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Silent Hill 2 (PlayStation 2)

85
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.2
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  MAT (66444)
Written on  :  Aug 29, 2002
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
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Summary

I wanted this game so much! And now I know why...

The Good

Existence of Konami company was one of the main reasons why I *had* to buy my PS2. Of course, back then I couldn't possibly know about their plan to transport all those games to PC platform, but nevertheless, computer and console gaming experience are two different 'genres' each with their own pluses and minuses, atmospheres, and feelings. Well, let's first mention the surface of why I wanted the SE version of this game, only. Well, it comes with an extra "Making Of" DVD, duh! ;) Not only it contains many trailers, but pretty long documentary with different developers that were working hard to bring this game to life. And need I remind you what masterpiece this game is, phew!

If you wanna lure some serious gamer (no offense guys, but under this very sentence I don't consider hard-core action shooter fans as serious players, although I'm one of those, too) to try your product, what better way there is to do but to make a tempting story. And boy, is this the story one of the finest there are, beats the crap outta so many adventure games. The scene opens, and you see a man in the public restroom, checking himself in the mirror, as if crazy, and then you get to play. Not much of an intro, and not much of a story so far, huh? Well, the soon you enter the street, you get to find out the rest (unless you checked his inventory already). So, you're James, and you got a letter from your wife, Mary. The only problem is, your wife dies three years ago. So, is this someone's way of being funny, or could she really be alive? Guess the game allows the player to decide in what to believe, more to the fact that there are four different endings (first time you play, afterwards more opens) which depends upon your reactions in the game.

Characters are a few in this game, but are extremely nicely developed, although towards their crazy side. But of course, searching for a person who is long time dead made your look crazy a bit more, so it all fitted the Silent Hill atmosphere. But beside that, there are also monsters here, and they too are well crafted. There are not many of them (as in versatility), but are extremely unique as not similar to any other games. They are more taken like certain deformation, for example jacket monsters which look like a person zipped into a jacket but as one unity. There may be 4-5 different types of them, plus 1-2 different bosses, but that's it. Still, it'll be more than enough because there's a lot of wandering through the Silent Hill areas. Both indoors and outdoors.

On the comparison side to the first Silent Hill game, this one most definitely has better and more profound story, but also share many similarities. City isn't that much the same, nor are all the locations you will be in, but there'll be some common monster types, such as nurses, and common starting plot which is searching for someone. The first Silent Hill left a pretty big impression of me in a matter of graphic quality and effects that were achieved at the time, not to mention just for PSX. But if you admired such effects, then you will be pleased to know that this sequel gives you even more. Maybe it doesn't uses the full power of PS2, but uses a lot of it nonetheless. In its own way, it is close to MGS2 quality of graphic and effects. But you gotta understand that the whole design and style are different.

A lot of complained that voiceacting in the first Silent Hill was below the expected quality (well, I dunno why, 'cos maybe there were some gaps in between talk, but not that bad), but this game has really great voiceovers, Eddie, James, Maria, they all carry great voiceacting to mark them, and so will the dialogues prove. The music is much better than the original, because it has more than just noises and sound effects, it actually has lots of atmospheric and ambient sounds which tend to feel like background music most of time. Otherwise, songs such as "Promise", "Love Psalm" or "Theme of Laura" are amazing. And the cinematics, they are put on the right spots alright, but there are maybe not too many of them. Well, not enough to reward you for finishing the game, that is. Maybe if they tended to make one ending but with more memorable cinematic for it, who knows.

The Bad

Only some side-effects this game casted upon me. I realised something's not right with me when I entered some bar recently and said "Mary, could you really be in this place..." just before bartender handing me one 'bloody mary'.

The Bottom Line

First Silent Hill was great by many things. And this one succeeded the originator by a far, and that's usually hard to achieve with sequels. I look forward seeing Silent Hill 3, to fact more that main protagonist will be a female, but still, I hardly believe this one will be surpassed. It was simply created with too much talent, breaks all the rules.