This week’s guest post is all about revisiting the classic horror game Silent Hill 2. This article is part of a series dedicated to taking a look back at an older game and giving it a once over; somewhat like a review but more focused on the personal elements rather than the general mechanics. I myself found this piece to be a rather informative and enjoyable read, I hope you do as well.
Let’s Revisit Silent Hill 2
Written by Gary Stemple
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to ‘Let’s Revisit.’ A new article series that revisits previously released games (no matter how old), reminding us why we fell in love with them in the first place in a review-like process. The first entry in this series will be one of survival horror’s most renowned entries…
“In my restless dreams,
I see that town.
You promised you’d take me
there again someday.
But you never did.
Well, I’m alone there now…
In our ‘special place’…
Waiting for you…”
These are the words that kick off one of my all time favorite games, Silent Hill 2.
Where do I even begin? When Silent Hill 2 was first released in 2001, I’m not so sure the gaming industry was prepared for it. It introduced so many new ideas, including the notion that video games can actually have stories that rival films. And those visuals? They were a treat for players on the PS2 back in 2001.
We play as James Sunderland, a man who has been ‘summoned’ to Silent Hill because of a letter he received, a letter from his wife (written above). There’s only one problem, however – his wife has been dead for 3 years. This confuses James just as much as it does the player and as a result he comes to the infamous town to investigate.
Now before we begin, I’d like to shed a little light on our hero James without delving into spoilers. James may seem like your every day guy but, similar to many Silent Hill protagonists, he’s done some VERY bad things to earn him his stay in the haunted resort town. James’s subconscious is riddled with many feelings of guilt, sexual repression and suicidal thoughts. All of this is told in a very interesting fashion. You see, Silent Hill ‘adapts’ to each individual person’s subconscious and creates monsters based on all of their personal demons. This is especially true for James. Each monster is a physical manifestation of James’s failures and feelings. Symbolism plays a huge role in Silent Hill 2. In fact, the damn game is RIDDLED with symbolism. If you aren’t prepared to do lots of digging into the story, you aren’t going to fully grasp it.
While Silent Hill 2 may have one of the best stories in gaming, how does the horror stack up? Well to be honest, this isn’t your traditional horror game with jump scares and guts on the floor. This is psychological horror. Not only that, this is psychological horror at its finest. I quite frequently call Silent Hill 2 the best survival horror video game ever conceived. Do you know why? It’s because unlike any other game I know, Silent Hill 2 genuinely makes you feel depressed, alone and forsaken. The game is so dark and so dead it genuinely makes me feel actual symptoms of depression. If that’s not horror, I don’t know what is. In the game world, you feel as if you’re the last human on Earth. It feels… apocalyptic. The town is eerily silent, and even creatures just feel like monotonous robots performing something they were designed to do. Nothing here has life. It’s a cold dead wasteland and you feel it just as hard as James does.
When I try to think of complaints for this game I must be honest. I only have one and I don’t even know if it even counts. My only complaint is that the game is so depressing, I don’t even want to play it sometimes. I even have to take frequent breaks. This is not a game you want to play when you’re in a cheery mood. Silent Hill 2 is the pinnacle of how far games have come and it symbolizes the hard fact that video games can create worlds that rival movies as well as stir up all sorts of emotions. It has earned its place in the theoretical Gaming Hall of Fame and reminds me why I love this industry.
This concludes the first article in the ‘Let’s Revisit’ series. I’d like to write many more and I’ll be sure to work on some future ideas. If you have yet to play Silent Hill 2, I highly suggest getting the game in its original form on the PlayStation 2/Xbox, due to the terribly hasty job Konami did with the HD Collection.
About the Author:
About the Author: Gary Stemple is a first-time guest writer on ‘linksaveszelda’ and has been highly involved in covering news from the industry. He manages ‘The Platinum Trophy’, a Facebook page dedicated to gaming news aggregation. You can check it out via the link below.
The Platinum Trophy on Facebook
Want to contribute a guest post to LSZ? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s work something out! We here at LSZ would love to feature some fresh work and new perspectives, plus everyone benefits, so why not?