Like Final Fantasy before it, Silent Hill veered off in a new direction following the well-recieved original. It wasn’t too different, however, as this is part of the original ‘trilogy’ of roughly comparable entries in the series. You no longer follow Harry Mason, but are instead put into the shoes of James Sunderland, a man looking for his deceased wife in the titular town, following his receipt of a letter beckoning him to the place they once held dear.
The game follows the same basic formula as Silent Hill, tasking you with exploring a new portion of the misty and foreboding resort town while solving simple environmental puzzles and a few logic puzzles of varying degrees of difficulty. The environments you explore are all easily seen as symbolic after you have completed the game at least once. The puzzles can also be seen through that lens if you have the inclination to place them in its line of sight. The combat is stiff for the most part, but there are enough bullets to go around, assuming you don’t waste them on enemies in the streets.
As always with these games, value is mainly garnered from the story and the atmosphere created by the exquisitely chosen environments. Anyone with a penchant for urban exploration and the deeper corners of the human mind...probably already loves this series! If you haven’t played a Silent Hill game, however, this is a fantastic introduction, as you do not need to have played the original to enjoy this one. It has the strongest story and some of the most memorable music in the entire series.
The game’s biggest strength is that even if you cannot personally empathize with James, you will still have conflicting and sometimes violent emotions roused in you as you traverse the town and his psyche, simultaneously.
This game is available in its original release on the PS2. However, there is a Greatest Hits version which adds in the UFO ending and a playable sub-scenario for Maria, one of the characters in the game. This “complete” version is also available as Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams on the Xbox. The PC port contains these extra features, as well.
Don't bother with the HD remake. If you're curious as to why, AFTER you've played this in its proper form, check out Twin Perfect and Fungo's documentary on the subject, which can be found on Youtube.
5 Special Places out of 5
Nutted by NEG