Few survival horror games have earned as much fame as Konami's Silent Hill 2, released in 2001. Coveted for its gameplay, story, and an exceptional soundtrack by many die-hard fans, there are even rumors of a possible remake floating around.
Followingly, many people new to the genre and franchise are trying to get their hands on this great game. However, since Silent Hill 2 is over 20 years old now, many horror fanatics wonder if Silent Hill 2 is still worth playing in 2022 or if they should just watch a let's play.
Is Silent Hill 2 still worth playing in 2022?
In short: Yes, Silent Hill 2 is absolutely still worth playing in 2022. Though the game shows its age in some ways, Silent Hill 2's story and creepy horror atmosphere haven't aged a day since the game was released in 2001.
Silent Hill 2: A story still worth telling
Silent Hill 2's beauty comes through in its thoughtful, complex plot and its presentation of critical storytelling elements. From the moment players load into the game, they're greeted with an iconic scene of James Sunderland in a grimy bathroom as the camera twists at disorienting angles.
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The opening monologue makes it overtly clear that James is a confused, lost man. He's looking for his wife, Mary, in Silent Hill (their "special place"), but she apparently died from an illness three years prior. Already, James' strange, uneasy character becomes evident to the player.
As James explores Silent Hill, it becomes increasingly clear that this isn't the Silent Hill he visited with Mary years ago; it's now infested with monsters and plagued by a thick fog.
On his journey, he comes across manifestations from his consciousness that helps him come to a haunting conclusion about his wife's death. The beauty of Silent Hill 2's presentation is that it does not directly tell the viewer much. Instead, it conveys its storytelling through a rich, haunting atmosphere, interactions between characters, and intriguing puzzles.
By leaving the player to draw their own conclusions and realizations as they play, the game puts the player in James' shoes, allowing them to have epiphanies exactly when the character does.
Every element of Silent Hill 2 - from its characters to its map and monster design to its soundtrack - has a role to play in the game's story and tells the player a little more about James and his psyche.
As a psychological horror, Silent Hill 2 is groundbreaking in its storytelling, enabling Team Silent to tell a haunting tale of guilt and grief that players will never forget. In fact, it's arguable whether another game could ever totally match up.
Silent Hill 2: Aged but functional gameplay and graphics
Although Silent Hill 2's story hasn't aged, the game's controls and gameplay aren't quite as straightforward. The gameplay certainly doesn't feel like any modern game you could pick up for your Playstation 5 or PC.
While it's undoubtedly a thing of the past, this doesn't take away from the game's playability or emotional impact.
The tank controls can take some getting used to for those who have never used them before, but a little bit of practice is all it takes for most people to come around. The HD edition has an option to turn off tank controls, but this can result in some awkward, clunky camera angles.
Like movement, combat in Silent Hill is straightforward: aim at the enemy and shoot. It's usually a pretty reliable system, with auto-aim coming to the player's aid. Most of the game's challenge comes in the form of item management.
In particular, the player must ensure they don't run out of bullets or health items. This aspect of the game proves a little more complicated than most modern games, but it's doable for anyone with a bit of dedication and focus.
Overall, Silent Hill 2's gameplay isn't the same as most modern games, but it still holds up strong. Most controls are intuitive, and those who have never played a game with tank controls before shouldn't struggle too much.
As for the graphics, they're about what you'd expect for a game released on the Playstation 2. In other words, there aren't many polygons; even the HD edition leaves some rough edges, giving the game an almost "crusty" look.
However, in many ways, these grainy graphics add to the uneasy, dreamlike atmosphere, and most fans agree they're fine the way they are.
How to play Silent Hill 2 in 2022
As Silent Hill 2 continues to age, it's becoming increasingly hard to get your hands on a copy of the original game. However, if you're ready to spend a few hundred dollars, copies of the game exist for $100-$200 or more on eBay.
The game was initially released for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Microsoft Windows. Assuming you own one of these consoles, you'll just need to pop the disk in to play. However, if you want to play on Microsoft Windows, you'll probably want to download Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition.
This makes the game compatible with modern devices and patches up some lingering bugs. Note that to play the Enhanced Edition, you'll still need a Silent Hill 2 disk for Microsoft Windows; the Enhanced Edition just updates and mods the game and isn't the game itself.
Silent Hill HD Collection
There is another way to enjoy Silent Hill 2 in 2022. Players can download Silent Hill HD Collection on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, as well as modern consoles that allow backward compatibility.
The Silent Hill HD Collection has remastered versions of Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3.
Many fans argue that this version of Silent Hill 2 doesn't quite match up to the original. Still, there aren't many noticeable differences other than slightly improved graphics and the option to choose between new and original voices.
That's all. For more horror game features, news, leaks, and guides, check out our dedicated section.
Featured image courtesy of Konami.