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This review contains spoilers

to find love you must turn into a gigantic mecha/bio/evangelion-thing and fight against a planet.

Para la mayoría, resumir Sin & Punishment suele reducirse a algo tan sencillo como señalar sus locuras y esperar que ello le haga justicia; una acción realmente floja que no empieza siquiera a esbozar las proezas de lo que posiblemente sea el mejor videojuego de la consola: un inquebrantable estilo, una dirección cinematográfica que apoya al ritmo, una banda sonora frenética que se acopla perfectamente a su acción, un fuerte pulido en sus controles para nunca romper el flujo de juego, una cohesión brillante entre sus sistemas para atrapar al jugador en su bucle, un diseño de enemigos que prevé de un reto justo y variado, y una serie de niveles que otorgan un sentimiento de escala constante a sus eventos.
Sin embargo, lo que se suele ignorar es la narrativa que su caótico relato ofrece al paquete, el cual nos esconde un mensaje sobre los desafíos de la intimidad humana, y nos advierte del cómo construir relaciones sin afecto y vulnerabilidad nos lleva a la manipulación, y a algo no muy diferente de bestias sin libre albedrío. Se acopla admirablemente a las pretensiones jugables: es un trabajo que, al igual que sus protagonistas, entiende perfectamente su propia naturaleza, dejando a relucir la total sinceridad de sus creadores.
~ ANÁLISIS COMPLETO: https://youtu.be/GxGmLpnvPxM ~

One day the sickos over at Treasure decided that it was a good idea to "make the best game ever on the most miserable console to develop for ever" and that's how Sin and Punishment was made. They also made up some crazy ass plot that you'll never understand. If you don't like it then I'm afraid you got filtered.

This will never be replaced by Reignited edition in my heart.

Sometimes the true beauty of something is revealed in its simplicity. The first Spyro didn't have minigames and it didn't have a revolving cast of shitty friends. You freed your dragon elders and you collected gems. That was pretty much it. And it worked. The visuals are gorgeous and vibrant (for a PS1 game), Stewart Copeland's score is transfixing, and the whole thing has a magical and relaxed air to it. It's safe and comfy and cosy and everything has a warm hue to it.
A game that does so much with relatively little.

timeless platformer, astounding

harry mason despues de caminar por un hospital lleno de monstruos y sangre y encontrarse al primer ser humano en eones:🧍🏻has visto ami.hija

