Silent Hill Ascension – A Monetized Video Game Group Project

Silent Hill Ascension fails to meet already lowered expectations.

silent hill ascension

SUMMARY

  • Silent Hill Ascension is releasing daily live-streamed segments for computer and mobile devices.
  • The narrative is controlled by influence points that users can purchase or uncover for free.
  • The game does not revive the high quality content Silent Hill fans have been requesting.
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The Silent Hill franchise is one of the most identifiable survival horror staples to ever grace the gaming industry. Silent Hill (1999) and its sequel Silent Hill 2 (2001) are revered as two of the greatest publications to have come from Konami. However, despite the fact that the series is still kicking after more than 20 years, not every installment has seen the same success.

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The truth about the Silent Hill games is that lately they have been a disappointment to gamers and new comers. Silent Hill: Downpour (2012) was the last main title in the series, and was met with a very average response among critics and audiences. Unfortunately, the disappointment will continue with the most recent installment, Silent Hill Ascension (2023).

Silent Hill Ascension is an interactive media experience, which puts the outcome of the story, and the canon, in the hands of users. It was developed by Behavior Interactive, Bad Robot Games, DJ2 Entertainment, and Genvid Entertainment.

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There is a new section of the story added daily and live-streamed at 9PM ET/6PM PT for players to interact and vote on the outcome of certain scenes. If you miss a stream, the sequences can be replayed, but you will not have the opportunity to vote.

The title is available through the game’s website, or the app can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices. As of the writing of this article, gamers have seen two days worth of content, for a total of six parts. While the story will continue across several weeks, so far my experience with the game has been less than impressive.

Silent Hill Ascension Wants Too Much From Players

Silent Hill Ascension features a season pass that will cost players $20.
Silent Hill Ascension features a season pass that will cost players $20.

If you were hoping to test out Silent Hill Ascension by jumping right into the action, then you should expect to be delayed. The new title falls into the same pattern that has been plaguing video games in recent years by requiring users to create an account.

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Although this may be a minor inconvenience to most determined players, it has become a rather frustrating request from developers. While some games might allow you to bypass account creation, Silent Hill Ascension will absolutely not let you play unless you give into the demand.

Once you enter the app or site, a brief video is shown, which explains the concept of the interactive game. It describes how you are given the opportunity to make decisions in the daily live streams, which will impact the entire narrative.

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However, the only way to make decisions is by acquiring influence points that you spend in an effort to get the outcome you desire. The person who has the most impact on the decision (spends the most points) is awarded a “gold moment,” which is unique to them.

It appears Silent Hill Ascension is essentially saying if players want a certain result, they need to be willing to pay for it. There are ways players can gain free influence points through puzzles and endurance scenes, but nothing will ever be as easy as reaching for the nearest credit card.

And if points are not enough to keep players interested, Silent Hill Ascension also has a $20 season pass, called the Founder’s Pack, for more decision power and cosmetics.

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This system of gameplay is the exact red flag many gamers are worried about within the industry. Micro-transactions absolutely dominate this title and it certainly does not take an expert to recognize their impact.

You want to buy Homelander and Starlight skins in Call of Duty? Sure. You want a special Halloween fatality in Mortal Kombat 1? Absolutely. But when you let the plot of a game become controlled by how much money you spend compared to others, where do you draw the line? Is it really worth the money and a “gold moment” to get the game you want?

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Unfortunately, Silent Hill Ascension opens the door wide open to this kind of behavior, and uses its online communication system to encourage it. Even if you do not consider this game a cash grab group project that furthers corporate greed, the actual scenes themselves are less than impressive.

The Scenes of Silent Hill Ascension Are Poorly Crafted

The Silent Hill Ascension dialogue and animations fail to inspire horror.
The Silent Hill Ascension dialogue and animations fail to inspire horror.

Let’s say for a moment that the micro-transactions in Silent Hill Ascension are annoying, but you’re a die hard Silent Hill gamer. Maybe you’re not a fan of what they have done with the monetizations, but canon events are about to change and you need to know what’s happening in the story. Even in this scenario, chances are you’re going to be left disappointed.

The actual scenes that play out in Silent Hill Ascension are not well done, especially given the fact you’re essentially watching cutscenes with limited interaction. The characters move at an incredibly slow pace, the lip movements are off, and the overall design does not exude horror.

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I will not go as far as to say the voice acting is poor, because I genuinely believe it has more to do with the animations than the actors. The relatively clunky dialogue does not help and ultimately takes away from any serious tone the writers might have been trying to achieve.

The first segments also set the stage for what will likely be quite a bit of filler between weeks. This is probably because the Silent Hill Ascension team wanted to carry this story for as long as possible to keep users around.

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In the world of Silent Hill, this level of storytelling does not come close to full potential. And when you think that gamers could have been treated to a Hideo Kojima take on the franchise, the low quality of this title is even more obvious.

Concluding Thoughts on Silent Hill Ascension

There is really not much more to say about Silent Hill Ascension because in a lot of ways what you see is what you get. If you are looking for a game that begs you to spend money, only for a narrative that feels awkwardly put together, then this may be the game for you.

Silent Hill Ascension is a title that will not be improving the public perception of mobile gaming, which already gets a pretty bad rap.

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Hopefully, Konami will push to develop higher quality content in the future, however, the current trend does not support such an outcome. As horror fans, we can only dream that devoted developers will eventually come along and reinvigorate what now feels like a dying franchise.

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Written by Ezekiel Hall

Articles Published: 171

Ezekiel is an avid gamer, film enthusiast, and has a love for technology. When he has free time you are most likely to find him playing something on PlayStation or binge watching a new show. He is a fan of all things DC, Marvel, and Star Wars.