Silent Hill 2 is the second installment in the Silent Hill survival horror series and the first game of the series to be released for Sony PlayStation 2. The game engine was developed by Team Silent. It launched in North America on September 24th, 2001 for the PS2. It was later ported to Microsoft Xbox (with the subtitle "Restless Dreams" and included previously unreleased content such as a new playable sub-scenario) and the PC. The changes added to the Restless Dreams port were also included in the re-released Greatest Hits/Platinum Edition for the PlayStation 2.
- Note: Silent Hill 2 is set 10 years after the events of the first Silent Hill game, sometime in 1993. 
Letter from Silent Heaven
James Sunderland has arrived in the town of Silent Hill after receiving a letter from his wife, Mary, despite the fact that she had died from a chronic disease three years ago. The letter states that Mary is waiting for James in their "special place", which confuses James, as the whole town of Silent Hill was their "special place". After leaving the town's observation deck and traveling toward Silent Hill, James comes across the Toluca Graveyard and meets Angela Orosco, a teenage girl who came to the town to search for her mother. When James reaches Silent Hill he discovers that it is not the same, beautiful town as it was in the past. In addition to the bizarre, omnipresent fog, the whole town seems to be rotting away and abandoned. Macabre, vaguely humanoid creatures are roaming the streets and attempting to attack James whenever possible. When he discovers that the path to his first destination, the lakeside Rosewater Park, is cut off, James decides to travel through an apartment complex to reach what he believes could be the "special place" Mary mentioned briefly her letter.
Once inside the apartments, James briefly encounters a little girl who tramps on his hand before scurrying away. Soon after that, he comes across Pyramid Head, a humanoid monster whose head is completely obscured by a giant, metal, pyramid-shaped helmet that protects him against anything James will possess in his arsenal. James later meets an obese young man, Eddie Dombrowski, while Eddie is vomiting into one of the apartment toilets. Eddie responds in a very defensive manner to questions regarding a corpse in the refrigerator of the apartment room. James finds Angela again, contemplating suicide with a knife in her hand, while lying in front of a large mirror. James persuades her to hand him the knife for her own safety, after which she flees in an unusual panic.
When James finally reaches Rosewater Park, he meets a woman named Maria, who appears nearly identical to his recently deceased wife Mary, but clothed in a more provocative outfit and possessing more of an impudent attitude. During their travels, she reveals insight into matters that only he or Mary would know, and acts in a very seductive manner toward James. Maria accompanies James in his attempt to reach his second suspected "special place," the Lakeview Hotel. James enters Pete's Bowl-O-Rama where he meets Eddie again. He also spots the little girl, who runs away from James upon seeing him. Eddie then reveals to James that her name is Laura. Outside, Maria claims to have seen Laura and, out of concern for her, has James try to pursue the child. Their search leads them to Brookhaven Hospital, where Maria then becomes sick, and insists on resting in one of the hospital rooms.
James finds Laura in one of the rooms, but becomes angry at her for claiming to have known Mary for the past year, in clear contradiction to his belief that she has been dead for three years. Laura responds by locking him in a room filled with covered monsters stuffed in hanging cages, under the pretense of looking for a letter from his wife. After they are defeated, the hospital undergoes a sudden dramatic change to the Otherworld, where James returns to the hospital room to find Maria missing. James later finds Maria in the hospital's basement, however, Maria becomes angry, claiming that James had abandoned her. After she calms down, they press on to find Laura. Pyramid Head again appears and chases both James and Maria through the hospital's basement. Pyramid Head manages to slaughter Maria while they attempt to make their escape via an elevator. Alone again and saddened by the loss of Maria, James decides to refocus on his original task of finding Mary. He leaves the hospital and finds a key buried beneath a statue in Rosewater Park, which leads him to the Silent Hill Historical Society.
