Story Details

007: The Worst Vacation or That Time SoraRabbit Played Silent Hill 2 Yet Again

Posted By SoraRabbit77 617 days ago on Entertainment

https://www.sorarabbit.com - As you may be aware, I do take requests on subjects for this blog. Cocoashade's latest request was that I do some Halloween-type stuff. I know she was probably expecting slasher movies or something, but I didn't really plan ahead enough. Next year I hope to have a whole series of horror-related posts in October, so if anyone has suggestions, it's never too early to get those in. I want to have a whole month’s worth of posts next time around.Unprepared or not, I did see the merit in doing a post in honor of the season, however. So I figured why not just go to my old standby. One of my favorite video games of all time... Silent Hill 2.



































































Serious understatement, Angela. (Credit: Konami)



























Years ago, when I first got a PlayStation 2 I was introduced to the first three Resident Evil games. I've always loved horror and these games were like playing a horror movie. I very much enjoyed them. Then, cruising our local video store's game rental area (remember those? No? Just me? Okay...) I located a used copy of Silent Hill 2 for sale. I snatched it up and fell in love immediately. This wasn't just horror... it was psychological, it was puzzles, it was a story. All in all, an immersive experience. Later I was able to track down Part 1 and I've followed the series ever since. I have not played the last four games in the series yet, but some day I will get to them. (They're on a very long "To Play" list.)I'll go pretty light on the history lesson this time around since this post is specifically about Part 2 in the series. (I'll do an overview post some day. I love this series and there's a lot of material worth covering there, between the games and the movies.) Silent Hill is a series of survival horror games that originated in Japan. The idea behind survival horror is that you're an ordinary person forced to battle or escape the supernatural in some form. Basically you have to survive. The first Silent Hill game came out for the PlayStation system in 1999 and was produced by Konami and the developer Team Silent. Silent Hill 2 came out in 2001 for the PlayStation 2.Silent Hill is a quiet, unassuming town where strange things happen. There are actually two Silent Hills... the ordinary one, desolate, quiet, empty. A siren accompanies the shift to Otherworld, which is a warped, corroded, and rotting version of the ordinary town. The games deal with various fun topics such as a cult, demonic entities, mental issues, murderous impulses, shame, serial killers, and even aliens. The games are only loosely related to each other, but Part 3 is a direct continuation of Part 1. Part 2, the topic of this post, is a stand alone story. It takes place in the same world and continuity, but much of what happens in Part 1 is ignored.In the past, I have played this game *maybe* five times. Maybe more. Although I know this game inside and out, I felt compelled to play it all over again for this review. I was also curious to see what ending I would get without consulting a walkthrough. (My very first play through I didn't use a walkthrough at all, and I got the worst possible ending.) Playing again was also a good way to get the screenshots. Mainly, though, I just wanted to play it again. (Remember what I said in my first post about being easily distracted?)



































































James, you have no idea what you’re in for, buddy. (Credit: Konami)



























The usual warning, since this is a review post, there will be spoilers. In fact, I am going to spoil the big twist and one of the 7 endings for you. So if you plan on playing this game, please do so before reading. I do want interested readers to give it a try. This is a fantastic series, and certainly worth the time to play through. This is more a review and discussion of the game and plot, so although I'll give tips and some details, I'll gloss over other things such as the puzzles and boss fight tactics. I'll also use "James" and "you" interchangably because as you play the game, you are James. (Be kind, I'm still new at reviewing, so I'm trying to get a feel for the balance here.)The scenario of this game is that James Sunderland, our protagonist and the player character, has a dead wife and is very emo about it. Three years after her death, he receives a letter supposedly from her, asking him to meet her at the place they once had a pleasant vacation, a quaint little town called Silent Hill.



































































Wow James. Wow. (Credit: Konami)



























