Scary/Horror Games: Silent Hill 2

I felt compelled to write this as im currently working through the silent hill HD collection on the 360 which contains silent hill 2 and silent hill 3, i have completed 2 and slowly getting through 3 so i decided that i’d write down my thoughts and overall opinion of the game.

I started the game with a certain amount of trepidation as i’ve never done too well with survival horror games, i nearly always never complete them, i get started on them but always find some excuse to stop. I had previously played silent hill 2 on the pc but again i never got very far in it, but i was absolutely determined to play it again on the 360 and to experience it to the fullest. You know what im so glad i did as the game is spectacular, of course not visually these are only vaguely tarted up playstation 2 graphics and the animation is odd but even just naming those flaws i don’t care because the story is superb with very good pacing and the opressive tension it builds is masterfully done.

You play James Sunderland who gets lured to the town of silent hill by a letter sent to him from his supposedly dead wife, obviously he’s confused about it all and decides to investigate and as the game starts and you begin to wander around silent hill you can’t help but get the feeling that the town is starting to swallow James up with the opressive fog and the dull grey almost lifeless note to the town, it makes you want to find out what the hells going on even though you know its going to be bad for your health meter (displayed in the menu screen as a screenshot of you and as you take more damage the image gains more and more static until you die) it gives you enough incentive to investigate further even though you get that feeling of fear that you shouldnt because you have no idea whats around the next corner that’ll bite your legs off.

Of course though thats the genre when its done well. What few people you do bump into around the town are subtly off in different ways that you can never quite let your guard down as you never know what there intentions are, which just adds to the already tense atmosphere as you feel that your the only one that still has his mind intact.

The combat i would say is functional albeit barely, over the course of the games you got the array of a stick with a nail in it, some old pipe and handgun, shotgun and near the end of the game the hunting rifle. Thankfully the enemies arent too much of a problem with the exception perhaps of pyramid head. My advice is to stock up on all the ammo you can as you can get by alot of the game with just the stick with the nail in it and that will allow you to hoard tons of ammo as alot is about the place if you explore a little.

Which brings me on to another of my favourite components of the game the exploration, i got really taken with it because the map system in the game was actually helpful (usually map systems in games suck arse) and i checked it regularly for places i hadnt been to yet as you always think what if that little room there has ammo or medkits in it, it had the right mix of just making you want to check out that next room for any sort of loot to help you in your quest. Also the map system is a very good way to maintain progression through the game as 9 times out of 10 if you were stuck all you had to do was check the map, find the doors you hadnt entered yet and try and go into everyone until you found the way out. The puzzles in it were clever and the answers to them changed with the difficulty setting, throwing you that curveball so you couldn’t just blow through them.

The voice acting was pretty bad although the new voices they recorded for it were ok, the original voice acting was terrible although not as bad as the one example i hold above high as the pinnacle of bad bad bad bad voice acting namely shenmue 2 for the xbox they’d re dubbed it into english and oh man it sucked i’m shuddering even now thinking about it, why they couldn’t keep the original japanese voices in like they did with the dreamcast version i’ll never know.

Anyway im starting to go off track slightly, i reccomend this game a million times over its a lesson in how to tell a story well and how to craft an atmosphere that sucks the player in giving the player the feel of near total immersion. If your a survival horror fan….you’ve already played it but if your like me and still relatively new to the genre dont be afraid and buy it you wont be dissapointed.

Thanks for reading

Dave

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