The world of Silent Hill is one as horrifying as it is personal. It is a setting with an invasive consciousness that preys on emotion-driven misfortune and requires a certain skill set to survive. The series is notorious for its brain-breaking puzzles and riddles that required many to open up their player guides and take an ibuprofen.
While gamers are actually the ones doing all the work, how do the games' protagonists square up on their own when it comes to intellectual capability? (For consistency purposes, only canon character plot lines will be included, so no Shattered Memories here).
Silent Hill: Homecoming's protagonist Alex Sheperd is the last heir of the Shepherd family, one of a handful of families with a dark secret. Due to an unfortunate upbringing and subsequent tragedy that forced him to leave his hometown, Alex isn't a very self-aware person. In fact, he has barely any sense of identity. Unlike James Sunderland, who goes through a similar circumstance based on his actions, Alex is much more self-centered and a deluded person who can't handle reality maturely.
The mysterious incarnation of Mary Sunderland hasn't even lived that long in the canon of Silent Hill 2 ; technically, she would only be days-old (at most) by the time she meets James. Maria struggles with her purpose, independence, and identity in dealing with her own existentialism. She seems to be a fast learner but is reckless and often confused, expressing discomfort through mood swings and outbursts. Silent Hill created her as an unreliable narrator of her own story, making a point to use her as a martyr to torment James.
Not much is known about James's actual personality, though we assume he was just a 'regular' guy before the events of the game. Because of his significant actions in his past, James struggles with his sense of guilt, lust, emasculation, and most importantly to the game's story itself: denial. Someone who kills and searches for answers in a blind stupor, James is pretty much entirely oblivious for most of the game, which causes him to be frequently confused and blindsided.
The iconic truck driver from Silent Hill: Origins , Travis is yet another everyman with a sad past chosen to be a pawn to the town's inner workings. Our first impression of Travis is someone independent and willing to help at the drop of a hat, even to the point of abandoning a job he's late for to rescue a severely injured Alessa from her burning house.
His emotional trauma is likely the main reason as to why he's drawn to Alessa and why she chose him to prevent the evil God's birth. Travis can mentally survive the terrors of the Otherworld and seems to do so willingly. Travis is resourceful, though he may have a much darker and deadlier side implied in one of the game's endings. Other than a vague air of mystery that surrounds him, Travis seems to be of average intelligence.
An observant creative, the Silent Hill 4: The Roo m lead proves himself as constantly at-the-ready to provide help and comfort to those who need it. Much more of a "normal" person as far as Silent Hill protagonists go , nothing indicates Henry experiencing trauma or occult-related incidents before the game's events, other than having previously visited the town. He's the type to go with the flow and follow instinct more than anything else. He's a man of few words compensated by common sense.
Leading up to Silent Hill: Downpour's events , Murphy Pendleton was just a regular guy with a wife and a kid, that is until an unshakable tragedy causes him to turn to a life of crime. The "kindly scoundrel" type, Murphy is always quick to sympathize with and defend innocence. Inquisitive, observant, resourceful, and strong, the guy is probably one of the most reliable and relatable protagonists of the series. He's someone who navigates with reason though it can be overshadowed by fear (you see him doing a lot of running, screaming, and panicking).
The seventeen-year-old protagonist of Silent Hill:3 and adopted daughter of Harry Mason has a leg up on any other individual who has ever been affected by the town's reach. The second resurrection of Alessa Gillespie (a clone, per se), Heather was originally raised as Cheryl after Silent Hill 1 . Since then, she and her father have lived under the stress of constantly being watched by those who want to bring her back to complete the ritual to give birth to God.
Due to this and an encounter in which Harry was forced to kill a cult member out of self-defense when she was a small child, Cheryl has lived the better part of her life as Heather and has accepted that she can trust no one except for her father. Heather's ultimate advantage is that she is able to think, act, learn and fight quickly under vast amounts of pressure.
Harry is the protagonist of Silent Hill and one of the greatest video game fathers of all time. A writer with a strong set of morals, Harry is resourceful, observant, and a good fighter. He survived Silent Hill, the loss of his wife, the loss of his first adopted daughter, a near-fatal attack from a cult member, the subsequent murder case in court, and relocating for his and Heather's safety. Nonetheless, he raised Heather to be a tough yet considerate person. They had a very positive relationship because of Harry's incredible strength, discretion, and hindsight which would ultimately prove as essential when Heather fights for her survival in Silent Hill 3 .
Due to her complex story and nature, Silent Hill's powerful central catalyst is harder to place. Before Alessa was attempted as a human sacrifice (more than once), she was a girl who was persecuted for having powers, was abused by her occult mother, and believed in the idea of a "paradise" where essentially there is no evil and only kindness. Despite becoming an entity fueled by rage, hatred, and pain, Alessa surpasses her religious brainwashing and creates Silent Hill as a means of spiritual rectification--a methodical and dark means of justice over those who deserve to experience who they really are. To have created such a world with a cruel yet intentional set of standards, rising above the cult mindset, and protecting the world from the rebirth of a shady God puts her really high up on the list.
Harry's equally capable and intelligent officer counterpart in Silent Hill , Cybil is first found in a diner where she presents as an immediate skeptic to Harry's claims about his paranormal encounters. She's a breath of fresh air in the dank depths of the Otherworld when it feels like you're totally alone or are surrounded by monsters. Her confident and sharp demeanor contribute to the player's comfort where there is little. Where fear and trauma can take other characters over and make them reckless, her skills of communication and defense make her articulate, rational, and careful. Out of all the characters listed, she's also the only one ever to try to call for official reinforcements from Brahms upon calling out the town's suspicious activity and takes the care to make sure everyone she comes across (meaning Harry) is safe. Observing the nature of the character and the canon endings of games 1 and 3 , it might be safe to say elements of Cybil may have been passed down to Heather as well.