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  • Writer's pictureIndy Goodwin

In my restless dreams I see that town... - Indy plays Silent Hill 2

Updated: Apr 29

I figured it was about time to get weird about a new franchise. Silent Hill was the perfect choice.

You play as James Sutherland, a man plagued by the memories of the death of his wife - Mary. You return to Silent Hill after receiving a letter in his dead wife's handwriting telling him to return to their special place - the place they had spent a holiday. After exploring Silent Hill I feel like there were definitely better destinations they could have chosen. Like Chernobyl.

You wander the streets of the town looking for your wife. Silent Hill is deserted and covered with a thick fog that limits your vision when wandering the streets, making you entirely dependant on the radio that crackles when you approach a monster. It feels like the place has been totally abandoned, the inhabitants spirited away by a malevolet force. It seems that James is completely alone, which makes it jarring when you do meet other characters.

The other characters all have their own peculiarities. Angela - who was traumatised and abused by her father and is instantly distrustful of James; Eddie - who played the part of incel with a gun to perfection; Laura - a bratty child also desperately seeking Mary and Maria - not your wife but would be if you asked. Also happens to look exactly like Mary. Everyone has a bit of a screw loose in this town, most of all James.

As you hunt you are dogged by the famous Pyramid Head. Slow but lethal at close quarters, he appears just when you least expect it, shuffling towards you with his giant knife. Kind of like a tonberry for my Final Fantasy peeps and twice as scary. Unlike a tonberry, Pyramid Head seems to have a bit of a predeliction for raping the monsters in this game. Make of that what you will, I'm choosing not to think about it too much. I'd prefer not to unpack that right now.

You progress through the game, the characters getting more and more suspicious of James, Laura calling him a liar, Angela becoming downright hostile to him. It turns out with good reason, as you watch a VCR tape showing James smother Mary to death in her hospital bed. So wait, what the hell has been going on this whole time?

So the whole thing is a giant metaphor. Silent Hill is basically a hell of James' own making. He created this place subconsciously, even down to Pyramid Head, to punish himself for what he did, and more importantly, why he did it. You see, James hated Mary for getting sick and changing his life completely. Killing her wasn't purely an act of mercy, but also an act of malice.

Now on some level, I get it. I do. It's human to react unpredictably in unpredictable situations. However it is not ok to straight up murder your wife because you're pissed that your life together didn't work out the way you'd hoped. The whole scenario smacks of entitlement. James couldn't have the life he felt he deserved, so he lashed out. He regrets it now, but murder isn't something you can take back.

There are six different endings to unlock in the game, three standard ones, one demonic in nature and two goofy ones. I've unlocked so far the In Water ending, where James cannot reconcile his actions and kills himself by driving into Toluca lake; and the Leave ending, where James and Laura leave Silent Hill forever. So far the In Water ending seems most canon to me, despite the Leave ending being widely regarded as the canon choice. He created an entire town and inhabitants to punish himself for what he did, it makes sense to me that he wouldn't be able to forgive himself. This is all up for debate though, and I will be playing through the other endings.

All in all Silent Hill 2 was far scarier than I had anticipated. The use of sound to warn you where monsters were and the incredible isolation of Silent Hill made for a very eerie playing experience. Pyramid Head's weirdly sexual violence and shuffling gait made him a very unpredictable enemy and certainly not one to be underestimated.

I just can't get enough of this game. I've long been a fan of Japanese horror games - being a Resident Evil devotee - and I'm glad I took the plunge on Silent Hill. I may be extremely late to this party, but I'm looking forward to spending more time with this series. It is strange to me that Silent Hill hasn't had a previous gen remaster, as loved as this franchise is, but maybe the time for that will come. The franchise has mysteriously disappeared in recent times, apart from Pyramid Head cameos in Dead by Daylight. Until a remaster rears its head though, it's available with your PS Now subscription if you fancy joining me in this adventure.

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