The Historical Society becomes an exploration of two levels not noted on the town map: Toluca Prison and a labyrinth in which Pyramid Head resides. In this area, James finds Maria, miraculously alive and locked in a prison cell, who greets him with memories of Mary. He tells her that he will free her, but upon leaving and later coming back, James discovers that she has been murdered once again. The next area, in which James reunites with Angela, provides back story as to why Angela and Eddie are in the town. A newspaper clipping indicates that Angela killed her father, who abused her with the complicity of her mother. James saves Angela from a monstrous representation of her father, but she then becomes hostile towards him. Eddie is revealed to have snapped after years of verbal abuse by his peers. He killed the dog of a football player and then shot the dog's owner in the leg. It becomes clear that, upon his arrival in Silent Hill, he has gone insane, seeing everyone as making fun of him, and has resorted to killing anyone he encounters. He first attempts to explain the path of bodies he has left during his time in Silent Hill, but ultimately turns on James as well, and must be killed to progress through the game. James feels ashamed for killing Eddie, and after this point, James questions his perception of the events leading to his arrival in the town. As well, the letter that he supposedly received from Mary goes blank, indicating that the letter itself was something that James himself made up, and that it never actually existed in the first place.
James exits the labyrinth and takes a boat to the Lakeview Hotel in hopes of finding Mary. Once there, he finds Laura once again, and she gives him the letter she claimed to be seeking earlier, which reveals that Mary wanted to adopt her while confirming Laura's claims of knowing Mary for the past year. The final truth is shown to James when he watches a video tape he apparently left at the hotel three years ago, which shows that he killed his terminally ill wife by smothering her with a pillow. Laura, who is ready to leave the town, finds James and he chooses to reveal the truth to Laura. Laura becomes angry with him for killing Mary, then silently exits the room. The radio James has been carrying to warn him of the approach of monsters then sends a message from Mary, asking him to find her. James explores the rest of the hotel, discovering that it is decrepit and rotting, and is now nothing more than the remains of a building that has previously experienced a fire. James then finds Angela on a burning staircase, and she asks him to return her knife so that she can commit suicide, to which James declines. As Angela retreats up the burning staircase, James states that the room is hot as hell, to which she replies that "it's always like this for me", meaning that her life was always a living hell. She then completely ascends up the staircase, and disappears into the flames.
The climax approaches as James finds yet another resurrected Maria, bound and screaming for James's help, but who is promptly killed by two Pyramid Head monsters. James then realizes that they have been created to punish him for his sins, and fights the two Pyramid Heads. After they are severely weakened, they commit ritual suicide with their own spears, as if to indicate that their purpose has been fulfilled. James is led to a hallway where he listens to a previous conversation that he and Mary had while she was still alive; in this conversation, James brought Mary some flowers, but she did not accept them, stating that she is too disgusting to deserve flowers and yelling furiously at James. At the end of this conversation, Mary desperately pleads for James to be with her. James then enters a large metallic complex with a long staircase. At the top of this staircase, he finds a woman (depending on the ending, the woman will be either Maria or Mary herself) who transforms into the manifested pain of Mary. After James defeats this final demon, the game comes to a close.
Silent Hill 2 does not have a canonical ending. The fourth installment of the series revealed that James disappeared when he went to Silent Hill. Official statements from Konami have kept the canonicity of the ending ambiguous, with statements essentially saying that any of the endings can be considered "real" depending on the player's actions and interpretation of the story (e.g. personal reception of particular characters and their purposes). The final version of the game has a total of six possible endings; three of which can be achieved on the first playthrough, and three others enabled by acquiring new items on replays.
In the "Leave" and "In Water" endings, the woman in the room is Maria once again, making a final attempt to get James to take her. James rebuffs her, however, and she turns into a monster similar to the hanging monsters in the hospital, becoming the final boss. Upon her defeat, James will either leave Silent Hill together with Laura after being granted a final meeting with Mary (shown in "Leave"), or drowns himself by driving into Toluca Lake with his wife's corpse so they can be together in death (as shown in "In Water"). The ending song for "Leave" is "Overdose Delusion", and the ending song for "In Water" is "Angel's Thanatos".
