Saturday, April 6, 2013

Review A Great Game Day: Silent Hill 2

Unsettling barely comes close.

There is a dearth of available games to play. There are fewer good games, and the list narrows when we consider 'great'. Silent Hill 2 is one of the few that I consider to be of such a quality that it can stand beside the greats of any other art form or entertainment medium.

Silent Hill 2 is not scary like Dead Space is scary. Silent Hill 2 is dread. Nothing but total, abject, gaping dread. The experience is so all-encompassing that it demanded multiple attempts before I could even progress through its entirety once. The game is affecting to the point where one will frequently find themselves reconsidering placing their efforts elsewhere. These are the marks of an excellent horror work. That, and the fact that I couldn't sleep for months during my final completion of it.

Taking place in the infamous locale, Silent Hill 2 features unreliable widowed narrator James Sunderland on his emotionally-trying journey to discover how he could have received an invitation letter from his wife, who died a number of years before. It does not go where you will expect, and it does not stop to ensure you understand. The journey of Silent Hill 2 is one of constant misgiving and self-doubt, wrapped in a seminal exercise in East-meets-West horror.

They don't make survival horror games like they used to because they don't make survival horror games at all these days. This is the finest example of the genre, and of the power that narrative can hold over games.

If you wish to play a great game, play Silent Hill 2.

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