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Silent Hill 2 (VG) More at IMDbPro »

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68 out of 71 people found the following review useful:

Masterful, disturbing, intelligent, horrifying- a perfect example of the video game as a respectable art form

Author: NightTrekker from Spartanburg, South Carolina
8 October 2002

I'm constantly frustrated by the ignorance of those who dismiss video games as childish and worthless. I suppose it's not surprised that non-players have unfavorable views about them- many are unoriginal, pointlessly graphic, incompetently written, and poorly designed. I might point out that an extreme variation in quality is also present in cinema, though I doubt that many will disagree that cinema is a legitimate art form. The video game is a fledgling medium that has yet to solidify a position of respect (and let me say, not without reason considering the quality of most titles). I don't know if that will happen within my lifetime, but games like Silent Hill 2 make me confident that it WILL happen.

As a fan of the Resident Evil series, I was ready to rip this "pathetic copycat" title (the original SH) to shreds. That changed swiftly after I played it. I love the RE games, but they take a definite back seat--in every category--to Konami's survival/horror masterpiece. And when the time came, I was doubtful that Konami could pull off a sequel of equal or remote quality to the first game, but I was proved wrong.

Everything about Silent Hill 2 is excellent--the graphics, the voice acting (I'd like to hear these newcomers in other roles), a musical score which rivals--and shames--many film soundtracks, the writing (considering it's been translated by the industry that gave us "the master of unlocking", it's very well done), the design--the list continues. Others may tell you that the SH games have poor story lines, but this is likely because they expected mindless fun. To enjoy the series the player must be willing to participate, in thought as well as action.

Many people--especially parents, I'm sure--will be turned off by the edgy content in Silent Hill 2 and will subsequently dismiss it as valueless. Yes, there's blood is spilled; yes, there are disturbing images; yes, (in Silent Hill 2) there are strong sexual overtones; and yes, this would be a poor choice for the less mature or easily frightened; but ALL of it is essential in the creation of atmosphere, emotion, and storyline- in short, the entire experience. This is a cerebral, mature series--I doubt that younger children would get anything out of the game, save confusion and nightmares. But it's important to point out that this is NOT about blood and gore--it's about character. This is by far the most character-driven (non-RPG) series I've experienced.

Not too long ago I was discussing video games with a professor of mine, an intelligent person whose opinion I respect and value. I was surprised that she was somewhat familiar with the Resident Evil titles and even more surprised that she knew anything of the Silent Hill series. I had to agree that with her statement that the RE story lines are derivative--the concept is nothing original and the dialog has always been a weak point for the series--but I was shocked when she dismissed SH just as readily. I'm convinced she either knows nothing at all about the Silent Hill games (has likely never played them, not to mention completed them--is it not incredibly presumptuous to judge a book after reading only a few chapters?) or that she looks down upon video games in general. She wouldn't be the first person.

My frustration with such people is outweighed only by regret, that the artists behind these creations are not receiving the respect they deserve.

On the off chance that you're reading this, professor, you were wrong.

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40 out of 45 people found the following review useful:

Chilling and Beautiful

Author: Steve (Xploitedyouth) from USA
22 September 2002

I always thought that video games were due for some respect as a legitimate art form, but far too many games relish their positions as mindless gorefests. That's why this game is such a breath of fresh air. It combines all the best elements of a video game with the creepy ambiance of films like SEVEN. Even better is that the game gives you characters that are complex and troubled.

You play as James Sunderland. James lost his beloved wife Mary to a strange disease three years ago, and he's been drifting through his life in a deep depression since then. Then, out of the blue, he receives a letter signed by his late wife saying to meet her in the town of Silent Hill, a faorite vacation spot of theirs when they were married and the site of Mary's death. So James travels to the town, to find it devoid of natural human life and engulfed in fog. Something terrible has happened here, and James starts to learn the truth about the town's horribly mutated, monstrous inhabitants.