Seriously though... Silent Hill for a vacation? James is twisted. Was the Great Lodge at Twin Peaks all booked up? Jesus, man. Never mind the fact that the entire town appears to be devoid of most of its citizens, and covered in a thick fog... but there are also demon monsters everywhere.I'm joking... mostly. They don't make it clear in the games if Silent Hill is always like this or not. They show a "normal" aspect of the town (some refer to it as Fogworld) and then the air raid sirens sound and you find yourself in a place called Otherworld. This place looks like the Fogworld but it's darker, twisted, more messed up. It's not stated explicitly, but I've always suspected the Fogworld is an in-between of the town actual people live in and Otherworld. So instead of the two realities there are actually three. (That's just a theory though.) Besides, the town seems to reflect back what was brought into it. And James has brought A LOT into town with him. Without getting too specific at this point, just know that there are reasons Silent Hill is the way it is when James visits. All the monsters are manifestations of James's mental and emotional state.



































































Uh... yeah. Bit of artistic license there from the tourism bureau. (Credit: Konami)



























Since this is not one of my overview posts, I won't talk much about part 1 of the series. But I will mention that many of the mechanics from that game return in this one. Harry, the protagonist of Part 1, also has a clip on flashlight and radio. The radio blares static when an enemy is nearby, so it acts as an early warning system. The flashlight can be turned off to attempt to evade enemies, but I rarely did this. There is unlimited inventory space, which is a relief for those who have played the early Resident Evil games. (Silent Hill 4 has limited space and it severely hinders game play. I think it was meant to make it more challenging, but I hate having to backtrack in games just to swap out items.)There are various weapons in the game and they fall into two categories: melee and ranged. The ranged weapons mainly have finite ammo (with the exception of the Hyper Spray). More ammo can be picked up as you explore, but ammo conservation is very important. (The number of bullets you get depends on your difficulty level.) Use melee whenever possible. Save the rifle for boss battles. Combat is difficult, but the explanation for that is that James is not a trained fighter. (This goes for all the games besides Homecoming, where you play as a combat-trained soldier.) Health can be recovered with the use of health drinks, first aid kits, and ampoules. (Always do drugs, kids!) The rest of the items in the game are for puzzle-solving purposes or to impact the ending you get.



































































I wonder if these come in six packs? (Credit: Konami)



























I've always wondered what's in a health drink. I imagine they probably taste pretty nasty. Like medicine. But still, I would totally drink them if they healed my injuries. A couple of health drinks can bring you back from the brink of death. Those things must sell themselves. You don't even have to refrigerate them.The main gameplay is exploration, looking for ways to advance through the town towards your final destination at the Lakeview Hotel. As you go, you have to avoid or fight the creatures roaming Silent Hill. There are many puzzles to solve as you go, as well. At key moments you run into other characters, none of who seem to be entirely mentally stable. Cut scenes trigger at points to advance the story. There are also boss battles to get through in order to advance.Why can't you just go straight to the hotel? Well, because it's a Silent Hill game.



































































It must be hell to run errands in Silent Hill. (Credit: Konami)



























There are roadblocks, mysterious walls, fences, and my favorite... gaping pits to nowhere.



































































Settle down, James. No use screaming into the void. (Credit: Konami)



























The bizarre and unexplained obstacles just add to the otherworldly feel of the town. There is a constant mist over everything and perpetual darkness. You meet very few people. There is a pervading sense of isolation and desolation. Silent Hill has a grimy, dark aesthetic. Everything seems degraded, corroded, filthy, disused. The game thrusts you into an environment where there is no escape from the darkness, no comfort, little light. Silent Hill is a very dark, lonely place. Yet you must brave it. Harry ventured into the town to find his daughter. James is searching for his wife. Heather in Part 3 is searching for answers. Everyone comes to the town for a reason and cannot leave until they find what they're searching for. In James's case, there's much more to his search than you realize at first.



































































This is how I look when I first wake up. (Credit: Konami)



























