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Hands-on Silent Hill Origins


Silent Hill Origins is supernaturally beautiful. Simply analyze the picture above and note its fantastic lighting and shadows. Note the reflection in the mirror, and then be awed that this happening in real-time ... on the PSP. Silent Hill Origins is shaping up to be the best looking PSP title to date, with its great character designs, atmospheric special effects, and (as noted) the impeccable lighting.

Although the Silent Hill franchise has never really strayed far from the consoles, this handheld version is shaping up to be just as good as any other iteration of the series. Travis must navigate some beautifully creepy worlds, and fight some truly terrifying creatures. He can pick up weapons and items in the environment and use them against the ghastly denizens of Silent Hill. Controls in the game were intuitive and solid. Travis moved easily through the environment, although we found ourselves having a bit of trouble exploring the level as thoroughly as possible, trying to find all the clues.

Battle is a relatively simple affair, as Travis can easily target enemies with R. His attacks, and most importantly, finishing moves, vary greatly, depending on the weapon he's holding. Players must be resilient, though: if enemies get too close, Travis will have to do a series of button presses to escape close quarters combat. Also, Travis will want to keep a close eye on his weapons, as they degrade (quite quickly) over time. All weapons will break eventually, and Travis will want to make sure th

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Travis will want to be observant and take everything in the environment. In order to streamline the experience, there is no inventory system to manage: Travis can hold as many items and weapons as he wants. Good thing, as they'll quickly disappear when fighting the numerous creatures found in the game.

We're impressed that a handheld horror game can still be .... horrifying. The direction of the game is quite commendable. Origins still features the series' trademark grainy look, and has the same sublime soundtrack. We're intrigued by the premise of the story, one that continues to get more mysterious as we play more. Travis can cross worlds by looking into a mirror; something that surprised us the first time it happened, and we can't wait to find out how Konami will take advantage of this dual-world setup.

Silent Hill Origins is shaping up to be yet another reason to own a PSP. If the final game manages to maintain all the atmosphere of the build we played at E3, it will be the definitive handheld horror experience, worthy of the Silent Hill name.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.