The act of witnessing itself can be a form of relief. To have someone who understands they are seeing horrible actions be performed, or suffering be endured, can itself grant one relief while putting a weight on another's soul.
The heart of Silent Hill is Harry Mason bearing witness to the tragedies that have taken place inside the town. This is made clear when he first awakens from what could either have been a dream, or a nightmare made real, when Cybil leaves him and he can collect his items. Among them stands out a stark red and white notepad, paired with the memorable "Study, dammit!" poster inspired by Stephen King. This is a message to the player, both for them and about Harry's journey, that this is not a journey that will end happily or even be resolved. You are looking in at the depths of humanity's darkness, and that is all you are expected to do.
The game never once encourages the player to seek out hidden items or paths throughout the course of the main narrative. A player can go from the opening car crash, to the ending where they are greeted with the same car crash, having never interacted with the game on a deeper level. At that point, the game for the player is the same as it is for Harry Mason, just a passing dream he viewed almost completely as a bystander, where the player didn't engage with most anything. The ending checks are minimal, but the Bad Ending assumes the worst of the player, assumes them to not have witnessed Lisa's video tape, to not have connected the monsters and their meanings, to have run past the objects of importance.
Both variants of the Bad ending conclude with the player killing Alessa, and while one leaves off on the note of a hazy dream during death, the other concludes with Cybil helping Harry, but the two are unable to move. They are left standing as the nightmare falls apart. Harry was compassionate and helped those the player may feel is deserving, but he never truly confronted the nature of the nightmare, or the actors behind it. The lack of confrontation of Alessa's trauma is again, as if the player never engaged with any of what was happening in the town. He witnessed and engaged as he felt necessary, but he could not empathize, could not fully understand the extent of the pain and suffering burned into the town.
The reason for all of this is because reaching that understanding itself is difficult. Silent Hill's ending system is an ingenious choice, where most first time players will not get anything above a bad end, it's just a fact that most players won't be very inquisitive when Silent Hill asks that of them. The pacing of the game is what is at the heart of this idea, as you inch closer to the climax the sooner you want to be out of there. To be so close to escape is tantalizing, so the player will push forward ignorant of what they might miss, what traumas may be lurking underneath.
The actions required to receive a "Truer" Ending are ones that begin to lower the veil on the nature of the town. You learn of connections between the hospital director with local establishments, you learn of a drug running ring that the inquisitive player can link back to the failed police investigation, you uncover a mysterious red liquid. But, this side quest is only truly started when Harry Mason leaves his journey to help someone else.
While Kaufmann isn't deserving of being saved (and the game agrees on that point), the idea is that Harry saved him. Harry is a witness, and he is empathetic, he is kind. His kindness allows him to see the darkness, to understand the mess going on in this town and truly understand. The end of this side quest being the discovery of the mysterious red liquid is what solidifies this idea. It is a rather blatant reference to Twin Peaks, the most famous inspiration for Silent Hill, and Twin Peaks itself is a series very much about empathy and how we lose that through just consuming these complex and emotional ideas as plain 'entertainment'. To play Silent Hill without consideration for the world outside Harry and his quest is to play Silent Hill by consuming rather than understanding.
The understanding reached is that the supposed antagonist, Alessa, was a good natured girl that suffered. She suffered for seven years of her life, bullied and indoctrinated into a religious cult that used her in ways that are implicated throughout the text. Then, she suffered for another seven years, either in a hospital bed or bound to a wheelchair, with burns that wouldn't heal, wounds that would constantly seep puss and blood, and constantly kept alive while being on the brink of death. But, this suffering doesn't birth a hateful monster, it instead birthed a kind girl. For those first seven years she suffered for her mother, and for the next she suffered for the sake of another 'self', so that Cheryl Mason could have a loving family.
The gut wrenching truth of Silent Hill is in the climax all endings show. Dahlia as the manipulator, and Alessa wheelchair bound, covered in bandages, and not unlike the crucified and mummified corpses strewn throughout the town.
Alessa's pain had been unintentionally shared with the town and Harry, projecting the images deep inside of her. A faux-God emaciated and hung in bathroom stalls or back alleys, children who either attack or just try to quietly run away, nurses and doctors who are controlled by parasites, even things Alessa took interest in become monsters in this waking nightmare. The imagery surrounding all this is equally blunt once this main text is known, the rust being symbolic of Alessa's own bodily state, while the metallic floors bearing a resemblance to a cage or a fence representing her inability to move freely, both before her almost-death and well after it. It's constant suffering that Harry walks through, and it's on the player to truly know this and take this in.
Another constant that comes up is in the usage of boilers throughout the game. The first boiler you interact with opens the door to the nightmare, and in that world it becomes the area of the first boss fight. At the heart of this boiler is a body not unlike ones mentioned before, only this time it is restrained and propped up, as it is burned. Later, the boiler room is blocked off in the hospital, but the ambient sounds let you know that it's there. Many of the ambient noises, like the lowering of the bridge bring to mind an idea of boilers, a truly underlying torment for Alessa. While the nurses and children are most prevalent as enemies, the boiler is ever present due to it representing the ultimate betrayal Alessa faced from her mother.
Alessa's trauma is not the only one faced in the game though. We see how Lisa Garland coped with having to shoulder Alessa's pain, her job having been to change the bandages after they had been ruined with puss and blood, those visceral images taking the toll on her own personal life. Another person can't just enter the life of someone who has been abused, who has suffered abuse, and just change their bandages. It's why Lisa is a tragic character, she was a woman who fell into her own tragedy caring for someone else's. It's this really harsh message, that Lisa ended up manipulated and abused herself while caring for someone in that situation, but Silent Hill is about confronting these disturbing "psychological" ideas.