A replay ending entitled "Rebirth" will also have James kill Maria, but afterwards he will then attempt to use new objects collected in the game to resurrect Mary by confronting the "ancient gods of Silent Hill" with an unknown result. The ending song is "The Reverse Will".
The "Maria" ending, however, is radically different from these three. If the player spends a good deal of time with Maria and protects her well from monsters (including from Pyramid Head in the hospital basement), the woman in the room will be Mary, who has not forgiven James for killing her. She will then turn into the final boss, and after her defeat James dismisses her as being just another hallucination. He then discovers Maria, inexplicably resurrected again, and leaves town with her. As they leave, however, Maria starts coughing, implying she is suffering from the same illness as Mary. The ending song is "Promise".
There are also two joke endings available on replays. The first, "Dog", ends with James discovering a dog beyond a locked door which has apparently been controlling all the events of the game from a large cartoony computer console. The second, "UFO", is a continuation of the UFO ending of the first game added in the Xbox port/Director's version, in which James is abducted by a group of aliens with the help of the first game's protagonist, Harry Mason.
Born from a Wish
- See Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams for more information.
Some new features to the series include:
- The Noise Effect screen filter
- 2D and 3D modes (2D is an alternative to "tank" controls)
- An NPC partner
Gameplay in Silent Hill 2 is almost identical to the first game, which includes exploring Silent Hill with flashlight and radio, while defeating monsters and solving puzzles along the way. Many of the environments are dark, and the flashlight is often the only source of light. The radio James receives detects monsters when they are nearby by emitting static and notifying the player of their presence. James will find many helpful items on his journey, and without collecting specific items, the player cannot progress through the game. If James takes too much damage from an enemy, he will die, leading to a Game Over screen.
When a monster appears, the player will have to make a choice on whether to fight or flee. Both options work well in different scenarios; for example, in a narrow hallway, the better option would be to fight, but in a large open area, the better option would be to run away. Even if James flees from an enemy, he is still vulnerable to attacks, however; if James turns his flashlight off, this is less likely to happen.
Upon reaching Rosewater Park, Maria will accompany James. She will follow James and is unable to defend herself because she has no weapon. It then becomes James's responsibility to protect her from any monsters. If Maria dies by taking too much damage from enemies (or if James shoots her), the game will lead to a Game Over screen. Also, even if Maria is very far away from James when he enters a door, she will appear right next to James in the next area.
In other media
In Silent Hill 3, Douglas Cartland states that he went to Silent Hill on a missing persons case, but "he" was never found, which could possibly be James. If a memory card with a Silent Hill 2 save is being used, there will be references unlocked to Silent Hill 2. These references include a toilet scene in the alternate shopping mall, a poster of Maria in Heaven's Night, a non-existent letter from a dead wife in Heather Mason's apartment mailbox and an appropriate comment on a sturdy fence on Brookhaven Hospital's rooftop.
Silent Hill 4: The Room is heavily linked to Silent Hill 2. Walter Sullivan's suicide is mentioned in a newspaper article and his murders of victims 7 and 8 were a question on the game show in the elevator. A grave with Sullivan's name engraved on it can also be found in the prison graveyard. James's father, Frank Sunderland, is the superintendent of South Ashfield Heights, and can be seen regularly through Henry Townshend's peephole. By examining a picture on Henry's wall, it is revealed that James and Mary disappeared in Silent Hill; this suggests that no one knows about Mary's death and that James had made up a story about going to Silent Hill with Mary for a vacation. It also amplifies the possibility of Mary's corpse being inside the trunk of James's car.
Due to its connections to Silent Hill 4, it is possible that James and Mary lived in South Ashfield, and that Mary resided in St. Jerome's Hospital while she was sick.
