Silent Hill is one of the most popular horror game franchises of all time, and picking the best Silent Hill games is no mean feat!
Developed by “Team Silent”, a dedicated team within Konami, Silent Hill is a psychological survival horror series focusing on thick atmosphere with a unique visual style.
It has been praised as one of the best game series’ in the horror genre, and to this day is still quite popular among retro gamers.
It’s crazy to think that the franchise is 23 years old, and we can call it retro.
Silent Hill games have touched nearly every game console since 1999, and there have even been Silent Hill comic books, pachinko machines, and film adaptations.
So which Silent Hill games are the absolute best in the series? Let’s find out together!
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Silent Hill: Book of Memories was a 2012 dungeon crawler for the PlayStation Vita.
Yes, a Silent Hill dungeon crawler!
In “Book of Memories”, you play as a character who is given a book that tells the story of their entire life. And you can make changes to that book and experience the consequences of those changes.
The game was a very different way to experience Silent Hill lore, and that is why it is worthy on our list of the best Silent Hill games.
I always appreciate when game studios break the mold and try something really unique in a game franchise rather than giving players the same thing over and over.
Yes, we loved the franchise because of that original formula. But we have that already. Give us something new sometimes.
Silent Hill: Book Of Memories gave us something new, and I celebrate it.
Silent Hill: Downpour was the eighth and final installment in the main Silent Hill video game series, released in 2012.
Like all Silent Hill titles, it was thick with atmosphere, had a really intense story, and focused on exploration and survival in a twisted world.
“Downpour” is played in a behind-the-shoulder third-person perspective, and offers more open-world like elements than previous entries in the franchise.
It was also the only game that could be played in full 3d using the Playstation VR headset (like the 2012 film Silent Hill: Revelation 3D).
It is the epic conclusion to the story of the town called “Silent Hill”.
Game play was not necessarily loved, but the usual horrific elements and amazing storytelling were present here.
And it’s still one of the best Silent Hill games of all time.
Silent Hill: Homecoming was a 2008 survival horror game and the sixth installment in the Silent Hill series.
The game was inspired by both the earlier installments of the game franchise and also the 2006 film “Silent Hill” (which I loved).
“Homecoming” paid homage to many series mainstays while doing its own thing.
But fear not (or maybe do?)… Silent Hill: Homecoming still features all of the terror we would expect from one of the best Silent Hill games.
So much so, that “Homecoming” had some trouble passing ratings classification boards. Germany and Australia wouldn’t even let it be sold without some special modifications.
As we know, any controversy is good publicity. So the fans who could get their hands on “Homecoming” were happy to experience the horrific imagery contained within.
Silent Hill: Origins was a 2007 survival horror game for the PlayStation Portable, with a port for the PlayStation 2 also released.
It was the fifth installment in the Silent Hill series, and as the name suggests “Origins” is the prequel to the original 1999 title.
“Origins” is pretty much everything we expect from a Silent Hill game: third-person perspective exploration in a creepy setting (the town of Silent Hill), puzzle elements while avoiding nightmarish creatures, and haunting storytelling.
Silent Hill: Origins was universally praised for its acknowledgements to all of the original franchise elements while making modern improvements. Especially for being a portable version of the horror.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories was a 2009 survival horror game for the Nintendo Wii with ports on the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable.
“Shattered Memories” was a reimagining of the original Silent Hill game that presents a new story in a alternate universe Silent Hill town.
The game was developed by Climax Studios, who brought us Silent Hill: Origins.
They wanted to try to present Silent Hill in a new way, and move away from some of the familiar elements of the franchise.
Game play is presented in both first-person and third-person perspectives.
There is less focus on combat and monsters, and takes a more psychological approach with stealth elements.
Your main tools in the game are your flashlight and your cellphone, which gives many new game play options.
The title was generally appreciated, and IGN called it “a meticulously-constructed, expertly-paced experience quite unlike anything the series has seen before”.
We loved it, and it easily makes our list of the best Silent Hill games.
It was even on our list of the 50 Best Nintendo Wii Games for obvious reasons.
Silent Hill 4: The Room was a 2004 survival horror game developed by Team Silent.
Unlike the first three franchise installments, “The Room” does not take place in Silent Hill.
And as the name might suggest, the story begins as the player attempts to escape their apartment room.
