on 7 November 2001
With the Resident Evil series off to Nintendo for a while, thank goodness we have the Silent Hill games to keep us going. Having said that, they are very different playing experiences. Resdent Evil games are full of thrills, action, and are great fun to play. No one, however, could describe Silent Hill 2 as 'fun', exactly... but it is probably the PS2's most compulsive game to date. It's also undoubtedly the most unpleasant - a really disturbing game which will continue to haunt you long after you've finished it. It's 'The Blair Witch Project' to Resident Evil's less subtle 'Nightmare On Elm Street'. The terror here comes not so much from shock moments (a Resi trademark), but from what you can't see but know is 'out there'. It features the most impressive and effective sound effects in any PS2 game so far - particularly the infamous radio which produces static whenever a monster is in your vicinity, without giving you a clue as to which direction it will spring from. The controls may be a little rusty and occassionally frustrating, but the graphics are absolutely stunning, and the plot is as twisted and macabre as you could possibly wish for. The only slight criticism I would make is that at times, the grim environments and gory encounters become almost uncomfortably oppressive; I found myself switching off a couple of times just to take a break from the game's unremittingly bleak vision. But then, you know what you're signing up for when you order this, and I do urge you to try it. For intelligent and chillingly atmospheric gameplay, this title cannot be beaten. Just remember - this is DEFINITELY an adults-only experience... and try not to have nightmares.
on 15 May 2004
I want to add my voice to the other reviewers who have given this game a big thumbs up.
Silent Hill 2 is one of the best games I've ever played (and I'm including SHs 1 and 3 here). The storyline is absorbing, the atmosphere throughout is incredibly tense and, on occasion, terrifying, the graphics/cut scenes are excellent and the monsters are hideous (Pyramid Head is the stuff that nightmares are made of). You spend the game dashing from one creepy location to another with your trusty broken radio letting you know when the nasties are out there, even when you can't see them (the static radio noise signalling danger close-by has got to be one of the most effective devices ever used in a game for cranking up the tension). As you move about you collect various bits and pieces and solve puzzles - I found the level of difficulty to be about right; I had to think about the puzzles but I was never completely stumped for any length of time.
I'm not kidding about the scare factor - I'm in my 30s and fond of horror games but I still had to get my boyfriend out of bed in the middle of the night to come and sit with me the first time I played it. It's not just the 'something jumps out of the shadows at you and you get a fright' type horror (although there is that) but a slow build up of tension throughout combined with very disturbing images and a storyline that deals with serious subject matter. It was still giving me the heebie-jeebies long after I turned the consol off. People of a nervous disposition: beware!
This is certainly not what I would call an easy game but the (sometimes tricky but ultimately) manageable puzzles and range of weaponry means that you will probably have a reasonably smooth time. Don't get me wrong, you will be killed...horribly... quite regularly (in my case often in dark corners of the hospital by knife wielding nurse zombies who seemed to have an above average grasp of ambush tactics and could withstand several swipes of a metal pipe) but you probably won't come to a complete 'tearing your hair out in frustration' type standstill anywhere. In a game like this it is quite nice not to interfere with the movie like feel of the story to spend 3 hours trying to work out a puzzle or kill a Boss. The downside to this is that it's on the short side. If you are a reasonably experienced gamer with normal abilities (like me) you will finish it within a day easily.
The shortness of the game is offset somewhat by the fact that there are different endings. The story is such that you will be curious about how else things could turn out for poor James and you will probably end up playing SH2 through again and again, doing things slightly differently, to see them all.
A great game with decent re-play value. Give it a go.
on 2 March 2006
Where to begin? I bought this on an impulse a couple of months ago, and what an impulse it turned out to be. To say that it's now five years old, the graphics still stand up brilliantly to the test of time - monsters wriggle and glisten, shadows dance in front of your torch and characters speak in near-perfect lip-synching.
