Silent Hill 2

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GAME TECH INFO

Computer Platform: PC (Windows)
Produced by: Konami
Price Range: $11-20
Learning curve time: 31-60 min.
Age level: Mature Teen to Adult
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Patches / Upgrades: None
System Requirements: Pentium 700 MHz processor[more]

     Reviewed By: Sean Domis
     VOLUNTEER GUEST REVIEWER

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆
Genre: Other Third-Person Survival Horror
Christian Rating: 2 of 5 (poor)
Gameplay: 4 of 5 (good)
Violence: 2 of 5 (heavy)
Adult Content: 1 of 5 (extreme)


Silent Hill 2.  Illustration copyrighted.

A town.

A malevolent, warped presence.

Your subconscious mind, made horribly mangled flesh.

Silent Hill is all of these, and more.

Welcome to Silent Hill. Deposit your sanity at the door.

Silent Hill 2 is the sequel to the Playstation game, Silent Hill. While the original SH was a popular horror adventure game, SH2 was the game that rocketed the series into stardom.

*Spoilers Ahead*

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The story starts with James Sunderland staring at himself in a dirty public bathroom mirror. From there, it delves into the depths of human frailty and insanity in both subtle and profound ways. James’ wife, Mary, has died from an unknown illness three years ago. However, he recently received a cryptic letter in her handwriting, beckoning him back to Silent Hill and their ‘special place’. James travels to the small town in a search for answers.

Silent Hill is a New England town in an unspecified Northern state. A thick fog covers the entire town, and strange rifts block exit past the city limits. Mechanical sounds ring out from far away, and half-finished construction litters the town. Abandoned cars, overturned baby carriages, overgrown lawns; the entire town radiates a feeling of abandonment, sorrow, and loneliness.

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The gameplay is dated, but it serves the purpose of making you feel like a person who has had no combat experience prior to the events of the game. The PC controls are serviceable, keeping the infrequent combat sequences from being overly annoying. The console versions have adequate controls as well that get the job done but do nothing beyond that.

The puzzles are rather dated, if fun. Most of them involve fetching little MacGuffins from different rooms in a given location to plug into a cube or box or what have you to gain more things to plug into even more things. Lather, rinse, repeat.

This wouldn’t be a adventure-horror game without monsters. And this is where Silent Hill 2 delivers. The monsters are not pornographically grotesque or gross, as was the case with many other games, see Doom III. Neither are they satanic in overt ways.

What makes the monsters in SH2 creepy, scary, and unsettling is how closely they resemble a human being, save for a few subtle- or in some cases, profound- changes.

The Lying Form, for instance, resembles nothing so much as a human being wrapped up in a straight jacket made of its own flesh. The Nurses are female figures dressed in tight, revealing outfits and wielding pipes while their featureless, bloated faces twitch and coo in monstrous tic fits.

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The monster who takes the cake, however, is Pyramid Head. The only overtly masculine monster in the game, Pyramid head is a human shape wearing an executioner’s gown, strange silver gloves, and a metal hexahedron that covers its entire head. It drags around a gigantic sword called the Great Knife, as well as other monsters it has hurt or killed.

Violence: The game uses melee combat throughout most of the game. It’s close up and at times somewhat brutal. There is little blood splats that come from the monsters when you hit them or shoot them but nothing overtly violent like you would see in a Resident Evil game. Blood puddles form underneath monsters as well after they have died. Unlike most other games in this genre, if you leave a room and come back, the corpse of the monster is still there sans bloodstain on the ground.

Adult Content: Sex is metaphorically used throughout the game so there is no overtly sexual situations at hand. There is an implied rape scene involving Pyramid Head and a few monsters but it’s more disturbing than anything. The sexual content isn’t used as fanservice or to boost the fan base. It presents the problems that arise from sexual urges gone unchecked. It never revels in its sexual content but rather, deems such things as the cause of problems in ones life.

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If you buy this game looking for an all-out slugfest, you will be severely disappointed. You’re not some superhero, or spec. ops commander. You’re a regular human being, scared and alone in a warped town that seems to have a mind of its own.

This is one of the most subtly creepy, profoundly frightening looks into the human condition in any medium. A masterful video game if you can look past the dated controls and tiring puzzles. Be warned, however, about the strong mature content that it contains.

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Year of Release — 2002

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.

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