“Silent Hill 2” Is 20 Years Of One Of The Most Amazing Horror Experiences Ever
The first time I played Silent Hill2 I can still recall it. November 2001 at a South London friend’s house. It was like waking up in a fever dream. I was overcome by dread at the unsettling atmosphere, but I kept moving forward.
Although Silent Hill2has been released on the 24th of September 2001, it still casts a long shadow. It is the story of James Sunderland getting a letter from Mary, his deceased wife, from Silent Hill. The twist that it reveals that he murdered her, is a gradual descent into his own personal hell. What is it about this game that has inspired so many video essays and books dedicated solely to analysing every inch of grime?
Its influence is evident in the horror games that have followed. Although many games are categorized as psychological horror (e.g. Medium), none of them possess Silent Hill‘s skill in slow-burn terror.
Many games have developed morality systems over the years. These are usually based on the karma points earned by performing certain actions. They all boil down to good and poor. Silent Hill 2instead: Does James deserve to be punished
Tomm Hulett (one-time producer of Silent Hill and now director at wayForward) says, “It’s probably the most dark thing I’ve ever seen.” Hulett recalls being captivated by the trailer at Konami’s E3 2000 booth. It was launched on launch day, and I immediately got into it.
YouTuber, streamer, and Silent Hill fan Bobvids also recalled his first playthrough: “I still remember the atmosphere. It was too much. Bob believes Silent Hill 2 is a keystone of the entire genre. He said: “All psychological horror titles that followed had to have some twist.”
Silent Hill 2‘s portrayal of a small, mist-filled town in a dark, misty setting still works visually. This is double the feat for an PlayStation 2 title. Masahiro Ito, the game’s artist, is the star of the show. His incredible creature designs look both alien and human.
Bob says that the reason the monsters looked this way was to evoke a particular feeling. The Lying Figure is his favorite, a humanoid wearing a hoodie made from its own soured meat. Hulett screams for the Mannequin. It’s two legs at the waist that look like a doll-like distortion. The sexy and visible decaying Bubblehead Nurses are not to be missed.
Ito’s most well-known design, and one of gaming’s most iconic enemies, is the pyramid head. Bobvids says, “It combines both the familiar and the unknown – just an ordinary triangle on a human body.” He’ll stand there looking at you the first time you meet him, right beyond a gate. This is a great way to introduce the monster. Hulett concurs: “It is so freaky, and it’s so well-done. This thing is more dangerous than any you saw in the first game.
Akira Yamaoka, series composer, is at the top with compositions that span genres such as trip-hop, mournful Americana, and grinding industrial noise. Hulett loved the song “Love Psalm” so much that he brought Yamaoka back for a new version of Silent Hill Book of Memories. Bob also lists ‘Fores’t as one his favorites – it marks the moment James meets Angela Orosco, initially nervous.
Angela’s story is an important part of Silent Hill2‘s lasting memory. She initially wants to find her mother. However, it turns out that she is a survivor from sexual abuse by her father. The game heavily suggests Angela killed him. Hulett recalls that she isn’t looking for comfort from her mother, but she wants to kill her mother. She wants to kill herself and her entire family.”