The game opens with James talking about how he got a letter from his wife Mary, who died three years prior. The letter stated that she would be waiting for him in Silent Hill. (I've always thought James looked like a young Denis Leary, so the first time I played this I insisted on calling him Denis.) Since nothing is ever easy in Silent Hill, James can't just drive into town. Nope, there's an unexplained wall there. So instead he parks at a rest stop and wanders into a spooky wooded area. It's a long walk into town. Ominous incidental music plays and odd noises occasionally mark your passage. The developers knew how to set the stage.At times the fog becomes so dense you can't see where you're going. After the woods you end up in a graveyard because of course you do. In the graveyard you meet your first new friend, Angela, a troubled young woman who says she's looking for her mama. You leave her standing alone in a graveyard at night because you're a very busy man who needs to go find his dead wife.If you've won the game before, in this area you can find a chainsaw, which is debatably the best melee weapon in the game. It's slow and hard to use, but it's ultra powerful. Also sometimes while holding it James will lift it over his head and do a little battle cry in a neat callback to Texas Chainsaw Massacre.



































































Texas James-saw Massacre, am I right? (Credit: Konami)



























After the long trek into town, you're free to explore. Helpful tip: explore everywhere! You never know where you'll find a health drink or ammo. These things are your life in the game. Just be careful because as you go along you'll run into monsters and sometimes the health trade off from fighting is not worth the items. (Why get hurt getting a health drink you're just going to have to chug afterwards?) You're only in town a few minutes before you follow a twisted shadowy creature into an isolated location. (Welcome to Silent Hill!) Luckily you find a wooden plank to beat it with. The wood plank does not do much damage, but on your first play through, it's all that's keeping you alive at first. Another tip: When a monster falls, kick it. It can and will get back up. (Note that this counts as a melee kill, even when you've shot it to make it fall down.) Also pay attention to the vibration on your controller. That helps you monitor your health. As you get closer to death's door, the vibration increases. The only other way to check your status is opening the menu and looking at the picture. If it's turning red, you're hurt. (Repeat after me: If it's red, you're nearly dead!) The monsters you find in this area are called Lying Ones. They have no arms and shudder around like they're bound up in straight jackets. They puke nasty painful death at you, so watch out for that.



































































I hate when monsters puke on me. (Credit: Konami)



























After wandering the town you find clues leading you to the first area of exploration, the Wood Side apartment building. At first it's too dark to see what's going on, so check the rooms until you find your trusty flashlight. The narrow hallways make combat difficult, but it's also hard to run from danger, so you're probably going to have to fight your way out. Unless you're on hard mode, the monsters won't respawn. You also find your handgun here, which helps a lot. One thing to keep in mind, and this goes for all the games: if the game tells you a door is locked, you can find a key for it. If it says the door is jammed or the lock is broken, you're never getting in there. There are so many jammed doors in Silent Hill. If you were a handyman and could deal with constant monster attacks, you could really make bank.I've always thought there was something satisfying about the map system. As you travel you find maps for the various areas. James marks up the maps to show impassible areas with squiggly lines. A solid line means the door is locked and when you unlock it an arrow shows you can get through now. Objectives are usually circled or noted in some way. The map is vital for navigation, especially in the later areas.In the apartment you meet new enemies, Mannequins. These are essentially two sets of legs sewn together. You also have your first meetings with your nemesis... Pyramid Head.



































































Fine art. (Credit: Konami)



























Pyramid Head is the most iconic character in the series. He shows up again in Homecoming and in the movies. (And also in the later games that I haven't gotten around to yet.) You don't get many answers about him, but essentially he appears to be a spirit of judgement. A sort of executioner that stalks the town, punishing those who deserves. (And occasionally monsters for some reason.) You encounter him several times in this game but cannot kill him. Mostly you just run away from him. (At least until the end.)Anyway, back to the game. When you first see Pyramid Head he's doing... something to a couple of Mannequins. James heroically hides in a closet and shoots at him until he leaves.



































































Should we be watching this? (Credit: Konami)



























