Attention this will be a very lengthy comparison blog. I am no longer a fan of Silent Hill series. I always will be a fan of Resident Evil series. Despite that I will be putting my bias side away to make this as fair as humanly or should I say inhumanly as possible.
Hi everyone I'm Jack Red, Capcom was inspired by a licensed game in Japan for Famicom called Sweet Home. At one point the original Resident Evil was going to be a remake of Sweet Home that quickly changed. Funny Devil May Cry and Onimusha also started in development as Resident Evil games.
A few years later, Konami answers right back with Silent Hill on PlayStation 1. Often considered to be one of the scariest games ever made. It quickly became clear despite the competition of other horror games. Everyone always compared Silent Hill games to Resident Evil series. The famous apples to oranges quote heavily implies to this.
One of the biggest video game rivalries for top of their respective genres. I figured to stick to what I know for this comparison blog. Which means I am only focusing on the first three main games. I felt when people really get into this debate those are the most likely titles everyone thinks of. I no longer have respect for what Silent Hill has become.
Round 1: Characters
Keep in mind, most playable characters in Resident Evil series are essentially soldiers. They are willing to do whatever it takes to survive not being afraid for the most part. In Silent Hill's case with the possible exception of Alex Shepherd. Most Silent Hill playable characters are regular people forced in a twisted dimension.
You can feel the emotions right off the bat with Silent Hill characters. Not so much with Resident Evil games at that point in time. Obviously REVII is a huge exception to what I just said. Although I really want to stick to the games most horror fans gravitates towards. You can understand what both series went with very different characters.
Resident Evil made people like Claire into one person you don't want to mess with. The interactions of characters is very strong in Silent Hill games. It felt much more realistic & believable. But I do think Resident Evil characters for the most part were written better. For example, Albert was basically a triple agent betraying two sides during the course of RE1.
Honestly I do respect a lot of Silent Hill characters in the first three games. Not many in later entries sadly folks. I should mention Resident Evil 2 had four different scenarios. You do need to pay attention to the changes. The problem is the way characters acts in Silent Hill to how well written Resident Evil characters were at the time makes this difficult.
I do think with a slight edge Eddie takes the victory. You come across him a few times during Silent Hill 2. You won't expect from playing the first time he becomes a boss. It is not common in both series to have the characters attacking regular people. Yes I know Eddie went insane by that point in the story but it still needs to be noted.
Winner: Silent Hill
Round 2: Monsters
This is one particular areas both franchises are incredibly different from each other. In Resident Evil series, most monsters were created through exposure to several viruses & Las Plagas parasite. Most of these viruses will kill you sometime after getting infected unless you find a working anti-virus. Of course, insects & animals had a different reaction to them.
In Silent Hill's case is where things starts getting confusing. Most creatures seen in Silent Hill series is representing your inner demons as well as whoever is in the town or a neighboring place. There does exist a few exceptions to this. Pyramid Heads in Silent Hill 2 represents the crimes James committed.
Three different people's ideal of Silent Hill's god are final bosses. Personally my favorite was Incubus for many reasons. For me the scariest designs of monsters in majority of their franchises are in these games. I always been a huge Pyramid Head fan but really Konami since SH2 you misused him too much.
Cerbersus dogs appears in the first three Resident Evil games. There are several different dog enemies in the first three Silent Hill games. Although I am a fan of Cerberus, I do consider those dogs much scarier. Resident Evil does deal to some degree with mutant plants. Which none of the Silent Hill games ever done that.
Even with RE3 creating a lot of new monsters. They do a great job keeping you on your toes. The first two RE2 games played on a lot of different things that scared people. But all three Silent Hill games does that in their own right as well. In appearance wise Silent Hill easily takes the cake. But I felt more Resident Evil monsters are technically scarier in comparison.
Three different kind of hunters that makes surviving difficult. Bosses wise there are some interesting concepts on both sides. One of my favorites was Cybil that becomes possessed. You can cure her of her possession or kill her. Depending on some major stuff you done in Silent Hill 1 and 2 determines your final boss.