"Nowhere" is the culmination of all of this pain. Only in Nowhere can you watch Lisa's video tape unaltered, only in Nowhere do you learn that Lisa was suffering. Both she and Alessa were hiding it, and when Harry learns the truth she asks Harry for help that he can't give. Harry pushing Lisa away is probably one of the most heartwrenching moments in the franchise, it is a pure act of one person being unable to comfort another, being completely unable to help. Many players I've spoken to have wished to help Lisa, but they can't. Her words also show that her relationship with Alessa was similar to Harry's with Lisa in that moment, that she is "just like the others", unable to truly help. But, at the very least Harry's actions in the Good Endings allowed him to witness the root of Lisa's suffering, with the uncovering of the drug ring in connection to Kaufmann. Lisa's appearance in the Good Endings, dragging Kaufmann with her, is the only solace Harry's actions could offer her.
That leaves the player with just Alessa and Dahlia. Dahlia the abuser, Alessa the abused. A common theme in Japanese media I've noticed is a distinct idea of lackluster or abusive parents, with father or mother figures typically found outside blood relation, and this idea is a throughline across the Silent Hill series. Harry truly tried for Cheryl, and went through all of this for her, and in the final moments when he fully goes through Alessa's psyche in Nowhere, he comes across a room he has seen before. Nowhere is a place of absolute understanding, the subtext becomes the text here, and as you get closer to the heart of everything, the game pushes you away. The final grunt enemies introduced are invisible versions of the "bully" children, a manifestation of the fact that this childhood abuse doesn't go away. They're first found in a hallway linking to several rooms, a classroom covered in graffiti that consists of targeted attacks on a single person, a bedroom where all the symbolism of the more vaguely connected monsters comes to light, and the room we have seen before. A hospital bed, a chair, and a heart monitor adorn the room, but the thing that stands out is a single picture of a young girl. The first time we see it, the teal narration text tells us the girl's name. This time, the white text of Harry's own internal thoughts tell us the name, an almost forlorn expression given purely through the reuse of text, just in a different colour.
Harry reaches an understanding and empathy through bearing witness. Through seeing both the abuse and the sources of it, seeing how others have suffered similarly through trying to help, and seeing those who saw fit to ignore or to antagonize, he understands. His final actions in the game, despite knowing that his daughter is gone for good, are to protect this little girl he has never spoken to, from a woman who only wishes to harm her (in a more abstract sense in the Good Endings). The last conversation Dahlia has with Alessa, presumably before enacting the ritual that would leave her body destroyed, is a disturbing. It's dressed up under the ideas of rituals and magic, but in Japan these ideas were scams. The occult boom came with a price, the price of real occultism. Kaufmann is important because he represents the true nature of these groups, a self-interested and abusive figure at the head of it all, glad to use fanatics like Dahlia while they're convenient. That real occultism also came with sexual abuse, and Dahlia's conversation is focused on the "mother's womb." It's a tragic conversation as Alessa's words are pure, of not wanting to go through with any of these 'rituals', of just wanting to be with her mother, but that was never what Dahlia wanted and Dahlia never cared. The final boss arena is an extension of this, it is the same rusted cage look, but underneath are boilers, and the true final boss is a perverted God, its flesh visible and raw, who attacks with fire. There is no subtext here, it has become the pure text, this is the manifestation of an Alessa that spreads her pain, an ugly creature that lashes out at everything, and once Harry defeats it he can't get Cheryl back. He can't save Alessa. His journey was a failure. Everyone died (except maybe Cybli in the very best of endings) and his daughter was lost forever. But, in both Good Endings, Alessa hands him a baby, a second element of herself that is birthed at the end. While the perverted God was someone who could only spread pain, the baby is pure, a new beginning for Alessa. Harry has witnessed, empathized, and understood her pain, had cared for her not knowing of it seven years, and she trusts him. The concluding scenes, depending on the ending you get, either show Harry looking distressed after having escaped, or Harry and Cybil re-enacting the opening shots of the game, of Harry and his wife with a baby Cheryl. These should be taken as a pair rather than separate, Harry's reactions give the game an additional layer, that this isn't a solution, but it is a beginning to one. Abuse and recovering from it is a complex topic for those going through it and those trying to help, often those trying to help aren't mentally prepared and only cause more harm to either the victim of abuse or themselves. Harry can help with Alessa's abuse, but these endings present him with a vague answer to how well he can handle it. He is both distressed, and prepared.
Silent Hill is a very weird game to discuss in its themes. It is densely layered, but it leaves most of its ideas in imagery, Takayoshi Sato's cutscenes lending a lot of pathos to the work, in addition to Keiichiro Toyama's overall direction. Many unique experiences and elements, and ideas of the times in Japan and in the fiction of America bleed into this game, acting as a melting pot to portray complex themes that many don't want to acknowledge, not out of fear but out of discomfort. This is at the heart of psychological horror, to confront the uncomfortable realities. The tragedy of Alessa took place directly in the heart of suburban America, because these tragedies will always exist. I could go for much longer, but rambling is not my strong suit and I've already repeated myself far too often here.
The last idea I want to leave on is that of "Christina's World". A beautiful painting which inspired the Dahlia's house and aspects of Alessa's character in Silent Hill. Christina stares off at her home, in an almost distressing way, and she is completely alone, unable to move. Her world is that home, and the core emotion this painting evokes for me is complete loneliness and inability to move in that loneliness.

Loved the story, love the music, love the a e s t h e t i c s, great ideas at play...
But I got lost billions of times and when I found ANOTHER room full of puzzles that consist in pushing and shoving giant cubes, I abandoned it.
Really annoying, can't believe it's so loved.

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