You have to solve a couple of puzzles to advance through the apartment building. Some of the puzzles make no sense if you think about them too much. My favorite example of this is where a mother left her child the key to the apartment at a neighbor's apartment. However, to get access to the key, you have to locate three mysterious coins-- one of which is in a baby carriage sitting in an empty swimming pool filled with monsters-- and solve a riddle to determine the order to put the coins into a puzzle box. (I didn't know latchkey kids had it so tough.) You also reach into a toilet to fetch a wallet. (The only thing James likes more than reaching into things is jumping into holes. But more on that later.)As you continue through the game you get pieces of a story about a child murderer named Walter Sullivan. He was locked away before committing suicide, and also seemed to be stalked by Pyramid Head. In the apartment you meet a charming young man named Eddie. When you make his acquaintance, he's puking in a toilet and swears he didn't kill anybody. He's not from the town and can see the monsters. (I wonder if they're the same monsters as James sees... hmm.) You also run into Angela again. She's still looking for her mama and generally being creepy and sad.



































































Uh, sure creepy lady I just met, I’ll hold onto your knife. (Credit: Konami)



























Eventually you find yourself face to mask with Pyramid Head. Save your ammo. The first boss battle actually consists of just running away from him and staying out of reach of his enormous knife. If you avoid him long enough, a siren goes off and he leaves. I can't tell you how many times I died before I figured that out. (Let's have a moment of silence for all the Jameses that have gone before.)



































































No, sorry, I already have a knife to hold. (Credit: Konami)



























After exiting the apartment building you're in West Silent Hill. James finds a creepy little girl named Laura, who seems to know him somehow. She also claims James never loved Mary. (Charming kid. You first saw her in the apartment where she kicked a key away from your reach.) James enters a park and finds Maria, a woman who looks almost identical to his deceased wife Mary. (He points out that her hair and clothes are different, so hey, obviously she's not Mary. That's how that works, right?)



































































Nothing gets past James. (Credit: Konami)



























I hate escort missions. Maria does nothing to help you and she can die if you’re not careful. After recruiting the useless Maria to your party, the two of you go to a hotel and find a steel pipe. (Not a euphemism.) Then you visit a bar and a bowling alley. It's like a date except no one is having any fun. You meet up with Eddie who's eating pizza. So I guess he's having fun at least.



































































How old is that pizza, buddy? (Credit: Konami)



























Then you follow Laura into the second big area of the game, Brookhaven Hospital. This is where you run across one of the staples of the series: evil zombie-type nurses. You lose Maria because she needs to take a nap. (Sheesh, sorry if my battle against darkness is too stressful for you, lady.)A lot happens in the hospital. You get sucker punched by Pyramid Head and get the ever-useful shotgun. This is also home to one of my favorite nonsensical riddles in the entire series. You find an extremely locked box. (Think about the most locked box you've ever seen. This one is even more locked than that one.) To open it you need to find two keys and two codes for combination locks, all in different places, of course. Inside the box is... a strand of hair. (Yeah, overkill.) After that you find Laura, who claims that she met Mary a year ago and got a letter from her. (For those of you keeping score, that was two years after her death.) James of course calls the young child a liar. In retaliation, Laura locks you in a room with a boss battle. (Like any kid would.) The boss battle consists of three creatures in metal cages hanging from the ceiling. They're called Flesh Lips, which is a great name for a monster.



































































Our hero, ladies and gentlemen. (Credit: Konami)



























After the battle the air raid siren sounds and you find yourself thrust into Otherworld. Your map resets and things are different. After finding Maria again, playing a bizarrely out of place quiz show, and moving a refrigerator, the two of you have to run down a long hallway to escape Pyramid Head. Poor Maria doesn't make it and is stabbed many times. James has a moment of silence for his dear dead friend who looks like his dear dead wife, then gets on with his life. He follows Laura back out into the town. Laura is basically the white rabbit of this game.Since you're still in Otherworld, the town is much more dangerous than it was before. Nurses and Mannequins roam the street and the fog has been replaced by a deep, foreboding darkness. There's also a lot more loot on the ground, so it's a good time to stock up.



































































