The second entry in the Silent Hill franchise, Silent Hill 2 is a narrative-focused third-person psychological horror game with exploration and puzzle-solving elements which follows James Sunderland, a man who receives a letter, seemingly sent by his three-years-deceased wife Mary, in which he is beckoned to the fog-ridden town of Silent Hill at the same time as numerous other people troubled by their past.
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Obviously spoilers, I briefly mention things about the characters and endings midway through the review.
There's over 200 reviews of this game, so I refuse to just add one to the pile and leave it at that. This will be my raw, 12am opinion on the game. I will not edit this review or even read it before posting.
Yeah this sucks. The actual gameplay I mean. Silent Hill 1 was the fucking shit, pure exploration, cathartic to just run through. Sure, there wasn't a whole lot to actually explore, but the act of finding all these smaller areas and even whole side quests just out of the way was fun, and Silent Hill 2 pretty much completely ditches that. Despite the actual part of Silent Hill we're in being far larger than a lot of 1's Silent Hill, there isn't a whole lot to do. You bumble around and every damn building is closed, outside of main levels there's only like four buildings you can go into, and two are expressly for story events (bowling alley and Heaven's Night). I'm not saying it has to abide by the groundwork 1 laid out, but it sure as shit is disappointing when it comes along and does nothing with it.
Guess this calls into question my five stars huh. Well, thankfully, SH2 more than makes up for its faults in the gameplay department by having one of the best stories in video games. No hyperbole here, it is one of the greatest and most mature games to hit the market since Silent Hill 1, and wouldn't be rivalled till Silent Hill 3 came out. What I'm getting at is that these games were on another level. You look around when SH2 came out and you got fucking a billion RE ripoffs, none of them even rivalling the "class" of that franchise (still love CVX xoxo), and SH2 comes in with fucking ANGELA. Now THAT'S a character. You try and throw fucking Eddie in the next David Cage game and you won't even believe how many allegations of internal abuse will come out.
And by god the VOICE ACTING. I hate that the HD collection exists, because it allowed a bunch of uncultured dumbass twitter posters to go online and act all smug saying "hurr durr sh2's voice acting wasn't that good" and then they quote Mary McG word for word when she mocked Angela's VA FOR PERFECTLY PORTRAYING HER CHARACTER! These characters end up feeling far more believable when you see their awkward and stilted conversations at the start matched against their far more raw and emotional ones near the end (though Guy Cihi's voice sounds pretty weird in some scenes, like they tried to mask some echo).
And about the story, newsflash to all those In Water fans. Yeah, it sucks, sorry, Leave is the best ending. James adopting Laura is cute, don't care about what SH4 says, "My wife's fiance went missing" DO NOT CARE. Yeah the novel uses In Water. Well I read the novel, it sucked too (except that bit in it where Eddie gets eaten by a bunch of dogs). Maria is also the actual bad end btw, easily darker than In Water, which is surprising considering the fucking name "In Water". Rebirth is also cool, but for the love of god could people please stop posting about the dog ending, every damn day for 15 years. THE UFO ENDING IS FUNNIER!
The worst part about this game though is its fucking legacy. When Twin Perfect said every game after 4 copies SH2, they were right on the money. It's not just copying the story, every following game felt the need to straight up rip motifs, monsters, themes, set pieces, etc., it's all so damn shameless. The first boss in Origins is literally a straight jacker monster from SH2 (after you wandered a hospital filled with SH2 nurses as well, despite it being Alchemilla and Travis being a trucker). HOMECOMING. God, have you seen Homecoming? It's fucking terrible, I've bought it like 5 times because everytime I replay it I end up getting rid of it somehow, it's so damn bad. The only SH game to actually fulfill the RE clone label (and it rips off SH2 because Pyramid Head (more like Pyramid Hat though, amirite?)). Shattered Memories is a big meme, but let's all be honest, it wasn't that good. If it wasn't basically only on the Wii, nobody would give a shit about it. Borderline 0 gameplay or puzzles, with a predictable story that opens with the most obnoxiously smug thing possible. "This game plays you as much as you play it" eat a fucking dick Barlow, you wrote fucking Her Story. Downpour still sucks, but at least it referenced my baby, Silent Hill 4. Would talk about the other SH2 ripoffs, but we already know they're all bad too.
So in conclusion, was Silent Hill 2 REALLY good.