Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams
- Silent hill
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Become James Sunderland, as he returns to Silent Hill after receiving a note from his deceased wife Mary.
With its Poe-like atmosphere, dense fog, pitch-black hallways, and a cryptic letter from a dead wife, Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams promises to surpass the paranoia created by its predecessor, Silent Hill. The sequel opens with James Sunderland, the series' average joe protagonist, reading a mysterious message that says, "Silent Hill, our sanctuary of memories. I'll be waiting for you there." More puzzling is that the note is signed by Mary, his deceased wife.
James sets out for Silent Hill hopeful that he'll find a trace of Mary. After an aborted attempt by car, James plunges into the dank fog and embarks on his quest by foot. Enter Angela, a woman who bears a striking resemblance to Mary, and who also beckons him with another curious message. It seems James can't go back; strange things are happening in Silent Hill.
Silent Hill 2 offers 10 new formidable foes, plenty of puzzles, and bone-chilling gameplay. The sequel's new story and characters promise to thrill and terrify. The visual and sound effects are amazingly detailed and macabre, and, if you're playing on a system with surround sound, you may find yourself keeping the lights on.
Note: This product description refers to the PlayStation2 version.
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The game has aged in a few respects. Being designed a past generation of gaming consoles, the graphics (though still quite detailed) have become slightly outdated; in particular, the character models seem a bit stiff and there are times in game when an animation or texture doesn't quite load/function as intended. However, this being said, the love and attention that went into the visual components of this game still shines through with the unique, ominous visual flair of the game.
As I stated before, gameplay is fairly accessible. Although the game relies on a "tank" control method, the player's ability to navigate the fog-flooded streets of Silent Hill is not impeded. Fans of more action oriented games (i.e. Dead Space or Resident Evil) may wish to avoid this title as the game dissuades the player from engaging in combat for extended periods of time.
Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams story and puzzle mechanics deserve special note. This game features a particularly dark story, dealing with subject matter as terminal illness, abusive relationships, guilt, memory repression, and murder; the voice acting isn't always superb, but it is effective and believable. For anyone who enjoys deeply symbolic stories laced with heavy content, this game is a must buy. The puzzles, though difficult, are quite solvable, though more riddle-challenged gamers may wish to consult an FAQ. (The game does feature different difficulties for the puzzles in game, which are adjustable at the outset of any given playthrough.)
All in all, this is a survival horror title that must be experienced first hand in order to be truly appreciated. The development team, Team Silent, did an outstanding job bringing the rusty, demon-filled streets of Silent Hill to live, and the journey of James Sunderland for the truth about his wife's death is a narrative trek that is rife with frightening, shocking, and touching moments. Anyone who enjoys scary games will get a kick out of Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams; anyone who enjoys narrative-rich games, will absolutely adore it.