Important: if you like bright, cheerful games, or if you're faint-hearted, Silent Hill 2 is most certainly NOT the game for you!! Your character, James Sunderland, is drawn to the town of Silent Hill by a letter from his wife - the problem being that she's been dead for 3 years. As you venture deeper into the town, the nightmare begins to truly unfold, as you are pitched against all manner of eyeless, groping horrors with initially nothing but a two-by-four to defend yourself with. This is what ratchets up the tension to 11: the control system is barely sufficient and fighting is hard. You are, after all, just a man; no special powers or heavy weapons.
Make no mistake, this is one heavy game. In addition to your mission to find your late wife, the storyline involves intense, harrowing sequences with the other (human) characters, exploring the cheery themes of child abuse, bullying, bereavement, self-harm, insanity and murder.
To say much more would give the game away (no pun intended), so if you like very deep, extreme survival horror with puzzles, this is the game for you. Bear in mind, though, this game will stick in your mind long after you have finished playing it (playing in daylight is taxing enough, but switch on in the dead of night - I dare ya!) Seriously. Only the Prince Of Persia trilogy has ever left this kind of imprint on me.
Nonetheless, it's cheap at twice the price - if being unsettled doesn't bother you over much, and you like survival horror, where have you been all this time? Buy it!
on 18 January 2005
Silent Hill 2 is, for my money, the best horror game available on PS2 even now.
Athough it does take a while to get going, a few hours in and you'll be hooked. Whereas other titles use shock tactics, this game builds up an atmosphere of tension, generating a true fear of what's around the next corner or through the next door. This is all due to the exellent music, SFX, and the low visibility maintained throughout (fantastic fog and darkness effects). Also the lack of big weapons and ammo is a plus, you only have weapons that you chance across, giving a sense of vunreability that never really ceaces.
A true strength of this game is it's plot. Sometimes it will leave you confused, but it is a key element and will keep you playing 'till the end. For this reason I found it to be the best of the Silent Hill series. In fact, there is even a combat free difficulty setting, which shows the plot's strength. How many other horror titles can boast that?
The directors cut version offers a extra chapter where you play as Maria, and explains how she came to be in Silent Hill. Although interesting it doesn't really offer much extra to the game, and doesn't really tie in with the ending of the main game(due to one of the plot twists).
on 29 November 2001
Silent Hill 2 is indeed a truly unsettling experience. Players of the original will remember how the game put the willies up you like nothing before, at that includes Resi Evil. Resident Evil games are of course great, and as addictive as they come, but they did'nt instill a real sense of fear. Blowing a zombies head off was a barrel of laughs and therefore you looked forward to meeting them. You don't enjoy meeting your foes in SH2. It is ultimately a bleak game, but for some reason you keep on playing. The game must be played alone, on a good system, in the dark, for it's appeal to be fully realised. The graphics come to life once you obtain the flashlight, and from then on in, you will marvel at the lighting effects. If you liked the original, you'll love this. If you're a newcomer, and you don't mind you're head being messed with - buy this game. Play it in the right atmosphere and you'll get the most out of it. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but it offers a gaming experience unrivalled on any machine. If you play this game alone and claim not to be scared - you're lying.
on 20 August 2004
Silent hill 2 is not your average horror game if your looking for a action laden gun toting adventure look to resident evil but if you want a game that scares you & messes with your mind you need look no futher.
The game really gets your adrenline going when you play it alone at night, at every sound your heart jumps making this game a true work of art.
Another different aspect of this game is the power of suggestion for instance you unearth a secret basement in the hospital where someone's blood covers the bullet ridden walls.
The final twist doesen't come to the last half hour when the games hidden secrets are revealed & it will blow your mind. Also to keep you going there are 5 endings to unlock & bonus weapons to play with.
