Game: "Silent Hill 2"
System: PlayStation 2
Genre: Adventure
Published by: Konami

Reviewer: Protoclown
Posted: 9/1/2009

Review: Silent Hill 2 may not be as sheer-terror inducing as the original, with its endless "Oh my god run run run I'm gonna die I'm gonna die I hear a pterodactyl and it's getting closerrrrr" experience every time you step outside, but it more than makes up for it in mood and atmosphere, which it has in droves, and which make for a far creepier gaming experience overall. The constant tension of everything rushing to kill you in the first game was honestly more annoying than interesting, and while the slow shuffling enemies of the sequel won't exactly have you shitting your britches trying to evade them, they give off more of a creepy menace vibe that provokes more of a slowly built-up psychological response rather than the jerky reflex evasion of the original.

Enemies that you can walk away from are surprisingly creepy after a while, and when you're in the closed quarters of interior building hallways, they can be upon you faster than you'd expect. The game is slow to start--it's a while before you run into an enemy when you first arrive in Silent Hill looking for your dead wife who mysteriously just wrote you a letter, but soon enough you'll hear what will become an all too familiar sound as the first creepy-as-hell straitjacket creature slowly approaches from the mist.

There are plenty of other creepy monsters present as well, like the mannequin people and the fucked up nurses (which are all feminine for a symbolic reason that I won't mention here because it's more fun if you figure it out as you play). And of course the most dangerous baddie of all, Pyramid Head, who easily conveys the strongest sense of menace of anything in the game. When you see him, you haul ass or you die.

On top of the creepy monsters, there are all kinds of amazingly disturbing and exceptionally atmospheric environments as you explore an apartment building, a hospital, a hotel--all of which are fucked up burned out husks of what they used to be, full of scurrying monsters and unknown things lurking in the darkness. The game also involves a fair amount of puzzle solving and searching for clues, in addition to simply trying to survive.

And of course, I couldn't get through a review of this game without mentioning the phenomenal soundtrack. The Silent Hill series has some of the absolute best mood-setting music I've heard in any game. When it's not creeping the hell out of you with its discordant, scraping industrial noises, it's breaking your heart with painfully melancholy string and piano music. The music spends almost all its time on either end of the beautiful-ugly spectrum, with very little falling in the middle. And that's exactly how it should be.

I haven't really touched very much on the plot of the game, and that's because this is one I feel that it's better for you to discover yourself. I have only played the first three Silent Hill games so far, but of them I would say that this one is easily the best. It's a top-notch standout game in my book, because it's one of those gaming experiences that will stay with you for years after you play. There are few games produced in the last decade I can say that about. This is a MUST play for any serious gamer, not just horror gamers.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeWholeHalf
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Forum Virgin
Sep 1st, 2009, 10:30 AM
This is pretty much the only game I've ever had difficulty playing with the lights off. Is there anymore tense and frightening scene than first walking into that hotel room and seeing white noise on a TV and what could be a body (dead or alive) facing away from you? It must have took me ten minutes to approach that that chair...

Actually, I love the long, drawn out beginning. I feel it really set the tone of the game. The ambient sounds preparing you for something that never comes is a master stroke.
I hate this hacker crap!
Sep 1st, 2009, 11:07 AM
i still need to get into this series. I've only played about 1/2 of the first and then stopped for some reason.
Forum Virgin
Sep 2nd, 2009, 12:00 AM
How about the scene with pyramid head and the two mannequin creatures. I remember watching that and going "What the...is that...oh man...this game is messed up!"
Sep 2nd, 2009, 03:40 AM
great game i actually started playing it again this week
drifting in the void
Sep 2nd, 2009, 06:10 AM
I canīt for the love of Nyarlathothep play this game further than to the appartment building. I donīt know why, but I get so bored out of my mind by then, that I just turn it off. Which is really sad, since I like Silent Hill (and I am one of the 7 people that think "The Room" was awesome). Gotta try Part 2 again one of these days...
Forum Virgin
Sep 2nd, 2009, 10:44 AM
Freakin' hell... I just thought of the prison stage. How cramped the hallways and the cells were - with that incessant demonic sound that kept happening, but never materializing.
And the prison courtyard/gallows? With the galloping horse that you could never see? Fuck me Santa with a chainsaw.
Forum Virgin
Sep 2nd, 2009, 08:43 PM
I enjoyed the first one more. It's been a while since I played so I can't remember exactly why. Haven't played any of the thirty other Silent Hill's that have come out since, as I read they're no good.
Sep 2nd, 2009, 09:37 PM
I'd just like to say that Silent Hill:Homecoming on the PC is one of the worst gaming experiences of my fucking life.
Sep 2nd, 2009, 09:38 PM
And the invisible prisoners that said "Ritual" and "Are you sure" during the prison level were the scariest fucking things about this game
Sep 2nd, 2009, 11:57 PM
NecroLemur, I definitely had a similar experience when hitting the room that had a sitting guy in front of a TV with nothing but static. In fact, when I actually had the balls to get close to it I was expecting to see a sudden camera change to the rotten remnants of a violated corpse or something.

Glad that didn't happen.

This is a game I never finished, because a friend lent it to me for just a few days, but the nurses that appeared just as you entered a room were the scariest thing I ever faced.
Forum Virgin
Sep 3rd, 2009, 06:01 PM
I also have just started playing this game. It's great.

You're right about the mood and music, of course. There is one room filled with butterflies. I'm telling you, the mood I had from playing up to that point, along with the music in the room itself; I was scared.

Of butterflies. Good game.
Sep 4th, 2009, 07:35 PM
Loved Silent Hill 1 - played all the alternate endings.
Got to the maze (?) under the lake in Silent Hill 2 and stopped...
Haven't gone back to finish it in years. I may have to give it another whirl one day...

You're spot on about the music though...
Sep 4th, 2009, 09:58 PM
1 will always be my favorite although I will admit 2 is the best. But my order is 1,3,2,origins, 4, homecoming.
Sep 7th, 2009, 08:33 AM
I like this game, but honestly I lost interest in it before I finished it. I still love the first game, though.
Forum Virgin
Sep 8th, 2009, 07:35 AM
SH2 and Homecoming are the only ones I actually finished. SH1 I lost my copy of and never replaced, SH3 always crashed near the end (PC version), and The Room just didn't do it for me after the first half. Origins I never even played.

Despite all of that, SH remains my favorite franchise ever. Even when I'm not playing/replaying one of them, I constantly listen to the soundtracks.
Sep 19th, 2010, 08:36 PM
Silent Hill 2 was so iconic that every game since copied something from it. The sexualized nurses, Pyramid Head, etc.