Although in Silent Hill 2's case, it's virtually the same boss monster with different cut scenes. Nemesis & Tyrant-002 will stalk you through out the game. They are among the strongest monsters that will stay on top of you. Nemesis has plenty of ways to screw you over. When it really comes down to the scariest regular SH monsters to something like Nemesis & William.
It is difficult to compete against something that kept mutating several times. William originally had eight forms planned but three got cut before the final game. Which means you have to fight five forms in all four scenarios as both Claire & Leon. By now you are starting to see where I'm connecting the points.
Nemesis has a rocket launcher, tight grip, tentacles and packs a lot of force in his punches. There isn't a lot of SH monsters that stalks you except Pyramid Head at a few points in the game. Trust me this was a very difficult decision to make. But with everything considered I have to give this to Resident Evil series.
Winner: Resident Evil
Round 3: Environments
Keep in mind, Raccoon City plays a major role in RE2 & RE3. Arklay Forest was just outside that city where the events of RE1 took place. In Silent Hill's case, yes at some point in all three SH games you get to explore different sections of Silent Hill. I don't need to mention Resident Evil isn't supernatural thus it happens in the real world.
A good amount of what happens in SH Trilogy occurs in an alternate dimension. A hellish world that's down right creepy especially the hospital. The same hospital is present in all three games. In Resident Evil 1, you start out in a mansion working your way to the underground lab. Resident Evil 2 is similar where you start from almost getting killed by a zombie truck driver.
You work your way into the police station eventually getting to Umbrella's lab hidden in the sewers. In RE3's case you get to explore a lot more of Raccoon City similar to exploring Silent Hill town. But trust me it just isn't that simple. There is a lot of variety among locations you go to. In RE3, you can go to a zoo late in the game.
Each Silent Hill game allows you to explore different sections to fully get an idea. How exactly mess up Silent Hill town actually is. I don't think many people will disagree with my decision. Silent Hill simply has a hellish place covered in a fog that in SH3's case gets more twisted as it goes on. If you don't like hospitals, Silent Hill will make it much worse for you.
Winner: Silent Hill
Round 4: Puzzles
At some point, the puzzles became less present in their games. Both of them had some very clever puzzles. Yes some of them can be frustrating to solve to a degree. A good number of them uses real logic. In some cases, some puzzles can bring out a very different of reaction. Such as if you want to get extra stuff after listening to a twisted game show.
To some degree difficulty does play a role in them. In later versions of RE1 on PlayStation 1 had a new variation that switches item placements around making the game more difficult. Considering a lot of items are used in puzzles it does build up on the difficulty. All three Silent Hill games has a option to change the riddle difficulty.
This allows you to make the puzzles easier or more difficult to solve. Silent Hill 2 has a fourth hardest riddle level that can frustrating to even tell if you are playing it or not. You could take some of their best puzzles for a truly unique horror game experience. I felt Resident Evil has more straight ward puzzles while some of Silent Hill's can be very confusing at times.
Although you can change the option affecting the puzzle's difficulty overall. I always felt Resident Evil had some clever puzzles. Sure there is plenty of easy puzzles in both game series. But one particular puzzle in RE3 will test you in many ways. I am talking about the infamous water puzzle late in the game.
Some puzzles in RE1 could involve the flame thrower since it acts as a key of sorts. It will limit some ways you can go but the reward is great. There is some puzzles in a few boss fights like Nemesis at the end. You have to get the rail gun ready & fired it. Some of your decisions in a way could act as puzzles since it does affect which ending you will get.
There is no question, SH Trilogy has more endings. But trying to pull off some endings like UFO Endings, Maria Ending or Possessed Ending can be frustrating. To me, Resident Evil has some interesting puzzles that I still remember to this day. Of course I respect many puzzles found in these Silent Hill games.
Winner: Resident Evil
Round 5: Weapons
Obviously Resident Evil has a long history of firearms. Before Silent Hill 4, all melee weapons did not break. Although this category is about the weapons I'm excluding hidden weapons since that's covered in another category. I also did that to make this fair for both franchises. All weapons you can find make senses & fits in with the theme.
Resident Evil has a stronger usage of firearms while Silent Hill prefers a more melee approach. Of course I could focus mainly of similar guns found in both game series. But this felt too straight forward since they really aren't different in comparison. Yet in RE2 & RE3 has upgrades for some guns to increase more fire power.
