Silent Hill 2 is the second game in the popular Silent Hill psychological horror game franchise. 2 is notable for its use of metaphors and being pants-shittingly terrifying.
Not unlike a cheap hooker, you meet our troubled hero, James Sunderland, in a dirty road-side bathroom. He decides to announce to the bathroom stalls that his wife died three years ago of "that damned disease," yet he recently received a letter from her. Despite not even remembering what his wife died from or understanding the concept of a cruel prank, James chose to believe the contents of the letter, which claim his late wife Mary is in Silent Hill waiting for him.
Pictured: a very clever fellow
After speaking briefly to a nut case in a graveyard, James finds his way into the fog-enshrouded town of Silent Hill. Moments after arriving, he sees a large streak of blood on the ground, and a humanoid shadow shuffling off into the distance. Being the man of intense logic that he is, James decides that following this creature is the best course of action. Unsurprisingly, the creature turns out to be a terrible acid-spitting monster that resembles a human encased in a straitjacket of bloody flesh. Naturally, this represents James' anguish and internal suffering over his wife's death. What, that wasn't your first guess?
After running aimlessly around a foggy town filled with death and terror, James ends up in a dark apartment complex filled with death and terror. After solving some deceptively relaxing puzzles, he stumbles into a bloody rape party being hosted by a large muscular man wearing a large pyramid-shaped metal helmet.
A manifestation of self-torment and sexual repression. Obviously.
Apparently deciding he's had enough rape for one day, Pyramid Head spares James and leaves. Rather than curling up in a ball and crying like we would, James resumes wandering around the apartment complex like it ain't no thang.
Along his way, he again sees the nut case from the cemetery, meets a fat kid, and gets his hand stomped by a little brat.
How we wish there were an alternate ending where Pyramid Head gets a hold of her.
Eventually James manages to escape the hellish apartment complex, and almost immediately meets a sexed up version of his dead wife, named Maria. When she asks if she can accompany him, he agrees, probably wondering if there's a hotel near by. Oh wait, shit, this is an escort mission. Damn it all!
Now reduced to a slow walk that Maria still can barely keep up with, James goes to the hospital to search for the brat who stepped on his hand. We can only hope his plan is to backhand her.
Despite the fact that the hospital is crawling with disgusting demon nurses and every single surface is covered in blood, Maria decides to stay in one of the rooms and take a nap, leaving James free. He soon finds Laura, the sniveling brat, who promptly locks him in a room with three terrifying monsters hanging from the ceiling. Understandably, James passes out. He wakes up in a version of the hospital that is somehow even more hellish than before.
After a series of puzzles and broken locks, James reunites with Maria. Almost immediately, Pyramid Head shows up and impales her. Shocked and heart-broken by Maria's death, James grieves for all of two minutes before his thoughts go back to his search for his already-dead wife.
James next ends up in an abandoned underground prison for... some reason. He meets up again with the fat kid he met at the apartment building, Eddie, who is surrounded by dead people and is muttering about how everyone made fun of him and he killed a dog. Master of reason and subtlety that he is, James patronizingly tells the crazy gun-wielding guy that his actions were stupid and uncalled for. Unsurprisingly, Eddie attacks him. After killing Eddie, James expresses remorse, but then quickly remembers that he has a dead wife to look for and moves on.
James soon finds Maria locked in a prison cell, surprisingly not-dead. She attempts to seduce him, and he apparently spares little thought to the fact he witnessed her murder mere hours ago and turns to putty. Maria tells him to find the key to her jail cell, claiming she "can't do anything through these bars."
We beg to differ.
Presumably with a boner that could challenge Pyramid Head's sword, James leaves to find the key. Instead he finds Angela, the nut case, being attacked by bed-like monster and calling it "daddy." James makes quick work of killing the manifestation of her sexual abuse-fueled daddy issues and Angela repays him by calling him a perverted sex fiend and leaving.
After finding a key, James heads back to Maria's cell, only to discover she was brutally beaten to death while he was away. James and his boner grieve for her death briefly before remembering that his dead wife may still be out there.
James finally comes to the hotel he had been searching for since he arrived. Inside it, he finds Maria suspended upside down from the ceiling, flanked by not one, but two pyramid heads. In a shocking and unpredictable twist, they kill her. James states that he realizes now that the Pyramid Heads had been sent to "punish" him because he believed he deserved it.
Oh, did we mention he killed his wife? Because he totally did. He smothered her with a pillow. Last week, actually.
As with the previous game in the series, a large part of Silent Hill 2's horror relies on the fact that you can't see shit. The town is encased in more fog than a Stephen King short story, and the interiors of the buildings are lit in a way that lends to the belief that the entire town has some beef with the electric company.
Fuck you guys. - Silent Hill
Of course, this means that you cannot see the monster that wants to eat your face off until they're less than six feet from you. Luckily, you find a radio that loudly emits static whenever a monster is near. Supposedly, the static changes pitch and volume depending on how many monsters there are and how close they are to you. We, however, are far too busy firing our gun to do pussy things like try to decipher static.
Pictured: Things that would be great at this game.
When not shooting up manifestations of psychological issues, you're likely solving a puzzle. James mysteriously knows which items he finds lying around a hellish town might be important later, so throughout the game you'll find yourself in possession of a coin with an old man on it, an ugly wax doll, and Disney princesses music boxes. We shit you not. You have to run around a creepy hotel looking for a Snow White music box.
Along the way, you'll find that prior to Silent Hill's hellification, the residents lived very strange and possibly schizophrenic lives. The key to one person's apartment building is most likely to be found two floors up, in a locked roll-top desk, which can only be opened by finding three coins and solving a riddle. One of those coins is in the trash, by the way. Another is in a baby pram in an empty pool. Yeah.
A notable but subtle aspect of the game is the inexperience behind James' attacks. As the character is not a grizzled space marine with years of experience firing a gun, his well-aimed shots sometimes miss, and he takes an agonizingly long time to reload his shotgun.
Controls for the game are relatively simple and intuitive. You can also tap the square button to make it kind of look like he's thrusting, which is a win in our book.