Few games have made characters seem so real. James doesn't have superpowers, and he isn't trying to survive any longer than it takes to find his wife. He's not searching for treaure, he's searching for a reason to live, and he doesn't necessarily care if he finds it. There are several other mysterious characters inhabiting the town. All have stories to tell, none of which are pretty, and we watch in fascination as various characters fold under the mental strain of the sights they are seeing.

By the end of the game, there are several questions left unanswered, and several new ones are raised. Where did the monster's come from? Where did the strange little girl come from, and how did she survive? And (most interestingly) does this nightmarish Silent Hill actually exist, or is it all a figment of James' twisted imagination?

The game provides some brilliant environments and creature design, some challenging puzzles and creepy, grainy camerawork. It uses these things to grab hold of your emotions and twist them around. Few games have ever been able to capture raw fear, but this one succeeds brilliantly. Most importantly of all, this game makes you think. This is a formula that more games of this genre should follow, if video games ever hope to receive respect as an art form.

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16 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Excellent... just excellent

Author: tachilaki-1 from my room
12 October 2003

This game is a sequel to Silent Hill, the surprise hit videogame that came out in 1999 and scared the crap out of almost everyone who played it. Silent Hill 2 is quite different from the first one. It is completely independent, and it does that just right. This game, while nowhere near as scary as the first one, is more psychologically disturbing. The story has a theme of dealing with the ghosts of your past, which plays in very well with the psychologically deranged characters. The characters are more developed than in SH1, and the story is much better done. This game gains something that was missing from the first game, but loses something that the first game had. James Sunderland is my favorite character of all the games. It also has a twist near the end that I really didn't expect. A great game. Pick it up. I command you!

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16 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Creepiest video game I've ever played

Author: culwin
15 December 2001

Wow. If there's one video game out there deserving of the "M - Mature" rating, this is it. This game is creepy, disturbing, insane. The designers of this game really accomplished what they set out to do - scare you!! You have been warned.

This game was way better than the first "Silent Hill". The graphics are sharper, the atmosphere is creepier, and the puzzles are better. I have only one complaint, I wish the game would have been longer. But you can play it over again, and try to get all of the 5 possible endings - if you've got the guts! But whatever you do, don't play this with the lights off!

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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:


Author: mrcool1122
2 February 2003

Wow. This game embodies everything that horror movies should be. Oh sure, the gameplay leaves some things to be desired, but that's like criticizing a good movie because the video had poor picture quality. Enjoy this game for the imagery, the eerie sense of...scary things, and the plot. Yes, that's right: plot. This video game is plot-driven; not like Resident Evil which can be summed up thusly: We Have to Kill Things.

The sound effects and scenes are better-done than in any other comparable video game, and most motion pictures too. But, heh, the lines are pretty dumb and the voice acting isn't that great, but, hey, it's a Japanese translation so you'd expect it not to be that great of an exercise in dialogue.

If you're a horror-movie aficionado, even if you're not a regular gamer, try this game. Or, if you're sick and tired of the crappy crap that is put out by the gaming industry, try this! It's good!

And don't come crying saying it was "boring" or something. You obviously played this game for the wrong reasons.

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

silent hill 2 review rating *****

Author: Marco_God1 from Portugal
23 February 2006

Although Silent Hill 2 is set in the same location as the first game it is not a direct sequel, so gamers should be able to play this without having to worry about not having played the previous one.Everything in this game is just excellent. The plot, the characters, the soundtrack. Not to mention the graphics and the way they manage to keep us craving for more tidbits on the story or the fact that it is scary as hell. If you are a survival horror fan, you will definitely enjoy it. After i played it , it just sticked in my mind,it has a very cinematographic orientation.Many movie directors should be learning to make decent horror movies playing this. It is more than a video game, it is a work of art, it is an experience. The best game I ever played. Period

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Silent game

Author: minusfront ( from fairytale
7 May 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There was rarely a computer game (or a series) that has been as underrated as Silent Hill. In last few years many excellent videogames were made, mostly because of ever increased processor and other hardware/software power, and the goals are clear: to generate animated objects and whole experience on (for now) screens as real and similar to our perception of reality as possible. We didn't perfect it yet, but some products are very close. Certainly the best and most promising of them is the game Silent Hill.

