Regarded as the greatest survival horror game of all time.
The premise is simple enough and works wonders. The player assumes the role of, James Sunderland. A man who receives a letter from his wife, Mary, asking him to meet her in,“their special place” in a town called, Silent Hill. The only problem? Mary died of a chronic illness three years prior to James receiving this letter.
Acknowledging that this is probably some sort of cruel prank, James only follows through on the mysterious letter lead because he recognizes Mary’s handwriting on the outside of the envelope.
Simple and mysterious. Leaving you at the mercy of the writers and boy, do they take you for a ride.
Developed by KCET and published by Konami Silent Hill 2 was released on September 24th 2001.
Also note, that you don’t have to play the first Silent Hill to understand the story of the second because outside of the actual town, they are completely unrelated. It may help with some familiarity of random weapons, enemy encounters and acclimation to its now iconic fog but other then that it is a completely different beast.
The second entry in the series introduced gamers to the panic-inducing, Pyramid Head. The gigantic, otherworldly butcher that wields a steel sword and seems to terrorize and abuse even the most gruesome of creatures found around the twisted streets of the town. James’ first encounter with this nemesis happens earlier on in the game in an apartment building. James hiding in a closet watches the barbaric monster brutalize other creatures. As Pyramid Head nears the closet door James unloads a barrage of bullets into him, persuading the ogre to leave. So basically, unprovoked, you put like eight rounds into this guy and wonder then why he’s chasing you around for the rest of the game.
Anyways, moving on.
The disconnected dreamscape and feeling of loneliness never wears off even when you do run across characters scattered throughout the town’s many areas. Of course, you run into a little girl whose a brat and trolls the shit out of you. A series signature. There is also Eddie, a bumbling coward you always seems to find either vomiting or gorging himself on pizza and most intriguing of all is, Maria. Who looks identical to James’ late wife but dressed way sexier. Like Christian Aguilera. Literally.
There is not a lot to add about this game that hasn’t already been said in the past twenty years. It is significantly more focused than the first Silent Hill and remarkably mature. When I started this article I was a bit blown away by the fact it has been twenty years since the game came out. It’s themes are just so dark, and the terror manifests itself in such a disturbing, troubling way. It was leagues ahead of any horror game that came out before, during or after it.
Akira Yamaoka, again, delivers one of the most beautiful and polarizing game soundtracks of all time. Even stronger than his iconic previous effort.
Ultimately, Silent Hill 2 is a game so well crafted, starring a protagonist so deeply haunted, it’s an experience impossible to forget and an absolute must play for gamers new and old.
Overall: 96% (Platinum)