Saturday, March 19

Silent Hill 2

It's rare that I get all fanboy-ish around these parts (is that even a word?!), but I have to kind of make an exception for this masterpiece of a game.  For those of you not familiar with the game, you play James Sunderland, a man summoned to Silent Hill after receiving a letter from his now deceased wife.  The general tone and feel of the game is one of sorrow, mystery, regret and damnation.  As the game progresses, James meets and interacts with several characters, who influence the outcome of the game, especially Maria.

There's just something about the atmosphere of this game that is magical. It sucks you in, chews you up and spits you out. There's a few games that have had this much of an affect on me, but this is one of the strongest I've felt. The main reason being the story and the music work together in perfect harmony.

The above piece is one of my favourites from the game. Akira Yamaoka is the genius behind the soundtrack.

There are several moments of brilliance right throughout the game. From where you enter the apartments and you can hear strange sounds from the balcony, or the noises coming from an adjacent room, or right up to the point where you trawl through the underground sections and encounter the demons and monsters. Some of the sounds are truly magnificent and terrifying the first time you play it.

This video is one of the best scenes in any game. This is right at the end of the game when you have to face two Pyramid Heads and then take on the evil incarnation of either Mary or Maria, depending on what choices you have made. The music is just epic and I remember the first time I played it, it made the hair on my arms stand up!

At the end, if you get the 'good' ending, you find out that the main character killed his wife after she was suffering from an illness, to stop her suffering, and because he couldn't deal with the difficulty of caring for her. Throughout the game, the Pyramid Heads that you see slaughtering people are meant to represent him and his struggle with his wife's demise. Maria, who is a spitting image of Mary, is seen being killed by the Pyramid Head a few times in the game, and then later reappearing. This is to signify what James did to his wife I believe.

Anyway, it's been a while since I've played it, so this is all from memory, so there's a good chance I might have missed something out. It's a game that really needs to be experienced, and EASILY the best in the Silent Hill series.


Matthew said...

Nnneeeeerd!! Just kidding, I am too. Excellent post though. Quite easily the best game in the series, and still one of the most atmospheric games around. In fact, I would say that both System Shock and BioShock, both the Dead Space games, and RE 1 & 2 are about the only ones that can match THAT kind of atmosphere.

As for other games with spectacular atmosphere? Vagrant Story, Deus Ex, Okami, and Super Metroid/Metroid Prime are always at the top of my list.

ASC said...

Hah. I haven't played System Shock or enough of Bioshock, but agreed on RE1 & 2. The missus is a big fan of Vagrant Story, and anything Metroid is in my top ten - especially Super!

Matthew said...

YES!!! Pretty much anyone who acknowledges 'Troid is amazing in my book! Just thinking back on the first time I played Super fills me with supremely wistful nostalgia. lol

As for the 'Shocks? Honestly, about the first half of BioShock is where most of the atmosphere lies. So, you've probably experienced the best of it. System Shock, however, is just loaded with atmosphere. Spine chillingly good. Def a must play if ya get a chance. :)

ASC said...

Super Metroid is my all time fave game. I know it like the back of my hand now, as I've been playing it non stop since it was released. I can't think of any other game I've ever replayed as much. Funny though, cos every time I intend to speedrun it, I get too absorbed by it and want to take it all in and map out every area! hah

~Fabi said...

I've only played Silent Hill, is 2 worth it?

ASC said...


Matthew said...

Ha ha! Same exact thing for me! I usually kill any speedrun in the first 30 minutes by wanting to hear that music over and over. And, just like you said James, the further into Zebes I get, the more I want to just enjoy every moment of it. Yep. Pretty much the most perfect game ever.

Kait K. said...

"The school that I currently attend quite old and, although much of has been rebuilt and restored, the old air-raid siren has still stuck around.

Of course, nobody told me this when I first started going there, which, coincidentally, was around a month after playing Silent Hill 2 for the first time.

Needless to say, the first time we had to do a fire drill I was the first person out of the building (after making an ass of myself and falling down the stairs)."

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