At one point in Silent Hill 2, you can find The Great Knife that one of the Pyramid Heads was wielding. It is much easier for the most part to use a pipe or wooden plank than stabbing in Resident Evil series. In fact you can go for most of those games with little to no use of guns if you plan it just right.
Resident Evil does have more powerful shotguns even if we excluded the upgrade parts. You could speed run both series but it is taking a huge risk for many reasons. Even handguns fire faster in Resident Evil series. Here's the thing in a weird way you can take the best of their arsenal to make a very different game altogether.
On one end Resident Evil does guns better while Silent Hill does melee weapons better. I heavily felt this was simply too close to call which was actually better out of the two. Therefore I honestly didn't plan on a draw in advance but life is full of surprises. I honestly couldn't decide which was better in the long run.
Round 6: Unlockables
Both trilogies of games has some nice unlockables. Before we get to that let's discuss those that aren't quite there. Silent Hill 3 has ten extreme difficulties which I felt was simply not necessary. Some costumes Heather/Cheryl/Alessa wears aren't that great. Porting will result in some copy righted clothes to be removed.
In Silent Hill 1, you can have a chainsaw & rock drill but you only has gasoline for one of them. Which means you can only have one of them working for remainder of your run. Both Hyper Blaster in SH1 & Hyper Spray in SH2 requires you to constantly go for the max stars runs. By doing that you can have them at full power.
Sadly you are very likely to not leading to those weapons becoming weaker. What makes this worse is even having the best doesn't stop the process like in many games for similar stuff. Although I do like by having Konami's light gun on PS1 does act as an alternate method of unlocking Hyper Blaster. Heather Beam is easily one of the weirdest, worst SH weapons.
You must not have a weapon equipped. You can constantly fire those beams. Oh wait it gets even stranger by having Princess Heart costume Sailor Moon coughs. You can transform it into Sexy Beam no I'm not kidding. This is the strongest variation of it you can get in the game. I felt both of them are simply out of place.
In all three Resident Evil games you can unlock an unlimited rocket launcher. In RE2 & RE3, you also can unlock an unlimited Submachine gun & Gatling gun. Costumes wise I always felt RE had better ones sorry SH fans. In RE2, you can unlock The 4th Survivor, Extreme Battle & The Tofu Survivor.
I do enjoy playing The 4th Survivor & Extreme Battle a lot. The Mercenaries in RE3 can be frustrating but well worth all your attempts. The Tofu Survivor on the other hand is brutal, unforgiving just like playing The Mercenaries Operation: Mad Jackal with Nicholai. Up to eight times beating RE3 you unlock epilogues of several characters.
Also keep in mind I am sticking to the original versions of these respective games. Otherwise Resident Evil easily wins over several ports bringing something different to the table. Stuff like endings is being covered in another category. Yes Silent Hill does have more variety of hidden weapons.
Everything else Resident Evil does have really made up for it. After beating the game in RE1 and RE3, you unlock costumes. Yes some costumes have conditions as well but it is doable. In RE2's case you must play on Normal or Hard then make your way to the police station without picking stuff up. You go down the stairs nearby after entering the gate.
If you see a zombie Brad walking around. This is technically the strongest zombie in the entire game. You have to kill him to get a special key for one of your first save rooms. In Claire's case, you get one alternate costume & a revolver. Some areas in RE2 by firing at the right angle you will see bullet holes on your screen.
Resident Evil always did great with being very replayable since the beginning. Yes not every RE games has this going for them but some of them are better than most newer SH games. There I finally said it publicly I'm tired of hiding it. To be fair I do enjoy using Beam Saber, Chainsaw and the hidden pipes.
Winner: Resident Evil
Round 7: Fear Factor
I hate to say it even many veteran RE fans agrees. Silent Hill games were much scarier out of the two. Yes RE1 played on several things that can scare people. But Silent Hill went deeper than that by doing things I'm surprised made it in the final games. For example Abstract Daddy represents Angelina's past with her father & brother.
