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reviews >> playstation 2
Silent Hill 2

written by Shaun McCracken

Game Information
Publisher: Konami
Developer: KCET
Year Released: 2001
Players: 1
ESRB Rating: Mature

Visuals 9.25
The difference from the PS1 classic and the new PS2 installment is huge. Better textures and effects, better looking character models and even more disturbing to look at.
Audio 9.5
Sound was an important part in scaring the hell out of you and increasing the tension in the first game, and the second installment one ups that. Good voice acting.
Gameplay 8.5
The control scheme, while better than Resident Evil's, still can be a bit problematic and could use some fine tuning. At least we can carry as much stuff as we want to.
Replay Value 8.5
After you beat the game the first time, you may ponder to yourself if you want to go through this trip of terror again. If you do, you could get a different ending.
Reviewer's Impression 9.25
There's not the same sense of urgency of the first game in this sequel, but the storyline is decidedly more twisted and complex, and a lot more dramatic than before. There were a couple of times where I couldn't figure out where this game was headed, and everything I knew was wrong.
Overall 9.25
Lacks the urgency of the first game, but it looks, sounds and feels even more disturbing than ever before.

You may be wondering why this review has sprung up all the sudden. I actually did have an archived review I wrote for this game a long time ago (almost a year old) that appeared on my old site, but I went back and looked at it and felt it needed a little updating and a little more tweaking.

Silent Hill 3 may be on the way this May, but it doesn't hurt to take a look back at Konami's 2001 suspense thriller. Silent Hill 2 is evidently the sequel to the first Silent Hill. This time around, you take the role of James Sutherland, a jilted man with not much to lose after his wife's death a couple years back. All the sudden, he recieves a letter from his wife telling him to meet her at the "special place". Funny, thought she was dead, how can dead people write? Anyway, this letter takes him to Silent Hill, or should I say the other side of Silent Hill. There's a lake in the center of the town, so the resort is really split up on both sides. You won't be seeing any landmarks from the first SH, this seems like a whole new place. The first Silent Hill took place mostly in the residential area and the pier of Silent Hill. Now, you're on the more commercial side of the city, where you'll be going through apartments, bowling alleys and more.

If there's a way to put how Silent Hill is, it closely relates to "The Ring", if you've ever seen that movie. Kind of like how the people who saw the tape will die in seven days, people who enter Silent Hill usually never return, and yet with each installment, there seems to be something that calls them there. There's a pretty big mystery on how these people end up in this town, but towards the end, the game will usually tie up the loose ends. Makes the third upcoming game all the more mysterious.

Anyway, along your decent into a fanciful hell, you'll come across a few characters, each with their unique problems, and ultimately, their unique fates. The first person you meet up with is named Angelea. She is the most seemingly disturbed person out of the bunch, and later on, you'll find out why. Next, you'll come across a little girl named Laura. Again, she's a big mystery of who she is and if she reperesents someone. She's a real bitch, too. She will taunt you and kick away your keys and pretty much just f**k around with you. But if you meet certain conditions along the way for a specific ending, you'll be rather suprised on what happens with her. Then there's Maria, who looks a lot like James dead wife. She tags along with you, but be warned, after what events unfold, she should have stayed far away. Then we have Eddie, who is pretty much a whiny wussy, but has a strange development later on. Does it seem like I left a lot of holes? Well, I didn't want to spoil plot development for you.

Ok, now onto the technical aspects. First, the graphics. This is probably one of the better looking PS2 games to be released. Much more sharper and detailed than the first Silent Hill, and a lot more gruesome looking as well. Excellent character models, which is now probably overshadowed by the models in Resident Evil Zero, but still very well done. Expect to see much better in SH3. Everything flows at a much smoother framerate, and the effects are suitable and well done. I'm not sure how much better the X-Box version is, but seeing how it was a rather quick port, the games should look very similar across. I kind of hated Konami's decision to put this game on the X-Box, but now things have changed as their support for the system is diminishing quite a bit. But that's a different story.

The sound package is equally frightening. There are many events where the game will scare the crap out of you. Much like the first SH, there will be random bangs, slams and screams, plus the eerie atmospheric sound. The voice acting is really good as well. It doesn't run in Dolby Surround, but rather something called S-Force, which is like surround sound for low-end stereos and TV's. But really, how many gamers have the abillity to use Dolby Surround?

With Silent Hill 3 on the way, it's a good time to reflect on this PS2 classic. If you've never had the oppertunity to play this game, it is now a greatest hit and can be found for under $20. I suggest you pick up a copy if you want some guarunteed thrills and disturbing creepyness. But you may only want to play it in hour long burts. It can get very intense.