Whoa, harsh. (Credit: Konami)



























You have to travel between the two sides of the town to get a wrench, then a key. After that it's off to the Silent Hill Historical Society, home of the longest staircase ever. (And probably some other stuff, I don't know.) After that you jump down a hole into a well where you're trapped forever. Or at least you would be if it wasn't for your trusty steel pipe. You break out, jump down another hole and find yourself in scenic Toluca Prison, a place more grimy and creepy than any other locale you've explored. It's also apparently miles below Silent Hill. You have a tense conversation with your pal Eddie, who has decided to embrace the murderous impulses inside him. That can't be good. I'm not sure how he came to this conclusion, but obviously Eddie has been on a journey of self-discovery. He's tired of people pushing him around. Like that stupid dog always did.The incidental music gets ominous in this area. There's also a lot of creepy sounds and disembodied voices to keep you company. This is where you find the rifle, which is more powerful than the shotgun. After exploring the prison and solving a puzzle, you jump down yet another hole. Then another. And another. (Yeah, I know.) After that? You ride a freaking elevator down. Yeesh. (Going down, James?) Below the prison is a labyrinth and the lair of Pyramid Head. So, basically, Hell. You're in Hell now.



































































So, so many holes. (Credit: Konami)



























Mazes are fun, aren't they? Sigh. Well, in this one you get the coolest weapon in the game, in my opinion. Down a ladder (Hell's basement?) you find Pyramid Head's comically oversized Great Knife. It's nearly impossible to use because it weighs too much for James to effectively swing it, and it slows you down to a crawl, but it's sooo cool.



































































This thing has to weigh 50 pounds. How is he carrying it around? (Credit: Konami)



























The rest of the maze is tedious, but James draws a map as you go, so it could be worse. At a couple of points you run into your old friend Pyramid Head (probably mad you took his knife) but he's easy to dodge. He's a little faster though because the knife isn't slowing him down and he has a spear, which has a wicked reach. So be careful. After another puzzle you find Maria, somehow alive again. She's in a jail cell for some reason and speaking very cryptically about James forgetting a video tape in the hotel. This is key information. She also flirts with you, which seems a little poorly timed.



































































That’s the oldest line in the book, lady. (Credit: Konami)



























Next up: another boss fight. Angela hasn't found her mama, but you do meet her dad... sorta. The monster's name is Abstract Daddy and he's truly disturbing. He's like a bloated mattress with teeth and grabby arms. Some dodging and shotgunning and he's taken care of. I won't go into details on Angela's story, but you can probably guess.After Daddy is taken care of, you finally locate Maria. She's dead... again. So instead you solve yet another puzzle and jump down yet another hole. At the bottom you confront Eddie. Eddie waves a gun around, whining about how everyone makes fun of him. Even that stupid dog. James calls him crazy. James is not a bright man.



































































Nah, that’s the look of a completely sane guy holding a gun. (Credit: Konami)



























If you haven't guessed, you're in another boss battle. And it's not an easy one. Eddie takes several shotgun blasts to the gut before he falls. (He may be fat and whiny, but his gut is steel!) James mourns him for some reason and then continues on his merry way.A long, foggy boat ride later and you're finally at the Lakeview Hotel! The hotel is the final area of the game. There are more puzzles waiting here and the rest of James's tragic story is revealed. Laura is already at the hotel... not sure how she got there and the game provides no answers. Did she jump down all those holes too? (For that matter, how did Eddie and Angela get into the labyrinth? Maybe there's a back entrance we could have used to skip all those holes?) Anyway, James finally gets to read the letter from Mary that Laura's been teasing. Mary did indeed meet Laura recently, and wanted to adopt her. James is confused... is Mary really dead?There's a lot to explore in the hotel, but mostly you collect keys and music boxes. Everyone's got to have a hobby. There's bullets in interesting places, like reception and the cloak room. (Silent Hill!) At one point you have to leave all your precious belongings behind (including your flashlight) so you're not too heavy to ride an elevator. That part is tense. You're left defenseless. You have to do this to get into the area where you find the video tape Maria mentioned earlier. You also get a can opener which you use to open a sealed tin can full of light bulbs. (Which just may be the oddest thing in this game, honestly.)



































































