Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Oct 162019
 

With as much as I like the Silent Hill series, it might surprise you to know that this month was the first time I ever played Silent Hill 2.

I got into the series by watching Let’s Plays, so I was familiar with the game and its story, but I hadn’t actually played it myself.

This year, however, I picked up a used copy of Silent Hill 2 (and 3!) and sat down to play it as one of my spooky October games.

Silent Hill 2 is a fantastic game and one of the best survival horror games out there. I know everyone says that, and I still personally favor Silent Hill 4, but Silent Hill 2 really is great. It’s mechanically sound, and its structure and game design are still fantastic.

When I think of the Silent Hill gameplay formula of exploring, solving puzzles, and unlocking doors while following clues or trying to reach your actual destination, Silent Hill 2’s structure perfectly demonstrates what I have in mind.

That might sound a little weird, but that’s really one of the things I love about this genre.

The atmosphere is great, too. Silent Hill 2 isn’t the sort of horror game that’s filled with jump scares or will have you hiding in dread, but it builds up a wonderfully unsettling atmosphere. The nurses in particular stood out to me. I had never realized just how freaky the Silent Hill 2 nurses are until I had to stand there, waiting to strike while they lurched closer and closer.

A lot of modern survival horror games choose to make you a helpless protagonist instead, but games like Silent Hill are proof that you can have the ability to fight back but still never quite feel safe.

And can we talk about the radio? The radio is a great gameplay feature, because it lets you know when there are monsters nearby, but that also increases the tension. Whenever I heard that radio crackle, I knew I couldn’t let down my guard.

Story-wise, Silent Hill 2 isn’t disturbing so much as sad. It’s really a sad story, not only for James, but for the other characters as well. Even though I knew how everything goes, I still loved watching each scene and even thought of some new things about the story’s foreshadowing that hadn’t occurred to me before.

Click for Silent Hill 2 spoilers
I had always wondered why Silent Hill 2 references Walter Sullivan not once but three times. They can’t have planned his role in Silent Hill 4 that far back, right? As of Silent Hill 2, he’s just a random backstory character, yet he gets undue attention.

Then last night, as I was finishing it up, it occurred to me: it’s foreshadowing the truth about James.

Walter is a murderer. He’s seen Pyramid Head. He has a grave in the graveyard.

What if the recurring references to Walter are meant to point toward the inevitable conclusion, that James, who has also seen Pyramid Head and has a grave in the graveyard, is also a murderer?

Regardless, I like it, not only because of the connections to Silent Hill 4, but also because the quiz show part of the game is so bizarre and surreal.

In short, Silent Hill 2 is a fantastic, atmospheric survival horror game that still holds up well today, and if you haven’t had a chance to play it, I really recommend you do so.

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  7 Responses to “Celebrating All Things Spooky: Silent Hill 2”

  1. It does surprise me that you never played it. What version did you play?

  2. Haha, you thought I’d forgotten about your contest but I did NOT! Prepare for a barrage of comments, muwahaha!

    I can’t believe you mentioned the quiz show as an aspect of the game being surreal and not the strange voice acting or can of lightbulbs. XD

    I agree it’s almost more sad than truly scary, at least not in the same way Silent Hill 1 and 3 are pure scary. Angela’s story is still one of my favorite aspects of Silent Hill 2 (and a huge inspiration for my “Sins of the Fathers” story).

    • I welcome the barrage of comments. 😛

      Oh, the can of lightbulbs is wonderful, but the quiz show is just so bizarre, especially since they only acknowledge it with Maria asking, “What was that?” at the end.

      I’d also say Silent Hill 4 has more of a scary atmosphere because of the immortal ghosts, especially after the halfway point when the apartment is no longer safe. Silent Hill 2 definitely has disturbing aspects, though. Like I mentioned in my review, the nurses were much freakier than I remembered from the Let’s Plays, probably because I was dealing with them directly.

  3. […] thing you were talking about!” They do, but I played Silent Hill 2 for the first time just last month, and it felt so much better to […]

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