Akira Yamaoka
Silent Hill 4: The Room


5.0
classic

Review

by Simon STAFF
August 29th, 2016 | 67 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Magnum opus? It's damn close.

Before Konami became Public Enemy No. 1, and before Silent Hill's slow, slipping death into obscurity, there was a simpler time when, out of the Team Silent masterpieces, Silent Hill 4 was considered the "bad egg" of the series. At this point in the series life, Team Silent had almost completely disbanded; Silent Hill 4 was produced by long time composer Akira Yamaoka, and the game was also originally meant to be a stand alone game titled "Room 302". When it was released people criticised it for the fact it wasn't set in Silent Hill and its repetitive level design, that saw you going through previous levels more than once. However, I thought Silent Hill 4: The Room was fantastic; these days I see it as the second best game in the series. The reason" It's graphical design was uniquely bleak, and created such an unpleasant feeling that no other game previous touched on. It's far more traditional Japanese influences were a far cry to the previously Americanized elements of the series, but developed an alien atmosphere with unprecedented uncertainty. But, the biggest asset to the game was, of course, it's soundtrack.

At this point in Akira's career, Silent Hill's soundtracks began to take a much more rock n' roll approach to its tracks; electric guitars and drums were here to stay after Silent Hill 2 but, it was Silent Hill 3's introduction of vocals from Mary Elizabeth McGlynn and Joe Romersa that took the bar further. Silent Hill 4: The Room takes everything that little bit further and the added features previous are predominantly focused on here. "Tender Sugar"'s injection of melancholy and macabre from Mary's vocals is both emotionally electric, ominous and exciting; but couple that together with the slow, swaying drums of the track that build up to the slide of an impassioned guitar solo is one that makes for a brilliant opening track and a key indicator this is more than just an "Official Soundtrack".

Yes, this is easily the album that reads more like an Akira solo project and a compliment to the game, than a score specifically designed for the game if you look at the likes of "Tender Sugar", "Your Rain", "Room of Angel" and "Cradel Of Forest"; all the tracks are bleak, beautiful, and catchy as hell. These tracks are placed at intervals where someone with even the shortest of attention spans couldn't become bored of all the instrumental tracks inbetween; it puts the pacing of the score in a perfect position, where 21 tracks feels like 12. But the instrumental tracks on here are some of Akira's finest compositions to date, and rarely dull the experience. The aesthetic of the score is best described as blurry confusion: a feeling that sets you right into the mind of the games confused protagonist; not knowing what the hell is going on or why. And this is why it works so well with the game, that hazy feeling is prominent throughout all of the tracks and forms an extremely cohesive listening experience that correlates with the game, and clearly shows thought was put into making it work if you're listening to it on its own. It feels like an actual album, than just an extension of the game.

Silent Hill 4: The Room utilises an array of instruments throughout, such as string arrangements, piano, guitars, acoustic guitars, synth and other electronic ambient elements that bring all manner of dynamic undertones to the album. But it's also this open-minded thinking that brings the fruits of variety; it's consistently dark and disturbing, but pulls on different ways of bringing you this same emotion. I think it's hard to pick a flaw with this OST, because it does little wrong. It's up there with Silent Hill 2 as Akira's finest moment -- and I'd even say his best if you look at the album in its context. It's far more accessible than Silent Hill 2, and just as emotional, but they're completely different LPs to really compare. But, make no mistake, this is one of finest game OST I've ever heard; it works at optimum power at terrifying the player during gameplay, and it works at just the same efficiency when you pop this LP into a CD player, and that is a rare thing to come by.

ESSENTIAL.

Editions: MP3, C̶D̶

Packaging: Standard Jewel Case W/Slipcase

Special Edition: It comes with various bonus tracks depending on which version you buy.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2016


15201 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Can't believe this didn't have a review.



As always, constructive criticism welcome.