I hope he checked the expiration date. (Credit: Konami)



























After wandering around some more you finally get to Room 312 where Mary is NOT waiting for you. (Surprise!) Instead you find a working TV with a working VCR. For those of you too young to remember, VCRs were a type of media player back in the olden days when people rode dinosaurs and everything was in black and white. James, not being too young to remember, knows just how to work this ancient contraption. We get the last few pieces of the story. Bonus spoiler warning. Mary did indeed get sick. The doctors couldn't do anything. The illness did not kill her, however. James did.



































































Boom. (Credit: Konami)



























Yeah. James, the character you have been playing as this entire time, turns out to be an unreliable narrator. He suffocated Mary with a pillow to put her out of both of their misery. Then he clearly suffered a mental break and suppressed what he'd done and convinced himself that three years had passed. (There's a bit more to the story you can get from an audio tape and Mary's voice in a hallway, but this is the gist of it.)After this revelation, James leaves the room and finds himself in Otherworld. The hotel is dark and leaking. Soon you run into Angela on a burning staircase. She's completely unhinged, suicidal, broken. So you leave her there to play in the fire. (Like I said before, you're a very busy man.)



































































“This is fine.” (Credit: Konami)



























Just kidding. James actually does try to help, but Angela wants none of it. She's chosen her fate. She walks up the stairs, never to be seen again. The rest of the game goes pretty fast. You find Maria, who dies again, killed by one of the Pyramid Heads. Yeah, you read that right. There are now TWO Pyramid Heads and this time you can't run away-- you have to confront them.



































































Well, as long as you ask nicely. (Credit: Konami)



























James is sick of the Super Pyramid Brothers and fights back. You hit them with all you have and they eventually impale themselves on their own spears. You take their eggs (don't ask) and use them to unlock a door. Through that door and up a long flight of stairs is the final boss battle.This battle is against either Mary or Maria, depending on how you interpret it. The cut scene before the battle changes depending on what ending you've earned, and I don't remember the other one's details offhand. In my play through it was Maria but she was dressed like Mary. Maria/Mary becomes all goth and demonic and shoots bats at you. She floats around the room is a combination bed/cage and tries to ensnare you with something that's either a tentacle or a hook. Whatever it is, it hurts. After a tense battle, it's all over. The ending you've attained plays and the credits roll.



































































Mary, before she died and was reborn and became all evil and stuff. (Credit: Konami)



























You may be confused. That's normal. Confusion goes along with the entire Silent Hill experience. How much of that was real? Who was Maria exactly and was she alive? If so, how did she die so many times only to be fine later like a cartoon character? Who sent James the letter calling him into town? Where are the other residents of the town? What kinda weirdo keeps lightbulbs in tin cans? Why were there suddenly two Pyramid Heads at the end? Was that just a design decision to make the battle more kickass? Why so many freaking holes? We may never have the answers to all these questions, but many people have tried to piece it all together. All except for the lightbulb thing. No one will ever solve that one. It's not my intent here to break it all down, but I do have theories. As I see it, it seems like James was called to Silent Hill due to his strained mental state. Angela, Laura, and Eddie were also called for different reasons. Maria was created out of nothing, manifested from James's memories and desire to see his wife again. Pyramid Head was there because James subconciously wanted to punish himself for what he couldn't remember doing. When James decided to break the cycle and get out of the hell he'd put himself into, the town fought back through the two Pyramid Heads and Maria. I think the others were real, but called to the town at that time to play their own parts in James's journey. That's just a summary, and theoretical. The game is open to interpretation. I would suggest playing the game and drawing your own conclusions. That's the best way.There are 7 different endings. Each ending reflects the way you play and shows you James's fate, good or bad. On this play through I got the Rebirth ending, which I've never gotten before. To get this one you have to have won the game at least once, and you collect four dark magic artifacts at various points in the game. In this ending, James takes another boat ride, muttering something about the Old Gods and how he wants to see Mary again. He is heading for what looks like a church on a small island. Although not implicitly stated, he intends to use the four artifacts to bring Mary back to life. Interesting concept, but I found it jarring... it doesn't match up with the story too well. I mean, James confronted the truth and decided he didn't need his illusion of Mary to go on. But then he turns around and decides to resurrect her? (Still, we just spent the entire game thinking we knew what was going on in James's head, so to think we know now would be a mistake.)To get the other endings you have to play different ways or use certain items. The UFO ending is highly amusing. There is also something called the Dog Ending, but I don't want to give that one away. If you want to know, YouTube it. (There are no words sufficient to describe it. It's utterly amazing.)



































































