SILENT HILL 2 (Developer: Team Silent, Publisher: Konami, Platform: Playstation 2)
Silent Hill 2 doesn’t play all that well. With it’s tank controls and, somewhat, clumsy combat, experiencing the game for a brief 30 minute session will evoke a sense of frustration. It isn’t about tight mechanics, levelling up, loot, 60fps or co-op. Silent Hill 2 is about being James Sunderland; feeling his inner pain and anguish as he tries to piece together the whereabouts of his wife. James arrives in Silent Hill in a state of confusion; his wife (Mary) who passed 3 years ago, has sent him a letter asking him to visit her in the town. As you progress, you come across a number of similarly tormented characters, each with their own story and it soon becomes apparent that the town and it’s inhabitants aren’t there by chance.
One of the more interesting characters James meets is Maria, a mirror image of Mary in terms of physical appearance, but similarities between the two end there as there is a distinct contrast in personalities. James realises this, but soon becomes infatuated with his new, improved ‘Mary’. Maria is everything he would have liked Mary to have been, but there is something a little off. Her story unfolds as the game progresses
Silent Hill 2’s setting, music (Akira Yamoaka soundtrack is breathtaking) and melancholy combine to create a dream (or nightmare) like atmosphere, that draws the player in. There are no jump scares as such; the horror lies in uncovering the mystery of the town’s inhabitants, it’s imagery and unusual ‘enemies’ – The first encounter with the games primary antagonist is disturbing to say the least. When the truth unravels and the game draws to a close the reality is both shocking and heartbreaking, for both James and the player.