Most computer games were focused on shooting or searching or some similar repetitive activity with almost no or very obscure storyline, and besides many did a poor job at graphics and programming. If you want to imitate reality (or maybe a movie, with ability to interact) you immediately face some great problems, as how to generate and operate with such an enormous amount of (mostly random) data, for example, to make a human skin or a forest or water.

The team that produced Silent Hill did a revolution in computer game industry. They didn't just manage to make an excellent graphic imitation of 'real' world (in my opinion, by now the best), they, for the very first time, tried to come as close as possible to the term 'interactive movie'. Playing Silent Hill with such cinematic feelings goes beyond every 'normal', non-interactive movie: all the time you have the feeling that YOU participate in the game; that you are not just observer, but you PLAY a 'REAL' character.

It is interesting that everything started with the horror genre. There are only a few horror videogames on the market, among thousands of others. I think it's because fear produces one of the most prominent, or extreme, mental feelings. In movie industry horror genre is very specific; especially if you add 'psychological'. In Japan they also did a great job with movies like Ringu (Ring), in 1999. It is the same year the first Silent Hill (SH1) was produced - also a work of a team from Japan. It was very good game and it still is. Only graphic (it was made for playstation 1) was a little poor, although still excellent.

With a sequel, Silent Hill 2, two years later, the (same) team made an enormous leap. At the first look, greatest difference was made at graphic part. Characters look unbeliveable real, even in gameplay, and surroundings are sometimes rendered with such details almost as a real world, not to mention light effects and shadows. And the whole game you play either in total darkness with (or without) flashlight attached, or in a thick fog. If you add work of a music genius (Akira Yamaoka), who makes extremely effective pace with gorgeous music/sound effects, which go from gentle ambient music to loud industrial-mechanical grinding noise. And of course, there is a genius mark - SILENCE. Yamaoka claims that the silence is also a sound, just its opposite part, and how right he is!

Silent Hill 2 is not just psychological-horror game. It is in fact a very weird, underrated, hard to understand and also one of the most beautiful love stories ever made. It is built from very simple elements; they are so simple they are very easy to miss, and there is a unique combination of them: fear, love, life, death, chaos, supported by some twists that make all thing somehow complicated. As you play it, all the time new secrets and mysteries appear, and only a few can be explained. But another mark of genius in the game is the fact that the story reveals just a little bit of useful information. You are mostly afraid of the things you DON'T know or see or understand; and that is also an attractive part. It makes you THINK; you interact with the story! Thus, there are alternative endings: certain ending depends on HOW you will play the game. There is only one unreached step left ahead: to get YOUR OWN ending.

I won't tell you anything about the story! And I STRONGLY recommend that you play it slowly, at night with lights off, and play it without a guide or a walkthrough. It will spoil everything, believe me.

It is also unnecessary to tell you anything special about characters, enemies, secrets, weapons, storyline, drama, scenario or anything else: everything is just GREAT. See it on your own. Yes, the team made everything almost perfect. There is no need and no right to criticize anything in this game, because for now it is the one and only. No need to talk about other games; they don't reach SH by far. So my advice for everyone who wants unique cinematic/game fear/love experience is this: go to the shop (or rent it), take your time and play it. Ah, the package: you get (mostly, I think, I am sure for a PS2 version) beautiful double DVD digi-pack, which is on its own a work of art. On second DVD you get tons of great documentary how the game was made and also some explanations. But warning: use that DVD AFTER you finished the game. Otherwise it is a spoiler.

Silent Hill 2 is still relatively far from perfect imitation of reality; heck, even Final Fantasy (the Movie) didn't reach it. But it is enormous and rich psychological/visual experience. At the time I played it I just couldn't watch movies - it was so boring not to interact with characters, and a few times I took a joypad in my hands by mistake...