- Main article: Silent Hill 2 Original Soundtracks
Silent Hill 2 Original Soundtracks was released in Japan on October 3rd, 2001, by Konami Music Entertainment, Inc. The album contains musical tracks from the game, composed by Akira Yamaoka. The CD is compromised of 30 tracks, some in-game and some exclusive to the CD, and are completely instrumental. The soundtrack was re-released in Europe as Silent Hill 2 Original Soundtrack the same year. The CD was packed in a jewel case inserted in a paper box with different cover art.
The Silent Hill film, a loose adaptation of the first game, features a modified version of Pyramid Head. In this appearance, his helmet has been redesigned with one less point than the original game version, and he has been manifested from the perspectives of Alessa Gillespie, a powerful psionic capable of creating monsters that represent the various parts of her twisted psyche. The film has many identical things to the video game series, such as Otherworld shifts, as well as a siren similar to those heard in Silent Hill and Silent Hill 2. Many tracks from the Silent Hill 2 soundtrack are also featured in the film.
Influences and design
The atmosphere of the game is for the most part similar to the first Silent Hill, including the abandoned and/or decomposing look of the town and the persistent fog obscuring the streets, but it has been given a more psychological twist. One example of this is James's letter from Mary, which progressively disappears during the game hinting, as Konami later confirmed, that the letter was not real and merely another part of James's hallucinations. The implication is that, as James slowly began to understand what he had done, the illusions of the town begin to disappear. This could also be the explanation for the transformation of the hotel, as when James enters it is mostly intact, but after he sees the videotape he finds it reverts to its true form: a mostly burned-out structure. Other acknowledged attempts to induce a psychological influence on the game include placing Mary's dress in the room where James discovers the flashlight and modeling at least two corpses in the town after James.
The monsters in the game, as well as being more humanoid in design than their counterparts in the preceding Silent Hill game, are acknowledged to have been, for the most part, designed as a reflection of James's own subconscious. At least two creatures, the Mannequin and Bubble Head Nurse, are acknowledged to have been created with sexual suggestion in mind; a reflection of James's carnal desires and likely sexual deprivation during Mary's illness. Pyramid Head is acknowledged to have been based upon the executioners of the town's fictional history and is intended to be a punisher for James. Two exceptions to this theme are the Abstract Daddy, a reflection of the subconscious memories of Angela, and the Creepers, which are also seen in the first game.
Silent Hill 2 also incorporates some references to real-life events. The creators have said that the name "Mary" came from Mary Ann Nichols and Mary Jane Kelly, Jack the Ripper's first and last victims, respectively. Other observers have claimed that Maria's outfit was copied from Christina Aguilera's appearance at the 1999 Teen Choice Awards. Eddie Dombrowski's name was taken from actor Eddie Murphy back during the beginning phases of production when Eddie was originally designed with a pleasantly optimistic personality. The name of Angela Orosco was derived from Angela Bennett, the protagonist of the film The Net, and Laura's from the novel No Language but a Cry by author Richard D'Ambrosio. There are also indications that the layout of Silent Hill has been based on the town of San Bruno, California, to a certain extent.
Silent Hill 2 was first released for PlayStation 2 in late 2001. The original European edition also included a second disc: a "Making-of" DVD video featuring trailers, an artwork gallery, and a documentary on the title's development.
The Xbox port was released late in the same year as the PS2 version, on December 20th, 2001, and the PC version in December 2002. Each region had a different subtitle; the Xbox port was subtitled Saigo no Uta (最期の詩, lit. "The Final Song") in Japan, Restless Dreams in North America, and Inner Fears in Europe. The ports also contained additional playable material. James's scenario was given a sixth ending and an additional sub-scenario titled "Born from a Wish" was included. This mini-game is shown from the perspective of Maria, which explains her background before she met James in the main game.
This revised version of the game was ported back to the PS2 and PC and billed as a director's cut under both the "Greatest Hits" and "Platinum" labels depending upon location.
