Easily One Of My Top 3 Favorite Games
Written: Aug 4, 2012 (Updated Aug 7, 2012)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Storyline, Symbolism, Settings, Dialogue, Almost Everything
Cons:Final boss could have been a little tougher
The Bottom Line: I'm either speechless from awe of this game or the disturbing imagary that left my jaw hanging.
Your head’s pounding as you wake up in a daze and walk out to your car to discover a letter addressed to you by your dead fiancé. The letter says to meet in a foggy small town named Silent Hill where illusions walk the streets, the dead run rampant, and a rapist with a sword the size of your body with a pyramid for a head chases you throughout several sections of town. It then dawns on you that your fiancé may not be ok and you get concerned about her safety. You explore abandon apartment complexes, a deserted hospital, and an old hotel complex that resembles The Overlook Hotel (from The Shining) on steroids while being armed to the teeth with a variety of guns a melee weapons. All the while, there are a small handful of people who also appear in this town. A little girl with no family or parents, a woman who looks identical to your mysterious (thought to be dead) fiancé, and an overweight psychopathic young man all seem to have somehow made their way to Silent Hill and share similar characteristics to you. Are these people real or merely illusions? How is this little girl roaming the streets unharmed while zombies are wrecking havoc? Is your fiancé really alive? Why are you really here? What is the town trying to tell you? These questions are all answered throughout this horror survival PS2 powerhouse of a game. The story arc is second to none and puts most books and movies I know to shame. If this sounds even remotely appealing to you, this game is most likely for you.
The gameplay in Silent Hills 2 is amazing once the player is able to get the controls down. I personally had to get use to moving around primarily by the analog sticks rather than the control arrows, but this should not be a problem after minimal practice. The beginning of the game is also slow action-wise (but not boring by any means necessary) so players can also get comfortable with the controls before they are attacked by various monsters throughout the town. The game features a third person point of view that is executed very well due to a key radio feature. Early on in the game, the main character (James Sunderland) finds a radio and wears it on his jacket throughout his journey. The radio gives off a strong static sound whenever enemies are near and remains silent when nothing is around. This does two big things for the game. The first is that it compensates for the occasional bad camera view by letting the player know there are still enemies present even though they may not see them right away. Auto aim and the radio will become crucial to any player as the game progresses in difficulty, so this is a welcomed feature. Second, the radio also heightens suspense throughout the game. For instance when walking through the claustrophobically narrow corridors of the abandon apartment complex, the radio may suddenly begin to act up when there are enemies in the next room. All the while, the disturbing game imagery and nerve racking music will heighten players’ anxiety levels adding more entertainment to the game. The gameplay in Silent Hill 2 is easily an overlooked highlight of the game.
The main highlight of the game is the storyline and the amount of disturbing symbolism throughout. Everything ranging from the monsters to the settings all have a purpose and will all come together by the end of the game. The undead wh*rish nurses were very clever and the setting where you combat Eddy, the fat psychopath, may be one of my favorite parts of the entire game. Eddy is fought in a meat freezer with slabs of meat hanging from hooks as the two of you engage in a shootout. The cooler represents his cold outlook on life and the slabs of meat represent how he sees people. As a warning, there are many violent overtones of murder and rape but this game is ripe with symbolism that detail oriented players will love. Other settings that I enjoyed include an underground labyrinth that is uncharted on James’ map and the water park which seems to stretch endlessly into the lake. Also, anytime the main character sees their self dead in a hotel where they and their dead fiancé spent their honeymoon sets the entertainment bar pretty high for me. This game will have players on the edge of their seat with either with either terror or in excitement to figure out what is really going on in this game.
The only minor gripe I have with this game concerns the final boss and the level of difficulty defeating this enemy usually is for most players in any video game. However, on Silent 2, this boss was the weakest of the entire game. The boss did look cool and fit the themes of the game symbolically, but I was expecting much more of a fight rather than a three minute shootout on a rooftop. I will say that the boss represented a satisfying end to the game story-wise but I was just expecting more of a challenge. On a side note, this boss would be much harder if players chose not to conserve their ammo throughout the game. This complaint is only minor and does not take away from the entertainment and overall experience of the game.
Ending on a positive note, the music (no pun intended) in this game is ridiculous. There are creepy silences along deafening aggressive moments that will raise the stress levels of most that play this game. I can distinctly remember one part of the game roaming around the hospital where combination of loud and strange noises surprised me for a minute and made me think that the game over screen was only a few seconds away. There is also another part of the game where James is descending a huge staircase (honestly, it takes about two minutes to walk down) as a siren wails in the background becoming progressively louder the deeper that he journeys. If a creepy siren ringing while descending stairs beneath the Earth doesn’t make you feel a little tense, you are either a liar or are emotionally dead inside. The music is top notch throughout this game. It is also worth mentioning that the noises the monsters make are equally unnerving. The first time players walk through the city streets and a zombie scurries out from beneath a car, try not flinch too much. This is a strong feature within the game to back an incredible storyline and great gameplay.
Overall, I recommend Silent Hill 2 for fans of the horror genre, fans of puzzles and symbolism, and fans of video games in general. This game combines mystery, horror, action, and puzzles into one enjoyable experience. I have never thought a video game would be so entertaining to the point where I compared it to other books and movies I have enjoyed in the past, but Silent Hill 2 delivers in a major way. If you have not yet played this video game, do yourself a favor and either find a cheap copy or buy it used. It will be well worth your money.
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