I just wonder if someone will ever make a SH movie!! But I'm almost afraid of that. If someone will it'll have to be a revolution. With an exception of some David Lynch almost every other Hollywood director would make something like mix between Night of the Living Dead and Matrix. But let's hope it'll avoid Hollywood and stay on its own ground ...

With Silent Hill, 50 people worked on the game for about 2 years, usually more than production time of a HW movie. But it is not far away a moment when you will insert a 'movie', make some presets, start to play it (with joypad or something) ... and move, for example, 'real' Keanu Reeves or Jack Nicholson around the screen...

So Silent Hill will certainly not remain 'silent'.

10/10 (deserves at least 17).

Mary? Can you really be in this town ...

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17 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

CapCom , CapCom who?

Author: Trachtenberg from Scotland
7 June 2002

This comment is coming from a DieHard Resident Evil fan. silent hill 2 is without a doubt the greatest survival horror game ever made the story and the atmosphere in the game are second to none a truelly amazing game it draws you in right from the start and never and i mean never lets go untill the credits roll at the end. the first ending i got when i completed it was = in water ending and i was horrified at what happened in it it really shocked me.the story is about a man called james sunderland and he had recieved a letter from his wife what puzzled him was that his wife was dead 3 years passed so how could she have sent it?. so he decides to go back to the place where they first met `silent hill`.to see if she really is dead or not so he can lay his mind at rest.there is just some thing about the story to it it makes me feel really sad at parts (this is coming from a person who lives for the heavy music , some tough guy i am eh?)that shows you how good the story really is then doesn`t it.i will not spoil it for any one who has not played it but all i will say is the rebirth ending end`s the same way as the Itallian Job does.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A Masterpiece of Art that takes place on a very quiet hill.

Author: Michael Kocab from Czech Republic
29 July 2010

I recently purchased a PS2 and with it a copy of Silent Hill 2. I haven't really read any of the reviews and bought it solely because of the original Silent Hill, which is a classic.

Upon popping the disc in my system, I was immediately astonished by the weird, creepy and distinctive atmosphere of the beginning. I knew at that moment, that this wasn't like any other "horror" game I have ever played. This game is impressive on every level. The visuals and sound are so polished and atmospheric, that the experience is way more immersive than even today's standards of graphics. The action is well balanced with puzzles and, luckily, Silent Hill 2 didn't forget the running away aspect of survival-horror games (as many new games do forget). But the real knock-out is the massive, deep and emotional story line, that keeps you guessing and never really let's you in on what's real, and what's not. All of these features add up to what is Silent Hill 2, the scariest game I have ever played.

In all, Silent Hill 2's creepy, yet beautiful visuals, haunting story and terrifying sounds are definitive proof that video games can be art, and darn fine art at that.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Scary? Yes, Disturbing? Very, Good?, TERIFFIC!!!!

Author: potters_veela from Canad
16 May 2003

The First time I played this game I wasen't expecting to be what it really was. At the time I thought nothing can be scarier than Resident Evil, boy was I wrong..... This game is absalutly fabulas, I was so unable to get this game off my mind, I would be so exited to get home from school to play it, I was litterally writing, "James Honey did Somthing happen to you? after we got seperated in that long hallway?" on the corner of my Note books! This Game has one of the best story lines ever; James Sunderland, recived a letter from his wife Mary, it said, "In My restless dreams I see that town, Silent Hill, You Promised you'd take me there again someday, but you never did. Well, I'm alone there now in our speical place waiting for you..." James is very suspisious of this letter and decides to go to Silent Hill, only one thing bothers him about doing so, His Wife Mary has been dead for 3 years. Very Intruging story, there were many parts where I had to turn the light on while I played it, there were parts wich made me want to cry, there were parts that made me think, "What the H***?". I very much erecomend this game, It will keep you at the edge of your seat.

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