Silent Hill 2
Review By: Jeff

Hello, I'm writing this because I said I'd write something for this site a while ago and wouldn't want to disappoint those I've learned to accept as my enemies that must be defeated if I'm to gain control of the lower east side of Jerkwater Idaho. So the question remains what to write? Well seeing as I have a PS2 and a copy of that Silent Hill 2 game all the kids are playing when they're not smoking the weed or stealing my mailbox, I guess I'll talk about it.

Silent Hill 2 is what people in the "Industry" refer to as a "Survival Horror" game which in reality means you solve stupid ass puzzles while beating the shit out of zombies. While some game developers try to make up a story justifying the need to blow zombies into a zillion tiny pieces, they usually end up with that all too familiar plot, "A Government Agency/Mad Scientist creates a horde of the un-dead to use for warfare/revenge because of a huge conspiracy or the late fee from an overdue video tape and its up to you and your team of Super Military Commando Ninjas to kill the bad guys and save the day. Thankfully, Silent Hill 2 has a different method for explaining its zombie inhabitants and once I figure out what the fuck that is, I'll be sure to let you know. Anyway now that I've wasted two paragraphs worth of space, on with the game.

The story of SH2, as the youngsters call it, is that of James Sunderland who suffers from depression and bouts of suicidal urges due to the death of his wife, Mary, three years ago. So as you can see, James is just your average guy no different from your local butcher or the UPS guy that tries to run you over every week. One day James receives a letter from his dead wife telling him that she's waiting for him and some sweet lovin' once he gets his ass to Silent Hill. Kicking common sense in its sack, James hops in his car and heads to town to find his wife all the while forgetting that dead people can't write letters and aren't allowed to buy stamps let alone mail anything because they're communists. The game itself begins inside a bathroom, which is fitting cause the big question about the PS2 was whether or not it could accurately portray a restroom setting, the answer is yes. After washing his hands and walking outside you'll be filled in on everything I just said in this paragraph and then get to run a brisk two miles to the local cemetery where you'll meet to first of a couple people that aren't trying to eat your face. That's pretty much the main plot, the rest involves flashbacks, after school special stories and lots of hot monster rape action, I'm serious.

If you played Silent Hill 2's cleverly titled predecessor Silent Hill then you should have no problem getting into this one but for those who haven't, I'll work off some of my community service and explain the routine familiar with the "Survival Horror" genre. We know by now the main goal is to find Mary somewhere in the maze of locked doors and missing roads that is Silent Hill. This is done by moving James through the city, via a 3rd person perspective, and searching every building you can enter and checking every body that's not wobbling towards you moaning like my next door neighbor. Inside these buildings, you'll find ammo, health drinks or some message that makes no damn sense but in reality is a clue to a puzzle or important item location.

For example a message might be, "My salvation lays with the checkered man." Now most people would see that and say, "Whatever Fucknut", and continue to randomly search room to room when the message really means, "The Jackoff in the Plaid shirt has the Coin of Super Jesus", which is needed in a puzzle to obtain the collection plate of Benny Hinn. Note that this example is not in the game but does give an accurate account on the types of riddles that you'll be given. Aside from searching for clues and foiling would-be counterfeiters in rubber masks, another aspect of SH2 is the at times fun act of beating and shooting a shit load of zombies and other demons.

At first all you have is a wooden plank with a couple nails and a radio. The radio sends out static and the louder the static is, the closer you are to a monster while the plank is used to pummel anything that gets in your way until you get more firepower such as a handgun, shotgun and my favorite, a rusty metal pipe. Now that you have weapons lets talk about things to use them on, the enemies in this game are a huge disappointment as there is only three types of Zombies, not counting the Bosses, to beat down and fill full of lead. Gone are the skinless dogs, evil bird things and knife-wielding midgets, they're replaced by skinless acid puking zombies, twitching zombie nurses that traded in their knives for canes and mannequins. Yes mannequins or the legs of them anyway, I spent hours trying to figure their presence out and made this comic showing what most likely happened.

Apart from the lack of good zombies, there is always the Pyramid Head, which enjoys walks on the beach, sunsets and the occasional raping of the town's un-dead inhabitants. Rapings that you'll get a front row seat to at least twice right before it tries to kill you with its huge ass knife.

Aside from killing monsters and wandering around, at some points in the game the town will shift to an alternate reality of itself which means, more zombies and even more obscure riddles. Those who have played the first game may be disappointed to see that the rusted gratings and overall hellish appearance of the alternate SH has been replaced and now everything just looks about 20 years older. That's about all there is to the actual game just go to Point A, solve a puzzle for the key to Point B while fighting off monsters and shifting between realities, repeat until finished.

Graphic wise, SH2 is pretty impressive, the in-game character models look great while their CG video counterparts look a little awkward, especially the supporting cast and each area is well detailed from the shops you'll pass along the streets to the cramped hallways of the local hospital. James himself moves pretty fluently and the monsters he'll face move like those weird clay puppets in Tool videos. All together though, it's safe to say you'll see more fluid movement in the first 20 minutes then you'll see in an entire run of Poke'mon and you won't have any nightmares either.

There's a neat little feature the game has that some might not notice for a while and that's the static effect present throughout the game used to give it a grainy look kind of like how one would see things after a night of binge drinking. After finishing the game once though you'll get the option to turn it off and if you do, you can really see the difference it makes. On the flip side to this is the high level of fog present on the streets of town, which will get on your nerves and have you constantly bringing the map up to see where the hell your going. In the first game, fog was used to hide the draw-in, which is perfectly fine cause you could still see a ways in front of you. This time however the fog is used to build "Atmosphere" which means you can't see shit cause there's just too much of the stuff and this will cause most players to hug the buildings so they don't miss a turn or run too far from their destination.

The Controls are responsive and moving James around is easier than the girl you dated in high school. You have your choice of using the Analog Stick or the Directional Pad to move all directions except in the air and through time. The button layout is the most basic you can get now a days with Triangle accessing your map and Circle turning your flashlight on and off. The X button serves as the action button which, when used with the R2 button puts James into monster ass beating mode. While holding Square makes James run, you might want to tape Square down or switch walk to run in the Options Menu cause I've seen tranquilized one-legged old ladies walk faster then him. The R1 and L1 buttons are strafe buttons but you probably won't used them seeing as most of the fighting is done is small hallways. That leaves us with L2, the camera button and when it's held and used with the Right Analog stick you can, barely, move the camera and get a somewhat better view of your surroundings.

The sound is good and is full of enough clangs and moans to make you think this is a porno of some kind and the music, while very little fits the mood nicely. My only real complaint in this area is the voice acting. While everyone starts out terrible, the important characters voice's improve enough to stop you from praying for a truck hauling broken glass to flip over on top of you.

Silent Hill 2 has some replay value as it offers 4 story related endings and one special ending that you need a Captain Crunch decoder ring to unlock. Each time the game is replayed, a new weapon is given and five new items appear that unlocks 2 endings. While the others are determined by what you do and look at throughout the game, such as taking your time and looking for the transforming truck robot hidden in the sewers or just run through the game to get the "YOU SUPER COOL!" flashing text. Anyway, after you beat it the first time though nothing really changes so unless your unhappy with the ending you got there's really no reason to replay.

So I guess you could say that I like Silent Hill 2 and if I had a ratings scale I would give it a 4 out of 5 whatever I'd use.


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