A Few Hours with Silent Hill 2 HD

Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: March 20, 2012

Despite Silent Hill 3 HD‘s problems, I stuck with it and enjoyed my stay. A palpable atmosphere, good story, and creepy vibe all were good enough reasons to stick it out. Silent Hill 2 HD, however, doesn’t share that same fate. I didn’t finish it nor will I be reviewing it, but I need to voice my opinion on it. Sadly, I couldn’t find much to love within Silent Hill 2 HD.

You start out as generic Caucasian male #45, named James, who just happens to stroll within the mysterious, foggy realm of Silent Hill. His wife has sent a letter leading him there, but there’s a problem: she’s dead. I guess Heaven has a P.O. box now.

Right off the bat, I noticed a few turn offs. The graphics are pretty bland and don’t have much going for them and James’s old voice acting was pretty lacking. The new stuff is better, as you are given the option, but I wanted to try for more pure experience. It’s a little campy and funny, but nothing I’d consider good.

Bloody Mary, bloody Mary, bloody Mary, bloody Mary...

After some aimless trekking around, I noticed that the framerate started to drop. Little did I know how big of a problem it would actually be. Along with hitching every minute or so, the game seemed to chug at every single opportunity. It broke the tension and made an already slow even more painfully slow to play. I honestly don’t get why it was even put out like this.

Fog, Silent Hill’s signature trait, was also done an injustice. Some of it was taken out, showcasing the unfinished parts of the game. Toluca Lake just ends because of the lack of fog in that particular area. Someone either didn’t notice it or just didn’t care.

Eventually hideous monsters start showing up, which is where I’d say the game actually begins. Combat is sluggish and weak like you’d expect, but the visual presentation of it threw me off even more. The swing animation is strikingly awkward due to the fact that the swing plays normally then reverses when he recedes his club. Goofy animations and the unresponsiveness of swinging (especially an enemy on the ground) made encounters that much more necessary to avoid.

I had a confusing time of figuring out where I was even supposed to go. Bringing up the map is clunky and finding out what door is open leads to monotonous frustration. After looking up a guide, I found out that some tape had been mysteriously cut, giving me a new path. Was I just supposed to figure that out on accident? I guess so.

James has the right idea.

After rendezvousing inside the local haunting hotel, I started having some appreciation for the game. The place honestly felt like it was possessed and I never knew what was coming next. I was frightened twice, but after that, most of the tension vanished. It kept building up tension but never having a release, meaning I stopped becoming tense and started becoming comfortable.

The first puzzle also made for some of the stupidest logic I’ve ever witnessed. Do you know how to dislodge trash? How about throwing a juice container at it! I never would have guessed that because I just don’t see how someone is supposed to connect the dots there.

After an unwieldy boss fight muddled in miscommunication, I was greeted with a new character. Little did I know that this section would become an escort mission. She got in the way multiple times and couldn’t muster the brainpower to actually get out of the way of my steel pipe of justice. After enough bludgeons to the dome, she finally went down, causing a game over for me.

That was the enlightening moment of where I found Silent Hill 2 HD had no checkpoints and thus ended my time with it.

Silent Hill 2 might be a fantastic game and I know some people feel that way about it. Sadly, it hasn’t aged gracefully at all. I couldn’t look past the archaic game design along the new problems on top of it. With all of the new problems, old fans of Silent Hill 2 won’t even be satisfied with this release. There might be a great story and eerie chills to be found in Silent Hill 2 HD, I just couldn’t muster the determination to stick past the initial rough parts and see them.

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