Needless to say, a bunch of crazy stuff happens as you enter into tears in reality that put you in a nightmarish realm of monsters.
People loved “The Room” and appreciated that the franchise continued its formula, while expanding on the idea and making it creepier and more thoughtful at the same time.
The game title that started it all.
Silent Hill was the 1999 survival horror game developed by Team Silent and published by Konami.
The original Silent Hill game used a third-person perspective, often with unusual camera angles. Something the franchise became known for.
There was also no use of a traditional HUD, allowing the atmosphere of the game be the main focus.
The game was also one of the earliest psychological horror games, and helped define the genre and proved its validity in popular culture. It showed how video games could be art.
Obviously, the graphics haven’t aged well. But they are also prime example of what a horror game looked like back in 1999.
And it has recently been discussed how the strange graphic fidelity of the original Playstation console lead to what we know horror games to be from that era.
Something about the way those graphics looked made it even creepier.
The music and sound design was created by Akira Yamaoka, who would stay with the franchise for many of the best entries on this list.
The game sold over two million units since 1999, making it one of the most beloved horror games of all time.
It’s hard to ignore the original that established a gigantic franchise.
Silent Hill is why we love the franchise today, and we cannot make a list of best Silent Hill games without showing some recognition for the solid foundation created by Team Silent and Konami all the way back in 1999.
Needless to say, it made an appearance on our list of the 15 Best PS1 Horror Games Of All Time.
Silent Hill 2 was a 2001 survival horror game developed by Team Silent and published by Konami.
It was the second entry in the franchise and a direct sequel to the beloved original title. Though there are no shared story plots or characters, the story takes place in the iconic town of Silent Hill, where nightmares roam the streets.
Like the original game, Silent Hill 2 is prime example of why the franchise became the monster that it is today…
Perfect psychological horror with incredible storytelling, unique monster design, and the atmosphere so thick you could cut it with a knife.
Silent Hill 2 is universally loved and praised as a perfect example of video games as art.
Unique storytelling packed with social commentary and cultural references while challenging the players mental fortitude, resulting in what is considered one of the best video games of all time.
And obviously, we included it on our list of the 15 Best PS2 Horror Games Of All Time.
This was a very easy game to include on our list of the best Silent Hill games, we had no doubts it would make it very high on the list.
We just had trouble deciding the order of the top 3. Cause they are all master works.
2. P.T. / Silent Hills (2014)
I went into depth about P.T. in my article about 10 Rare PS4 Games. And I gave it the number one spot on that list.
And in that article, I also referred to it as “one of the most interesting moments in video game history”.
To give you the short breakdown: P.T. was a “playable trailer” released on the PS4, which eventually was discovered to be a secret teaser for a new “Silent Hills” game from Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro.
Due to conflicts between Kojima and Konami, that project was cancelled before it ever really got started.
But that did not stop P.T. from becoming one of the most exciting game play experiences of all time.
Like… not even close… Maybe a top 5 game play experience ever.
A full game release never saw the light (though there are rumors it may make a return soon), but that doesn’t stop P.T. from being a Silent Hill title that I will defend to the grave.
I cannot express enough how insanely good this playable trailer was. And I pray that the full game experience is pulled from the depths of hell and finally comes into our homes.
I refuse to make a list of best Silent Hill games without P.T. on it.
Silent Hill 3 was a direct sequel to the first Silent Hill game. And, of course, it was a psychological survival horror game developed by Team Silent and published by Konami.
In our humble opinion, Silent Hill 3 is everything Silent Hill. The perfect summation of what we love from the first two entries.
No longer limited to the graphics of the original Playstation… and no longer handicapped by less favorable mechanics… The true beauty of Silent Hill storytelling and horrific content was on full display.
Once again, cultural references and influences from film and literature helped craft this truly incredible experience.
And paired with the master work of soundtrack designer Akira Yamaoka.
Team Silent heard the praises and criticisms of the first two entries in the franchise and managed to deliver something that was the best of both.
It was also included in the Silent Hill HD Collection (2012) on PS3, which appeared on our list of the 10 Best PS3 Horror Games.
It would be very easy to argue why any one of the first four games could be considered the best…
But we give Silent Hill 3 the top spot on our list of the best Silent Hill games because it is just a perfect convergence of story, graphics and game play we love from Silent Hill.
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Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.