Silent Hill 2 Review

Remember a while ago I bought Silent Hill and actually played it without too much screaming and crying? Well, this time I decided to go for the fan favourite: Silent Hill 2.

Silent Hill 2 Cover

Console: PS2
This is the one with Pyramid Head, right? Yes you are correct!
Scarier than the first? I would say on par.

I cannot tell you how excited I was to play Silent Hill 2. It’s pretty much everyone’s favourite installment (probably alongside Silent Hill 3) and it introduces the best known character in the series:

Red Pyramid Head Thing Silent Hill 2

YAY!

So, I was keen to see what the fuss was about.

To re-cap my experience with the first Silent Hill game:

  • Clunky controls
  • Bad Graphics
  • Frightening atmosphere that kept you on edge thanks to the noises you could hear and the things you couldn’t see
  • Pretty decent, if a bit weird, story
  • I would say that Silent Hill 2 in an improvement on Silent Hill, mostly because it’s PS2 compared to PS1, and the story makes that bit more sense.

    You play as James

    James Sunderland Silent Hill 2

    Beautiful James

    Like Harry from Silent Hill 1, James is looking for someone. Not his daughter, but his wife – Mary. Plot Twist is that she’s dead.

    So, James is in Silent Hill, looking for his wife and doing other things too.

    Yep, the token “Silent Hill is really dark and foggy” is back. It’s never daytime in Silent Hill for some reason.

    James Flashlight Silent Hill 2

    Just a manequinn dressed as your dead wife no biggie

    One of the first scares of the game is as soon as you pick up the flashlight (which you need to see your way around and solve puzzles) – you get attacked by a monster. There are plenty of fun looking monsters in this game!

    Silent Hill 2 Monsters

    Lotta gross monsters there

    The Silent Hill series is quite well know for the monsters having some kind of connection to the player character or other representation. Silent Hill 2 showcases it quite well – many of James monsters are quite sexual in nature, and well. Let’s just say that it becomes quite apparent that James is sexually frustrated.

    So, one of the additions to the game that I liked was the fact that if there was something for you to pick up, James would turn his head towards it. It being dark these things are easily missed and it’s much appreciated.

    James Sunderland Turning Head

    He can see through walls too

    There are a few famous scenes in this game, one of which is the aforementioned.

    Silent Hill 2 James Sunderland Toilet

    Yes, he sticks his hand inside that thing

    So, James finds this disgusting, clogged toilet, sees something in it and decides to stick his hand in and grab it. It’s a wallet. It has a code to a safe. The safe has some bullets in it. This is not a key item. James just sutck his hand in a toilet for basically no reason. Ewww.

    There is one other notorious scene in this game:

    So, Pyramid head? Remember him? The 1st time you see him he’s just chilling, doing this behind some bars:

    Pyramid Head First Encounter

    Oh Shit

    It’s creepy because it’s at the end of a long hallway and you can barely see anything and suddenly this dude is staring you down.

    But… the 2nd time you meet him…

    Pyramid Head Mannequin Scene

    OH MY GOD!

    Yeah. Just having sex with some monsters, that’s lovely. And the third time you meet him (and 1st time you fight him) …

    Pyramid Head Lying Figure

    He’s at it again…

    Yeah. So I said that this game has a lot of sexual overtones? Yeah. YEAH. It’s a real shame that Pyramid Head has become the series “mascot” because he’s very personal to James (who only appears in this game) and it doesn’t make too much sense to misplace him. OK. Great.

    One of the main features of this series is you own something (usually a radio) that lets you know if monsters are around. The radio crackles if you are in the same area as a monster – the louder the noise, the closer you are. It’s very useful. However you’re always dreading going into a new room in case your radio crackles…

    Oh yes, one of the few boss fights in the game. There’s this little girl, right:

    Silent Hill 2 Laura Hospital

    This little…

    Her name is Laura – she is one of the few human characters in this game. She is a little bitch. She was friends with James’ wife so James wants to try and talk to her. However, every time he tries she runs away or locks him in a room with monsters.

    Yeah.

    Silent Hill 2 Flesh Lips

    OK what even is this

    Thankfully the combat in this game is pretty easy compared to the first game.

    But, as with most survival horrors you are encouraged to run if you need to. Sometimes it’s all you can do.

    James Sunderland Maria Pyramid Head Hospital

    Leave me alone goddammit

    I really hate chase sequences but thankfully there is probably only 1 in this game. You’re escorting a woman who looks like James’ wife around Silent Hill and then BOOM Pyramid Head appears right behind you and you have to run away. Thankfully he runs pretty slowly because of his great fuck-off knife. James however, runs like a spazz and it’s hilarious.

    And the woman who looks like James’ Wife? James gets to see her die I think… 4 times in this game? It’s actually pretty sad when you realise that he is just reliving his wife’s death over and over and over again.

    Towards the end of the game there is a theme of “jump in hole to make progress”.

    Silent Hill 2 Hole

    Do you want to progress in the game?

    I’m sure it’s once again, symbolic… of James wanting to… well… “jump in a hole”. Yep.

    The levels in this game aren’t that confusing in terms of layout – everything gets marked on your map. However, when you do not HAVE the map, you freak out (the prison was a good example of this – I missed the map until about half way).

    However, the just-before-last level of the game, James draws his map as he goes on. This, for whatever reason, didn’t bother me. I was used to it – this is how Atlus maps tend to work. And those games… well let’s just say the maps are confusing.

    Atlus Game Maps

    Digital Devil Saga maps are similar to Nocturne maps

    However, like the last Silent Hill game there were a few good puzzles that make you think a little. Sometimes though, you just wonder “why”.

    Seriously. He had a tin opener, for whatever reason. And there are loads of fucking tins in this hotel ad he decides that open particular tin is important for some reason!?

    Silent Hill 2 Canned Lightbulbs

    What the hell!?

    Seriously, you find lightbulbs in a tin – why!? And also, there’s another puzzle where James has to find 4 keys or something, to unlock a box and what’s in the box? Some hair! That he then uses to tie to a hook to make a crappy fishing rod. He could have pulled his own hair out! James…

    I honestly did like this game though. It was (to me) less frightening than Silent Hill, mostly because I knew what to look out for with the knowledge of the format of the first game. The controls were better, the plot was really quite moving at points. There are some interesting characters, and hey, it presented quite a horrifying game.

    Have you played this series? Which one is your favourite?

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