Few horror series still maintain the same sense of fear as Silent Hill. Even genre juggernaut Resident Evil has pursued a more action-oriented route in lieu of pure scares. But as we all know, creating a distinct atmosphere of creepiness requires careful attention to ambient details. Noise and visual cues are best absorbed on large screens with a powerful sound system, something that is hard to deliver in a portable experience. To its credit, with the right adapters, the PSP can be hooked up to your stereo, but not everybody has access to this option.
Silent Hill: Origins is a bold step in the direction of legitimizing the genre on handhelds. The power of the PSP can at least deliver graphics on par with the PS2 incarnations of the series and even a good set of headphones can alleviate the lack of a power-house surround sound setup. The only remaining problem is left to the developers and their ability to create a sense of tension.
To facilitate this, Konami has opted for a control scheme of the RE4 variety. That is to say that the camera is positioned over the shoulder of the character and action segments will progress faster to reflect the new controls. No doubt Silent Hill: Origins will preserve its usual grotesqueries, but it'll make for less painful combat sequences. Also new to the game is a Barricade System which allows the player to prevent enemies from accessing certain rooms. This seems to indicate that enemies will be able to follow you, which wasn't the case in previous games (with some notable exceptions).
Besides those changes, this is the good old Silent Hill we all know. The story is new – it takes place in the town's heyday and centers around a truck driver with a troubled childhood – and some of the monsters are, too, but you can expect the same sense of psychological dread accentuated by the razor-like guitar licks and industrial noise of Akira Yamaoka's soundtrack.
Silent Hill: Origins is currently slated for a Winter release.