In my restless dreams, I see that town… Silent Hill. You, too? It’s one of the best video game series of all time, filled with beloved characters, stories, and monsters that have won it a well-deserved dedicated fanbase. By going beyond merely trying to scare you or gross you out, Silent Hill explores human emotion and experience in a unique way.
As much as I like the series, however, it can’t be denied that some of the entries are better than others. So, in this article, I’ll be ranking the Silent Hill games from my least favorite to what I’d consider the best. You’re welcome to disagree – these are just my opinions based on my observations. Spoilers will be unmarked, so don’t read this if you’re not OK with that.
If you’re in for some musical accompaniment while you read, I put together a playlist of my favorite songs from the soundtrack of each game.
Now, let’s begin with number eight:
8. Silent Hill: Origins
Prequels are hard to get right. And while it’s debatable whether or not we really needed another game about Alessa’s story, this isn’t the one I would have wanted. One aspect I strongly dislike about “Origins” is the new mechanic that allows Travis (and thereby, the player) to switch between the Fog World and the Otherworld by transporting through mirrors. One of the things that has made “Silent Hill” games frightening is the unpredictable shifts between the two worlds. Giving the player a sense of control and safety is not what you want in a horror game, and that’s exactly what the mechanic did.
This game is also notorious for its odd treatment of established characters. The portrayal of Lisa Garland here is especially disappointing, given that she’s one of the most beloved and recognizable characters in the series. I don’t know why the writers thought it would be a good idea to turn a warm, sympathetic character into a coquettish ditz. And while I don’t mind the cosmetic changes to Alessa, her apathetic personality here strikes me as inconsistent with her sensitive, self-sacrificing tendencies that are seen elsewhere.
As for Travis, he’s a likeable guy, just not that interesting in comparison to other “Silent Hill” protagonists. The story and monsters based on his parents were intriguing, but again, not really at the level of other lead characters. None of the other monsters struck me as especially innovative or memorable, especially the silly-looking final boss.
7. Silent Hill: Homecoming
The idea of the Fog World and Otherworld “spreading” into places outside of Silent Hill has never appealed to me, so I couldn’t help but dislike the game from the start because of that.
Part of what I dislike about “Homecoming” is that its story is far too reminiscent of prior games. Parents sacrificing their own children? Yep, seen it. Our protagonist teaming up with a police offer? It’s been done – and will be again. Listening to someone in a confessional and choosing whether or not to forgive them? Hello, again. And the worst of all: the protagonist facing the awful repressed memory that he was responsible for the death of a loved one, which was what led to all this horror in the first place. Because of the familiar plot points, the story is never really as compelling as it should be.
Still, there are some strengths to “Homecoming.” Alex’s parents are interesting characters (whom we don’t see much of) and there’s some monster design that I do like, especially the Scarlet and Asphyxia bosses and the bizarre Siam. However, I hate the “Order Soldier” enemy – having the player fight other humans is completely inconsistent with the essence of Silent Hill. And don’t get me started on how silly it is for Pyramid Head to be in this game. He specifically represents James’s guilt, so there is no reason for him to be hanging out with Alex… aside from the developers deciding to stick him in just because he’s popular, even when it makes no narrative sense.