Yeah, I played on easy, what of it? (Credit: Konami)



























In the PlayStation 3 HD Collection I played for this review, there are trophies that add to the challenge and replay value. (I love trophies.) Many of the trophies are achieved just by playing through normally and getting each ending. Some of the trophies are completely insane, though. Getting the green hyper spray is certainly one I will never manage. To get that one you basically have to get every other trophy in one session and play a perfect game. You have to take almost no damage, save no more than two times, find nearly every item in the game, get all the endings beforehand, and win in under three hours, among other requirements. All on Hard mode for both Action and Riddles. Craziness. I like to consider myself good at this game, but not THAT good. I played on easy for the purposes of this post. The day after winning, I attempted hard mode and got completely obliterated as soon as I got to the apartment. Hard mode is no joke. I'm determined to do it, though. Someday.Now for some normal review stuff. Downsides: The controls are a little clunky, but easy to get accustomed to. (They're better than the controls in Part 1 at least.) The camera is fixed. You can't really adjust it except for swinging it back behind you, and that doesn't always work. The camera basically just does whatever it wants. Another negative is how excessively dark it is, especially before you get the flashlight. I know they were going for a mood there, but at times it's easy to get turned around in the shadows. The graphics are incredible, but most of them are obscured in darkness. Some of the expressions and voice work are odd and unrealistic, but you can chalk that up to the game being almost 20 years old.Upsides: As mentioned, the graphics that you can see are great. This series has its own style and it revels in it. The attention to detail is excellent. James pants after running for too long. He looks towards nearby items, which really helps with the before-mentioned darkness. The story is excellent and complex, the characters interesting and mysterious. The soundtrack is fantastic. I love the main theme song. There isn't much incidental music in the game, which lends to the feel of a horror movie. When music does come on, it's at key moments and is speculative, subdued. The multiple endings add layers to the story. The mixture of exploration, puzzles, and combat give variety to the game.



































































MOOD. (Credit: Konami)



























So that's my take on Silent Hill 2. Many regard this as the best entry in the series, but the other games have their merit too. I think the reason this one sticks out for me is the story. The mystery unfolds gradually and not everything is made clear by the end, forcing you to keep thinking about the game long after it's over. After the big revelation, everything you thought you knew about the main character shifts and you're forced to rethink everything. (It reminds me of stories like Fight Club and the Marabou Stork Nightmares.) Add into that the number of endings and the way your actions or gameplay impact those endings, and you have a lot of replay value. Plus Pyramid Head is straight up terrifying. They did an excellent job making him into the game's boogeyman.I hope you all have a spooky holiday. Let me know what you thought of this review/summary hybrid and my execution of it. And if you've played any Silent Hill games, which is your favorite and why? If you want me to cover one of the games in the series let me know which one and I'll be happy to accommodate you! (You would be enabling my habit of distraction, but I would thank you for it.) And remember... if you receive a letter from a deceased loved one, do NOT base your travel plans around it.

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