on July 10, 2004
I don't write Amazon reviews, but after reading several negative reviews, I just had to praise this excellent game, and explain WHY it can be considered poor by so many.
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this one as quickly as you can or better yet, start with the first one for the PlayStation, which only has the issue of outdated graphics to contend with, but is still the scarier game.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!
on July 18, 2004
It doesn't hit you upside the head with a tackhammer like the first game, but draws you in quietly. Almost teases you with terror, if I can invent a crappy new phrase. Interaction with "friendly" NPCs is more emphasized than the first game, which slows down the pacing a bit but forces you to invest more emotionally in the events. I really applaud the designers' attempts to flesh out the story and deal with some rather mature (I mean "complex" mature, not "South Park" mature) themes, while at last attempting to explain some of the nearly inexplicable supernatural dynamics of the cursed town. The bonus game is brilliant: playing out Maria's parallel story as a confused antagonist seems at first contradictory but eventually far more terrifying than anything in the main game. Realizing that you're playing not as a faceless evildoer but as a lost soul controlled by a greater evil force really strengthens the foundation under the entire series.
If only...as much effort were put into the gameplay as the story. The new true 3-D outdoor engine is nice, although it pushes the PS2 past its drawing limits. Collison detection is still clumsy, but forgiveable because of the slow footspeed of every enemy. Speaking of which, there are only about five relatively un-scary enemy types, and you see them all within the first third of the game. Too many of the environments are recycled from SH1, which in itself is not bad, but there is a real apathy in game design where same-old lock and key puzzles leave you feeling more like an apartment supe checking on his tenants than an adventure gamer. The apartment complex especially drags, and the hospital just didn't freak me out like SH1. The game nearly falls apart during the historical society building's Grand Sewage Expedition: NOT scary or disturbing, VERY frustrating and disorienting. I spent a good portion of my game time wandering pointlessly in this maze, eventually emerging and realizing it was a colossal waste of time, probably there to pad the "value". Fortunately, the hotel saves the experience.
So, I mean to say the overall experience is as good as the first; not as satisfying to play, more of a novel than a roller-coaster ride. Haven't played SH3, I've heard it's a rather short splatterfest which sounds like a sellout to me, so here's hoping the series doesn't run out of energy and turn into another endless RE or Tomb Raider cash tree.
"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?
on July 2, 2004
When "Resident Evil 2" came out for the Playstation, I was all over it. As a fan of horror films, I thought the blend of horror and video games was the ultimate. And then I found the "Silent Hill" series, which is more challenging -- and thus, more rewarding -- than its predecessor.
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.
on June 24, 2003
My wife and I often like to play adventure and puzzle games together. Nothing like quality time together, just me the wife and the PS2. We thought we would give Silent Hill 2 a try. We had a blast. This game had us jumping out of our seats, locking the windows and checking on the kids in bed just to make sure the whining noises we kept hearing weren't theirs.
I really liked the graphics and the excess fog. It added to the eerie atmosphere. There is a radio that comes on whenever there are creatures near and the fog keeps you guessing where they are coming from. The puzzles were hard enough to give a challenge, yet easy enough to figure out with out needing a walkthrough guide (although you will need to spend some time on some of them) The only part of the game that I did not like is that sometimes you found yourself doing a lot of extra walking because things are blocked off and for no apparent reason than to have you travel in a more linear fashion. My favorite part was a puzzle that involved 6 corpses and 6 nooses. If you enjoy horror or adventure games gives this a try.
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