- Platform: PlayStation2
- ESRB Rating: Mature
- Media: Video Game
- Item Quantity: 1
The sequel opens with James Sunderland, the series' average joe protagonist, and a mysterious message that reads, "Silent Hill, our sanctuary of memories. I'll be waiting for you there." More puzzling is that the note is signed by Mary, his deceased wife.
James sets out for Silent Hill hopeful that he'll find a trace of Mary. After an aborted attempt by car, James plunges into the dank fog and embarks on his quest by foot. Enter Angela, a woman who bears a striking resemblance to Mary, and who also beckons him with another curious message. It seems James can't go back; strange things are happening in Silent Hill.
Silent Hill 2 offers 10 new formidable foes, plenty of puzzles, and bone-chilling gameplay. The sequel's new story and characters promise to thrill and terrify. The visual and sound effects are amazingly detailed and macabre, and, if you're playing on a system with surround sound, you may find yourself keeping the lights on.
For starters, it is slow going at first and to some extent throughout the entire game, especially if you are expecting a fast paced action title or shooter. Fighting is not something to be enjoyed but it is merely something that you have to do in the world of SH. The controls are clunky and the combat system is sub-par in order to drive home the fact that you are a regular guy with no combat training what-so-ever. If you were trapped in a town being chased by bizarre creatures, you prob. wouldn't move gracefully either. You also spend your time backtracking and wandering aimlessly for items to fit into puzzles.
If the game sounds bad already, then it is not the game for you. Many people simply aren't suited to like this type of game.
The reason it IS a good game for the rest of us is because it creates an atmosphere of extreme isolation coupled with the use of dark, grainy backgrounds and disturbing, very twisted imagery. Also, the game brings up the question of what exactly is happening to you (i.e. are you dead, is this hell, are you crazy, are you dreaming?). All of this is for the sole purpose of drawing you in and immersing you into the games world in order to scare you, which it accomplishes quite well. Spooky background noises and anti-climaxes abound to create a feeling of tension as well as just generally bizarre aspects to further distance you from reality. And, the story is quite deep and unnervingly dark, although it's hard to figure out just quite what everything means (read: lots of symbolism.)
Play this one in the dark alone and you will not sleep that night...I most certainly didn't. :)
If you like adrenaline pumped action games: stay far, far away from this one, and any other survival horror.
If you want to be immersed into a twisted, psychological playground, get this one as quickly as you can or better yet, start with the first one for the PlayStation, which only has the issue of outdated graphics to contend with, but is still the scarier game.
Good luck, and enjoy your mind-numbingly terrifying experience!
"WARNING: Lock and key puzzle rant!!!"
Is anybody,...I mean, ISN'T EVERYBODY sick of stupid lock and key puzzles? Even a brilliant series like SH can't imagine a better mechanic for story advancement than "go there, get that, put it in that lock"?!?!?! Evil supernatural forces that have wiped out an entire town and can, at will, change the dimension in which I walk have to rely on a bleeping combination lock on a desk drawer to stop me?!?! REALLY?!?!?!?! Isn't it about time that we move on to some grander schemes besides solving some asinine Japanglish riddle, or having to walk ten miles to recover four parts of a rusty key to open a frail wooden door I could easily demolish with the sledgehammer in my inventory?
I swear, nothing ruins the mood of a good horror/adventure game faster than an absurd and clearly arbitrary task. I can't be expected to buy into the terror of my predicament when the designer is telling me that even though my item bag clearly shows I have a welding torch, an uzi, a hydraulic jackhammer, and the Rare Bonus Item Nuclear-Powered Flamethrower, I CAN'T turn the knob on that water faucet until I traipse all over town looking for the magical Wrench of Doom. How 'bout some new ideas?
I read tons of reviews for both Silent Hill 2 & 3, and figured that, based on those reviews, the Second one was better because it was longer and more challenging. So I got a copy of it and was immediately sucked into the mysterious and frightening world of Silent Hill.
This game is so scary at points my 22-year-old girlfriend couldn't watch me play it anymore. "It's too scary," she said, and turned away to read a book or something. Meanwhile, I was trapped in the sprawling, foggy and spooky atmosphere. The graphics aren't as good as later Playstation 2 games -- because the world is so expansive, they used little digital bits instead of smooth building textures. This adds a grainy quality to the visual look of the game, which actually enhances the mood and makes you feel like you're watching some forbidden snuff film. Other games -- such as "Manhunt" -- have tried to copy this look, but "Silent Hill 2" has the gameplay and panache to back it up, whereas "Manhunt" was a pointlessly brutal and ultimately dull game.
There are a few problems with this game, however. The controls are awkward and take some getting used to. Just play for a half-hour and you've got them down pat, but every time you walk away, you've got to reaccustom yourself to the controls. In addition, the puzzles and plotline become complicated at points. I played for 4 hours my first night having this, and then didn't play again for a couple of days (hey, people have to work you know). When I returned to the game, I had no idea where I was supposed to be, and was forced to look at on-line guides to point me in the right direction. Then I played for another couple hours and haven't been at it since. When I return, I'll have to reacquiant myself with my surroundings, and that is a little frustrating. I hate the idea of having to "cheat" by looking on-line for information, but the game doesn't offer any alternatives.
The health meter was an issue for me at first, too. There is no on-screen health meter, so after getting knocked around by baddies for a while and not knowing when I was going to die, I suddenly did. You have to continuously check the Pause screen to see how you're doing health-wise. This can be a little frustrating and awkward, causing breaks in the action and temporarily halting the tense and grimy atmosphere the game works so hard to establish.
Overall, the game is a worthy addition to any horror fan's collection. The puzzles are challenging and rewarding -- I enjoy figuring them out. The battle scenes are fun as well, with good detailed gore and spooky monsters that will stick in your cerebellum for days afterward. "Silent Hill 2" is the type of game you'll want to plop down and play for half a day straight, and since most of us cannot do that, the jerky start-and-stops make it a little difficult to get back into.