Also included is a bonus making of disk which gives you a deep interesting look into the making of the game along with a photo gallery,game makers bios,traliers & a free sticker
All in all it's the ultimate horror game in the ultimate package
on 21 April 2015
This is my favourite Silent Hill game of the first 3 games. The first one is scary as hell but the graphics are dated. The 3rd game is also amazing and scary as hell but lacks the story. The second is my favourite because although it is not as scary as its surrounding numbers the story is incredible and heart wrenching. I love all the characters but really got sucked into the story here. Angela in particular really caught my attention. She is seriously messed up and the reason she is in silent hill sheds light on a very dark serious subject matter. Maria is amazing also and she comes in second favourite for this game. My god she torments poor James, pushing and pulling his feelings. Her character design was really well thought out and you just don't know what she is going to say next. One minute she is overly flirty and the next she is screaming in his face.
Pyramid head is exclusive to this game and he is not just a random enemy that you encounter. He is a proper designed character that also has his own depth. Not only is he a representation of James mental state but he is also a guide for James and regularly "scares" you towards a certain areas (labyrinth and closed off sections). . I didn't cop on to this until the 3rd time I played the game. He is designed in such a way that you are not just scared of him but you respect why he is scary.
The enemies in this game are absolutely frightening not because they are scary looking but because they are just so disturbing. There is one particular one called mannequins and they just set off every nerve in my body when I see them or when my flash light falls on them. Their design is so clever because they wont set off your radio as they don't move until you are practically on top of them, they just bloody stand there. When you hit them they make this horrible deep crying noise, ugh its just so effective.
The nurses are very formidable, unless you are on the beginner or easy level. They can take some damage and inflict it if they get you trapped in a corner. They are the ones I am afraid to come up against the most because if you get caught with a few of them they will not hesitate to beat the balls out of you with steal pipes. There is something just so scary to see a faint shape of a nurse coming out from the darkness while you hear the soundtrack start to pound on your nerves. The lying figures are the easiest to kill once they are standing up but they can cause problems if the spray you and serious heart attacks when they come flying out from under cars. Just like pyramid head they are not just random enemies and all have some deep seeded representation of how messed up James is and show it in their own little ways.
The gameplay is hard because the controls are super clunky and James is slow to do what he is told. When you want to kick something that is on the ground he really takes his time and this can be frustrating in that it will cost you bullets. Turning is annoying but if you hit R1 and R2 at the same time James will flip a 180 degrees and that is a time saver. Its also really freaky the way he does it. There are little things like that thrown in such as when you come through a door and there are enemies in the area, when you turn to face them the camera will tilt slightly and give you a blurred vision just to mess with you and I found it really effective to gameplay. The darkness and fog are really good just to keep your imagination on gear 6. The soundtrack will do a number on your nervous system without even trying too hard, all the elements work together to maximise the players experience. On the other hand there is a hugely effective plan that they had and that is to plunge the player into absolute silence when they enter an area. I have found myself frozen and not wanting to move. Its just like in a horror movie when all the music stops you just know something will happen. In this game its not so straight forward.
The place you encounter are great to keep everything fresh and are always changing. My favourite place is the apartment building because it is the first time in the game where they really start to turn up the heat when it comes to tension and soundtrack. The long hallways are really dark and they throw you in there without a flash light. You actually have to go looking for it.
Oh just as a note from personal experience. When it comes to games like this, especially this one, I have found it invaluable to have a pen and pad beside you to let you know where certain items can be found such as the gun and the flashlight. I saved so much time running around by just knowing what rooms to find certain items such as the flash light and the hand gun.
Look, I could seriously go on for another 2 hours about just how amazing this game is. If you are interested in experiencing something unique, deep, clever and memorable just pick up the HD collection, unless of course you still own a ps2. This game is deep, scary and beyond value for money. There are not games like this out there and it is one that you can invest in as there is huge replay ability. Its a classic and will continue to stand the test of time. Its a game where you should just sit down, turn out the light and take your time, read all the memo's and pay attention to the story because it is truly impressive as far as games go. Don't forget to have a go of Maria's side quest that will give you more insight into her character as well as the story in general.
