Let’s say your wife died three years ago due to an unnamed illness. Let’s also say that you just received a letter from your dead wife, informing you that she is not only alive, but in your shared “special place.” In Silent Hill. You know, the town riddled with cult worship, demonic babies, and undead nurses that still give me a weird boner. You would really have to be some kind of sadomasochist to even entertain the thought of going into that town, much less to look for a woman who’s been dead for three years.

Enter James Sunderland, who has arrived in Silent Hill, looking for his supposedly dead wife.

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Questionable motives of the protagonist aside, Silent Hill 2 is the best mindfuck I’ve ever experienced in a video game to this day. At first, the game looks nonthreatening, until you encounter your first monster. After that, it becomes more creepier by the minute, then finally settles into bat-shit insane, with a good number of “Holy Fuck” moments to make sure your pulse never rests.

Along the way, you run into several characters, each having their own reason for being in Silent Hill. Eddie, for example, was severely bullied all his life, and as he was running away from his problems, he felt the town “calling” to him. I really liked him as a secondary character, because every time you see him, his mental state deteriorates further, until he finally believes James is mocking him as much as his bullies. Then, you have to fight him in a slaughterhouse.

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Considering that this game is a psychological horror, and that James Sunderland is not trained in any form of combat whatsoever, it makes sense that the combat feels stiff and sloppy at times. After all, swinging a melee weapon, such as a steel pipe, is something that anyone can do with relative ease. I am still curious as to how he is able to use firearms with enough skill to hit his target, and reload them properly. Then again, the first firearm I got – the handgun – was found in a shopping cart…

Even though there is a decent amount of exploration around the town, the bulk of the game takes place indoors, in dark hallways. In spite of having limited vision with the flashlight, I never got the impression that I was wandering through the same hallways twice, even in those circumstances when I had to (Otherworld Hospital, for example). Each building felt unique; the water-damaged, paint-peeled walls of the apartments weren’t as creepy as the rusted interior of the abandoned prison. Even after all these years, I still hate going through the Labyrinth, not just because it’s slightly confusing to navigate, but also because I may accidentally run into Pyramid Head.

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The monsters in Silent Hill 2 are freaky and disgusting – and I love them for it. Each one of them represents a physical manifestation of the fractured subconscious’ of James and the other characters. Pyramid Head is created out of James’ repressed guilt and desire to be punished. A good chunk of those “Holy Fuck” moments I alluded to earlier were caused by Pyramid Head’s sudden appearance. It was a shock when I first walked in on Pyramid Head doing something unspeakable to those apartment mannequins, and I nearly pissed myself when he showed up in the hospital.

There is also a moment in the prison where I came across…something pacing back and forth in its cell. It can’t be seen, but it weirds me out because I can hear it. I can still kill it with my shotgun, if I want to, but it doesn’t affect the game in any way, and I feel like a monster after I do so. This is just one of the many moments in the game that fuck with my head, regardless of my actions, and I feel like the developers lost an opportunity to have this affect the game’s ending.

Of which there are six. And yes, the UFO ending from Silent Hill 1 is back!

About The Author

Todd Pasalic

Slightly insane, 30-something video gamer, with a penchant for Nutella.

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  • Aggro Sky

    Great article as always Todd. You had me laughing out loud in that first paragraph :D

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  • tsakalov

    Great article. I read it all listening to SH2 music.
    I started again playing the SH2, for a second time, out of boredom. But I find myself being on edge, even when I do not move! And I have been playing only for one hour!

  • Antigonos Gonatias

    Yeah,I listen to the theme song every now and then.Are you playing the old version or the HD re-release?

  • tsakalov

    The old one mate. But because I am too old for this shit I am… cheating a little bit! :$ Τι a little bit δηλαδή… άστα να πάνε…

  • Antigonos Gonatias

    Κατάλαβα :) Mε τους κωδικούς εχει κάποια γαμάτα easter eggs…I was asking about the version because of the voice overs.The HD version used other actors for certain characters.I am wondering which version is better.

  • tsakalov

    Κάνω old-school cheating. Χρησιμοποιώ έναν trainer και καταλάθος βρέθηκα να έχω άπειρο ammo και ζωή.
    As for the HD, I will check on YouTube to see the differences.

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