For the last several years, Capcom's RESIDENT EVIL has been the undisputed champion of the horror genre of video games. A few years ago, Konami released a video game called SILENT HILL that was up to the challenge of going against RESIDENT EVIL. While the RESIDENT EVIL series focused mainly on the occasional "scare you out of your pants" style of horror, SILENT HILL offered a more eerie feeling, one that kept you on the edge of your seat for hours on end. It was that creepiness that made the game a success, and with one game's success come sequels.
SILENT HILL 2 is Konami's next game in the series, and the first on the Playstation 2. Instead of it being a continuation of the first SILENT HILL, Konami opted to go with a brand new storyline, complete with new characters and baddies. The character you play is James Sunderland, a widowed husband who receives a letter from his dead wife telling him to come to a town called Silent Hill. Once arriving in Silent Hill, you realize that the town is not at all like it seems, and that you're in a fight for your life.
SILENT HILL 2 is a major step-up in graphics from its Playstation predecessor. The characters are animated much better, and the town is rendered nicely. Like the first game, SILENT HILL 2 comes complete with tons of eerie fog, so you're barely be able to see what's five feet in front of you. Some of the creatures in the game are very scary looking also. Especially when you hear them coming from a distance, yet cannot see them. It's extremely scary when you know they're out there but don't know where they are.
If you've played any of the RESIDENT EVIL games, then you'll feel almost at home with the controls for SILENT HILL 2. For those people who have never liked the RESIDENT EVIL style controls of having to turn and face a certain direction before being able to walk that way, there is an option to change the controls to play more like the Capcom game ONIMUSHA: WARLORDS. There are also numerous difficulty settings for the game. If you find the puzzles too hard, or the monsters too tough to beat, just turn down that difficulty level a notch and you shouldn't have too much trouble.
There really isn't a lot of music in SILENT HILL 2, but it's best this way. When music does play, it's barely noticeable in the background, except when something is about to happen. When the music picks up a beat or two, be prepared for the worst. While the voice acting isn't a total waste, it seems like the writers decided to have the characters babble on about nothing at times.
Konami has done a good job with SILENT HILL 2. They succeeded in creating a game that has visually nice graphics and keeps you on the edge of your seat for most of the game. Just don't play it alone at night and you'll be fine.
Platform: Playstation 2
ESBR Rating: M
Suggested Retail Price: $49.99
Fun Factor: B+
Reviewer's Wild Card: A-