By Nicholas Fricke . August 3, 2006 . 12:50pm
On July 8, the Silent Hill feature film made its debut in Japan, over two months after its North American release. To commemorate and capitalize off the event, Konami released a limited edition Silent Hill Complete Set for the PlayStation 2, containing all of the games in the series, to satiate hardcore fans and to introduce new people to the disturbing world of Silent Hill. Because having dozens of women dressed in “dark nurse” uniforms shuffle-stepping down the streets of Tokyo simply wasn’t enough promotion for the movie.
Available exclusively through the Japanese Konamistyle Web site, the set contains all the budget re-releases of the Silent Hill games, including the “Restless Dreams” version of Silent Hill 2, which allows you to play as Maria in a (very) short side story. Housed inside of a special box, the set also comes with a series of postcards featuring artwork from each of the games and the movie, and the first several preorders received a small key chain light that projects the Silent Hill movie poster with the image of Alessa/Sharon.
And that’s pretty much it. No special DVD which reflects on the history of the series or shows those crazy cinematics we all love, no compilation music CD for those amazing soundtracks, and no bloodied Robbie the Rabbit plush or miniature Pyramid Head figure to be found. Instead, we get a thin, paper box with silver ink used for the lettering and faux autograph by Akira Yamaoka, producer and composer for the series, and some poor bonuses like the postcards and a cheaply produced, plastic light-projector. The games don’t even fit the box correctly, as Styrofoam inserts are needed to secure the smaller PlayStation jewel case along with the standard PS2 game cases.
Then there’s the issue with the individual game packaging. With these games being budget re-releases, they do lack some the collector’s value compared to their original releases. The packaging is clearly marked with various budget logos and changes to the box art, and while Silent Hill 3 is the only game with an obnoxious red bar and pricing displayed across its front packaging, at least it has a reversible cover which contains the original box art design. Sadly, none of the other games have a reversible cover. Other noticeable changes to the budget versions are reduced manuals, which are only a few pages long and focus only on the basics, and the lack of any neat extras, like the soundtrack and drama mini-CDs which were included with the first prints of Silent Hill 3 and 4.
Priced at 7,400 yen before shipping and handling, the set is actually a somewhat cheap, easy way to buy the entire series in one package and get some kind of limited edition extras for doing so. But my feeling is that this set would have been more attractive and worth owning if they had included a sturdier box, reprints of the original cover art, and higher quality extras than the cheap, flimsy ones that were offered. Even if that would have raised the price of the set considerably, I think it would have been worth the added cost and better fitting for a series as revered as Silent Hill.
Import Friendly?: Literacy Level: 0-3
All of the PS2 games in this collection have an English language option for the subtitles and game menus, and since the dialogue in all of the Silent Hill games have always been in English, these games are extremely import friendly. However, the original Silent Hill has no English subtitle option, so solving the puzzles in that game will be difficult without Japanese comprehension or the help of a FAQ.
+ Pros: An easy way to collect the entire Silent Hill series in one purchase, most of the games are English-ready, and for collectors it’s a limited edition set that is actually limited.
- Cons: The extras feel cheap, the budget re-release packaging diminishes its aesthetic and collectors value, not really worth owning if you have all or most the games already, and it’s fairly difficult to find a copy.
Overall: If I had already owned all of the Silent Hill games, I wouldn’t have bothered buying this set as the included extras did not impress me. However, since I neglected to buy Silent Hill 4 and the Restless Dreams version of Silent Hill 2, buying the Complete Set was an easy way to finish my collection while owning a collectible item. As a result I now own all of the Silent Hill games, including some duplicate copies, and I have some cheap bonuses to go along with them.
But is the Silent Hill Complete Set right for you? If you don’t own any of the games yet, then this set might interest you, even though the lack of English subtitles in the original Silent Hill is a negative. If you own most of Silent Hill series, then you would probably be better off just buying the missing games in your collection individually. And if you are a collector who just loves Silent Hill and you “must” own this set, well, you should have bought it already! It’s already sold out and discontinued from the Konamistyle Web site, Play-Asia sold out the day it was available, and the last time the set was on eBay the bidding ended at $110, well above the Japanese price and higher than the $95 Play-Asia and some eBay sellers were asking for when it was first released. Ultimately, if you really want the set and you see it offered on eBay in the future, don’t hesitate to bid because who knows when it will turn up again.
< Package Shots >