CalculatingInfinity
August 29th 2016


8818 Comments


This needed one, great job Gonzo. I wish I had the experience of Silent Hill.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2016


15201 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Cheers bud. Have you not played the games?

CalculatingInfinity
August 29th 2016


8818 Comments


Na only trailers when I was a kid and I loved the look of them, scary as fuck. Played different types of games during the years I played games and I stopped playing my PS2 when I had my Xbox (when I was 12).

MyNameIsPencil
August 29th 2016


5316 Comments


I always though Silent Hill 4 was one of the most underrated gems of its era t b h

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2016


15201 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Awh Calc, highly suggest playing 1-4, absolute classics. ha



And agreed, Pencil. I loved it when it first came out, despite all the criticism it had, I thought all the negatives worked for it. haha Going back to previous levels sounds lazy, but it was handled really well, imo.



Still, I bet all the naysayers of the day think it looks like a masterpiece next to what we're getting these days from the series.

Tunaboy45
August 29th 2016


16708 Comments


RIP Silent Hill 1999-2012

Great review Gonzo, this is the one I probably played the least out of the first 4 but still a great (and often misunderstood game). 2 is still my favorite obvz.

Archelirion
August 29th 2016


5647 Comments


Excellent review again man. Much like Calc I wish I had the experience of playing Silent Hill, but this sounds like something to check out in its own right. Gonna check this.

Tunaboy45
August 29th 2016


16708 Comments


@Archelirion you sill can experience it if you have your old ps2 lying around, you can get the games from anywhere between £8-£10 (convert to your required currency) on ebay which isn't too bad. I need to rebuy 2. Whatever you do don't buy the HD collection, I made that mistake and got 10 minutes into 2 before shutting it off and wanting to cry into my pillow. THOSE FOG EFFECTS.

DinosaurJones
August 29th 2016


10036 Comments


Still one of the better intros to a game ever. And the soundtrack is pretty awesome to boot.

CalculatingInfinity
August 29th 2016


8818 Comments


"Whatever you do don't buy the HD collection, I made that mistake and got 10 minutes into 2 before shutting it off and wanting to cry into my pillow. THOSE FOG EFFECTS."

My friend has PTSD from that HD collection, couldn't stop laughing at how awful it was.

Tunaboy45
August 29th 2016


16708 Comments


All Konami had to do was update the graphics slightly and they couldn't even do that right. Everything from the messed up sound effects to doors not opening which literally broke the game from me since I couldn't leave the first area to the weird and unnecessary sign changes to the infamous "tooth eye" in 3, the whole thing was a traumatising mess.

Archelirion
August 29th 2016


5647 Comments


Just googled the 'tooth eye', hahahahaha ohhhhhhhhhh god that's one helluva glitch.
Noted, I will stay away from the HD collection like my life depends on it.

DinosaurJones
August 29th 2016


10036 Comments


I didn't even pay full price for the HD collection, and I'm still upset I bought it. Waste of money.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2016


15201 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The reason the HD was such a botch job was because important encoding files were missing when they were doing the HD makeover. Thing that bugs me though is that, if they knew something that important was missing, why bother anyway? Another thing that pisses me off about they collection is that it doesn't even include 4!!

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2016


15201 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Cheers for the positive feedback as well guys.

Tunaboy45
August 29th 2016


16708 Comments


Konami literally deleted the original code, they place no value on archival or their own heritage. They could've easily included 4 and even the original if they really wanted. Have you seen the Twin Perfect review of the HD collection? It's magical, points out every single thing wrong with it.

CalculatingInfinity
August 29th 2016


8818 Comments


Konami: The gaming industry's biggest scumbags.

Tunaboy45
August 29th 2016


16708 Comments


And in case that wasn't enough, they denied Guy Cihi (voice of James Sunderland) of his royalties for the game and completely recast him for the 'remaster'.

CalculatingInfinity
August 29th 2016


8818 Comments


Again, scumbags. Thank Christ they didn't botch the Zone of the Enders HD Collection.



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