on 19 September 2002
Survival Horror - a genre that in itself was a contradiction from the start. On the one hand you take a form of entertainment (as in to be entertained and derive enjoyment), in this case the video game and then add another element - the horror movie (to be scared s**tless, to freak out). Resident Evil was the first main player in this genre and the series delivered short,sharp shock tactics with a plot that spawned its monsters from a biological experiment. Yes the spiders were lifelike, the zombies straight out of a romero movie and the other horrors gruesome enough to put you on edge at least untill you put down the gamepad. And then there is Silent Hill. Although obviously oweing a debt to Resident Evil this is no twin or sibling and even if it were it'd be a harsher,blacker and far deader version. Basically what you have here is something that you have to remind yourself is JUST a game. Because sometimes whilst playing, it surely doesn't feel like one. The first game is not essential to play the sequel although both are as bleak, dark and nasty with that surreal eerieness that most horror writers/directors can only dream of. Perhaps the game lies somewhere between H P Lovecraft's writings and David Lynch's Twin Peaks but even so far darker than both. That games like this get released for a market that is predominantly for children/teenagers is amazing considering the content. I certainly wouldn't let any kid near this unless they wanted nightmares for weeks. Some have complained that this sequel is not as creepy as the first but considering the graphic and sound improvements of the PS2 over the Playstation you'd have to be crazy or emotionally invincible to be any less terrified. So is this entertainment? Do you like being scared? Thought so.
on 27 November 2010
If you've played Silent Hill 1, the first thing you will notice is how different this one is to the original. The disturbing creatures are still there, it's still as scary as ever, yet the characters (most of them) all seem incredibly crazy and rather than taking a paranormal view of things, I think Silent Hill 2 focuses more on the trauma and deep psychological damage of the characters. We've got James Sunderland who is looking for his dead wife, we've got Maria who looks like James' dead wife Mary, but who dresses more provocatively, Angela Orosco who had a horrible childhood and is now facing her demons in the form of monsters (there's a creature called an 'Abstract Daddy' that seems to be a manifestation of Angela's mind), Eddie Dombrowski who kills people because they looked at him funny and ridiculed his appearance, and Laura, a seeminly sane little girl who seems to have been caught up in everyone elses insanity.
The graphics are a vast improvement to the original though at times I find it can be a little dark, especially in the apartments and the hotel. I really like the effect of the flashlight and in a way it's realistic. You wouldn't expect a flashlight to light up a whole area so at least it's realistic.
Creatures are easier to kill this time, as there is plenty of ammo if you look in the right places and the steel pipe is very long so you can easily kill a creature from quite far away (James jabs at the creature he's aiming at usually which I find is really effective).
The music is incredible. Eerie yet moving and oddly appropriate in some areas (such as the graveyard) creepy in other parts and noisy and electronic in areas that are dark and closed in. It gives me the feeling of claustrophobia and panic even though I'm not claustrophobic.
on 9 September 2007
With stunning video graphics and detail in so many areas, the feel of silent hill2 is all to real. But for those of you who think resident evil is scarier, why not try and play the game properly, instead of playing for 5 minutes, because if you think shooting grunting zombies with heavily overpowered weapons is scary, i dare you to play this game.
With possibly the scariest creation of creature in all of gaming, Pyramid head. A Towering beast of a man with a large metal triangular helmet, drenched in blood. and if this wasnt scary enough, Konami gave him a huge, rusty sword, which he drags along the ground sending shivers down your spine no wobbly zombie could ever hope to do.
This game shows some of the most original terrifying places and situations you could ever imagine, with dark, dreery hospitals with demonic creatures dwelling in the darkness, to blood stained apartments with no light but reflections from mirrors and dead nurses to find your way.
There is a real depth to the story as well unlike many other horror games, as James goes in search for his late wife Mary who died, but has mysteriously sent him letters telling him to meet her in Silent hill, and James encounters Maria.. The creatures also have a depth that makes them scarier than any other.
think of a dead person in normal clothes with some blood on them, make them slow and wobbly and make them grunt occaisionly. DULL
Now, Take a nurse in full uniform, in a short skirt, and hat, holding a scalpal/syringe/pipe, with a bandaged up face with blood stains soaked through and watch her walk on her high heels shaking with some body spazams. SCARY STUFF
Without doubt, the scariest game on ps2.