Silent Hill 4 is the scariest game in the series. If you play this game by yourself you may find even more reasons to support this opinion. Silent Hill 2 will always be the best game of the saga by popular vote without a doubt, but now you have a few things to notice about Silent Hill 4: The Room if you haven’t had the chance (or interest) to play it.
Silent Hill 4: The Room is available for PC through GOG.com and it’s currently the only platform where you can get a digital copy of the game. The console versions are far better though (the PC version has some cut content, thank you Konami). But getting a physical copy of the PS2 or Xbox versions of the game is going to hurt your pockets pretty badly, as some copies are being sold in the range of $60 to $120 (if you’re lucky to find them before anyone else). If you’re one of the few people that still own original copies of any old Silent Hill games, please hold them tightly and sleep with them at night.