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Old 09-12-2006, 05:48 AM   #53
Drunken Savior
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Silent Hill 2 (PS2, Xbox, PC)


Released 09/24/01 (NA), 09/27/01 (JP), 11/23/01 (EU)
*Restless Dreams released on the XBox on 12/20/01 (NA), 02/22/02 (JP), 10/04/02 (EU)*
(Made for the PS2 and then ported to the Xbox and PC)

Director: Masashi Tsuboyama
Producer: Akihiro Imamura
Music: Akira Yamaoka
Scenario Writer: Hiroyuki Owaku

Graphics: A-
Sound: A+
Story: A+
Gameplay: B-

Overall Score:

It is with great pride and admiration that I get to review the game that got me hooked into games, again. Metal Gear Solid on the Sony Playstation solidified the notion that videogames can tell a story that rivals the top scripts of their Hollywood counterparts for their respective genre. Silent Hill shows me that videogames can not only rival their counterparts, they can surpass it.

My favorite book of all time is Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, written in 1899. While very short (the book is usually under 100 pages), the pages are THICK. You'll find yourself reading only ten or so pages in a long period. The book is very thick, filled with symbolism about a man sent to investigate a man in the Congo. The story was the basis of F.F. Coppola's 'Apocalypse Now.'

So it finally happens. In my first video game review, it takes me 150 words to finally say the title of the game. Silent Hill 2 marks survival horror?s high point, effortlessly blending a solid atmospheric story with complimenting imagery and a masterful audio experience. This triple pronged attack is rarely seen in survival horror, totally immersing you and effecting your mind, eyes, and ears.

Is James going crazy, or are there really monsters after him?

Silent Hill stars the widowed James Sunderland, who recently laid his wife, Mary, to rest from a terminal disease. However, three years after, he recives a letter from his wife, beckoning him to the town of Silent Hill, their ?special place.? Desperately missing his wife, he returns to Silent Hill, only to find that their ?special place? is no longer bustling with activity, but thick with fog, and desolate. A ghost town. Even worse, strange monsters begin attack James, who begins to question his own sanity. As James wonders the town, following a trail of hints, he is stalked by a giant knife wielding butcher called Pyramid Head, a manboy Eddie Dombrowski, the suicidal Angea Orosco, the young Laura (who is oblivious to the monsters around her), and finally Maria, who bares a hypersexual resemblance to Mary, James? wife.

I could literally talk for hours about the story?s plot and how I look at it. In high school, my essay on ?The Heart of Darkness? was ?the best I have ever seen? according my honors AP English teach, senior year. I spent a lot of time pondering the plot of HoD, but Silent Hill 2 takes the cake. Feel free to IM me whenever to talk about SH2's storyline.


James finds a photograph of the killer that stalks him throughout the town...Pyramid Head.
(Gameplay Photo)

Silent Hills graphics were, at the time, above average. I felt that the graphics had a very plastic look, more so than most video games. However, the art direction is amazing. Silent Hill 2 is a dual world, one organic, the other artificial. In one world, you will see a building abandoned, boarded up with plywood. In another, the same building will feature a rusty building, with chain link fencing for windows, with the door wide open, beckoning you into the nightmare. While Silent Hill 2 is not a technically impressive game, the developers have used their polygons wisely. The art direction totally works, immersing the player in a dark atmosphere that keeps the fright factor way high. Even the monsters, predominantly women, all play a role in deciphering the game?s story.


James and Maria share a momment...

Akira Yamaoka. Remember his name. This guy is, in my opinion, Silent Hill. He knows when to include sound to increase the terror. He also knows when to take it away to create terror. While most of the game do not feature a musical track, the music is very atmospheric, dark, and puzzling (as in it accents the mystery of the game). His sound work is excellent. In one particular level, you enter a long hallway, and are treated to the sound of footsteps behind you. As you walk down the hallway, the footsteps get closer. You turn around, they stop?and you see nothing. You continue back down the hallway, the footsteps return. Top notch work, the official bar by which all survival horror games should aspire to.


Angela's story is probably the saddest of them all...

Silent Hill is plagued by the same clich? control scheme in survival horror games of its day: tank controls. Up moves your forward, left and right rotate your character on an axis. It drove me crazy running, turning, and running. As you get used to the controls, you?ll learn how to turn, but never feel like you have solid control, which hurts in a game where the control of your character can determine your fate.

However, with it?s multiple endings, you?ll probably play this game around 3 times after your initial purchase if you dig survival horror games.


Prepare to have you mind f***ed.
(Gameplay Photo)

Final Thoughts.... SPOILERS BELOW!!
The story of Silent Hill 2 is left open on purpose. Konami has said none of the endings are official cannon and it is up to the reader to decide how the story ends. Each of the serious endings each puts it?s own tint on the story. Here are some questions I propose to you upon completing the game. There is no single most right answer.

1)Is Silent Hill 2 a story about revenge, justice, or life?
2)Is the town of Silent Hill ?punishing? James or is Mary controlling Silent Hill to do her own punishing?
3)Is Mary actually Mary? That is, is James? wife controlling Silent Hill or is Silent Hill manipulating James with visions of his wife?
4)Who is guilty in Silent Hill or murder? Who is justified in murder?
5)What is the significance of a solitary punisher (Pyramid Head)?
6)What was Pyramid Head actually doing to that monster in the beginning of the game?
7)Why was Maria a sexual version of Mary?

You can write essays on the plot. It?s the best dramatic story in all of videogames.

Games I'm hyped for
The Last of Us Part 2, RE2 Remake, The Last Night

Current Platforms:
PC (i7-7700K, 16GB, GTX 980Ti), Wii U, PS4

Last edited by Drunken Savior; 09-12-2006 at 06:28 AM.
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