The PC version of Silent Hill 2 was released in December 2002, ported by Creature Labs and published by Konami. The PC edition is equivalent to the Xbox port, including the Maria scenario and the extra ending. The port generally received worse reviews due to its controls, which were generally keyboard only. Mouse support is limited to menu and map navigation, although the game had support for a USB controller. Other added features included the ability to save anywhere, quicksave and quickload, and a movie menu to view trailers for Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 3, as well as any in-game movie once seen by the player during the course of gameplay.
In 2012, along with Silent Hill 3, a compilation known as Silent Hill HD Collection was released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 containing HD remasters of both titles. In this version, the player is allowed to use the old voice acting, or a new re-dub. It also has new textures, sounds and visuals, although it received criticism for technical problems and certain design choices.
Making of Silent Hill 2
Reaction to the game was generally favorable. Rating aggregation site Game Rankings gives Silent Hill 2 an average rating of 86% for the original PS2 version while giving the expanded Restless Dreams version 82% on Xbox and 90% on PS2. MetaCritic gave the original PS2 version an average rating of 89%, and an average of 84% for the expanded Xbox version. GameSpot UK gave the PS2 and Xbox versions ratings of 7.7 and 7.9 out of 10 respectively. A review by IGN for the original PS2 version praised it as "a damn scary game, entirely worth every last cent". Ben Croshaw, a popular game reviewer/comedian better known as Yahtzee, also highly favored the game, except for the gameplay, and currently holds it as one of his favorite games of all time.
The PC ports typically were given lower ratings than the other consoles. The original PC port holds a rating of 72% on Game Rankings while the expanded version holds a rating of 6.2 at GameSpot, with the score lowered by the categories of "Gameplay" and "Tilt" (the latter category being an abbreviation of "Reviewer's Tilt" and apparently directed at other criteria including the plot). A 2003 review on GameSpy claimed that some of the problems with the PC port came from the difficulty in controlling the character, especially when some of the more unusual camera angles were used. A similar point was made by another IGN reviewer in December 2002, suggesting that "Keyboard play is possible, but not advised."
By the end of October 2001, Konami had announced that over a million copies of Silent Hill 2 had been sold. Since then, it has also been re-released as a Greatest Hits game.
In 2006, G4TV's X-Play declared Silent Hill 2 to be the number 1 of the "Scariest Games of All Time".
- The streets and buildings were inspired and named after real writers, stores, and locations.
- The main theme, Theme of Laura, was composed by Akira Yamaoka in 3 days.
- Angela Orosco appears on the US game's cover.
- Akira Yamaoka took recordings of over 100 footsteps for the game. In "Making of Silent Hill 2," he states that this was to add variety and to avoid redundance. He also claims that silence is a sound all its own, and the footsteps were meant to contribute to the eerie silence.
- Like Silent Hill, Silent Hill 2 had some things changed or edited due to graphic violence and/or nausea-inducing scenes in-game. For example: James's original attacks included dismembering limbs of the monsters, but was changed to melee and ranged weapons attack without the additional violence. Eddie's original vomiting scene was much more intense, both graphically and audibly. The second part of the videotape viewed in the hotel originally had audio accompanying it, however, it was left out in the final cut of the game.
- When James talks to Maria through the cell bars, the scene is intentionally shot in a way that makes it look like James is also inside a cell.
- If one examines a calendar in the game, it can be assumed that the game takes place in 1994, though the calendar may not be fully reliable and may not coincide with the actual intended year for the game.
- In the town of Silent Hill, southeast to Rosewater Park, there is a building entitled St. Stella Church, named after the Catholic Saint Stella. It comes from the Latin name Stella Maris, which translates to "Star of the Sea," and is part of the title "Our Lady, Star of the Sea," which happens to be the ancient title of the revered Virgin Mary. This could easily be a connection to Mary Sunderland.
- Many of the facial animations in the game are not motion captured and are manually animated.
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