Oh dear. Oh very dear.
Konami have redone the voices for Silent Hill 2 for the soon to be released HD Collection and the results are… less than pleasing. In fact, scratch that; they make me want to rip my eardrums out. Sure, the original voices weren’t all that great themselves, but Konami have made a huge error in not treating the former voice actors with any credibility and going down this route. For those who like the new voices, here’s a comparison to the older ones:
The new voices may be better acted from a technical standpoint, but Silent Hill 2 isn’t a technical game. It’s a game built on the rawness of the characters, something which professional voice actors really can’t provide. That’s why the fact they brought Guy Cihi (the voice of James Sunderland) in to do the role worked, as he wasn’t even meant to audition originally and was only there as a chaperon.
Furthermore, some of the voices sound just plain wrong. Eddie is a fat man, yes, but if you couldn’t see the screen you’d imagine he couldn’t move from his chair, not just overweight. And James isn’t meant to sound like an all American action hero; as anyone who’s played the game knows, he’s actually a psychological weak man and while Cihi’s lines were wobbly, they worked for the character. And Mary? Well, the less said about that, the better. The only voice I actually liked from that segment was Maria’s; it retained the same tone the character was meant to have. But all Konami have done there is replace like for like. I thought they wanted better voice acting?
Maybe I’m looking through rose-tinted glasses? Maybe I’m still annoyed about the fact that The Room isn’t in the collection? I don’t know, but nor should it matter. I got Silent Hill 2 on release 10 years ago and I played it to death. It’s one of my favourite games of all time and I fear I may not get the same enjoyment out of the new collection.
My only hope is that the voices do sound like they’ve come from a straight recording, with no tweaks and no effects added. Let’s hope something can be done about it…