In Eddie's case, he was made front of. Which ultimately led to his insanity in the town of Silent Hill. You know how scary it is to be trapped inside a hospital in Silent Hill games? If you don't OMG you have been missing out on some great stuff. I already stated the town being more unique since parts of the games represents our world while others represents a dark twisted world.
Even some parts of Silent Hill that weren't suppose to be scary does terrifying people. The monsters overall look much more horrifying in comparison. Every creature in SH games does represent a dark, twisted history including people not from the town. In a weird way it truly does bring out the worse in people.
This was an easy win for Silent Hill. There really wasn't a lot Resident Evil could do. Even in RE2, you can tell it started to go towards more action. Which eventually became official with RE4. With the help of Revelations series led to the franchise coming fully back to survival horror in REVII. For the most part Silent Hill franchise never left the genre.
Winner: Silent Hill
Round 8: Story
Don't get me wrong all six horror games does have great stories. As stated before Silent Hill does have more endings. I would say ending wise it easily goes to Silent Hill. The problem is the best parts of it's story are optional. You can look at people's personal papers or some painting with descriptions. I felt those hit home more than the cut scenes.
I am not saying I don't like the cut scenes in SH Trilogy because I do like. I simply felt Resident Evil does a better job using cut scenes to tell it's story. Sure as stated before you can feel the reaction of other characters as if you were in their world. But I strongly felt the twists were more surprising in RE trilogy.
For a example, there are several notable changes in all four scenarios of RE2. Obviously it is playing more on item & enemy placements than actual story. But this does in fact affect the story just enough to make it's point. In Scenario B, a particular room will have whatever left by the other character. Which CODE: Veronica X & Revelations 2 does that.
Resident Evil does make getting endings much easier in comparison. To be honest as a kid, even the cut scene right before the main screen scared me. It felt like a true horror movie experience since it used real people. Obviously that's for a handful of cut scenes in RE1 but it really did work well for it's time.
Also stated before yes there is a deeper meaning behind every SH monsters. I highly recommend some SH websites since they really do go into details about each one. I also can say that for Resident Evil monsters too. I am aware many SH fans would agree with me on this. I really felt each game should be their own experience having little to no real tie between them.
Before SH3 fans gets upset I actually do prefer it over RE3 but I have my reasons why. Hell I do enjoy listening to it's amazing soundtrack. To me, they would have more mystery to them allowing them to take risks that wouldn't affect continuity much. All main RE games are connected in several ways that some newer RE titles do pay tribute to these classics.
Honestly as much I do enjoy the story of SH Trilogy. There just something about Resident Evil story in general. Yes you can see a lot of influence in horror movies are heavily present in both franchises. But what ultimately gave the win to Resident Evil is how they chose to giving you more additional story through files.
They simply made it easier to read with some having a couple pages. Some cut scenes in SH2 involving both Pyramid Heads are terrifying sure. After you get a file at any given time during a run you can read them again. Especially those giving hints to answering some puzzles. Yes I know there are similar stuff in SH series serving the same purpose.
I just felt Resident Evil did it a little better. This was by any means a very close category for many reasons stated here. Resident Evil did better in bringing horror in cut scenes while Silent Hill did better in overall monster designs & creepier environments. I mean cut scenes like Scenario A Ben or Chief Irons having a G-Embryo ripping through their chest was brutal.
I also like William's transformation cut scenes especially earlier forms. Hell as a kid when I first saw Marvin turned into a zombie I was surprised. I could mention the famous cut scene where Barry saved Jill from a death trap lol. A line so bad it actually made it to the Guisness Book of Records. To clarify I'm not basing my decision on overall voice acting or in any category for that mater.
Winner: Resident Evil
4-3-1 I would say technically the first three Resident Evil games are the better overall experience. I still highly recommend the first three Silent Hill games. Beyond that it becomes a matter of what you would rather deal with in the long run. Although I did hear great things about Shattered Memories. This is a very close comparison between two long running survival horror franchises.
Sure Resident Evil did change genres to action but eventually returned to survival horror. Honestly I was very impressed with Resident Evil VII as a whole. They clearly took notes from Silent Hill series. Resident Evil does do many things better while Silent Hill does other things better. Both of them are still often talked about even not in versus debates to this day.
Winner: Resident Evil