By nohthink 20 Comments
I'm about 3 hours into the Silent Hill 2 and so far, I really enjoy it. I have never played any Silent Hill games mostly because it never got my attentions. I jumped into PS2 fairly late(I got PS2 because I wanted to play Shadow of the Colossus) and since then, I have been a dedicated Sony fan.
Not gonna lie, I was pretty cautious about playing this game because I did not want to struggle with the terrible controls and, just as I expected, the game does not control well. With that said, I still really enjoy this game. What is really interesting about Silent Hill for me is that the more play, the more I notice the old mechanics in the game that they do not use anymore. Some of you guys might call that serious back steps, how video games got "too easy." Some of you might say it is a natural evolution. So these are couple of my random thoughts on my experiences with Silent Hill 2 HDified.
1) Man, they don't make games like this anymore....
When was the last time you played a game that does not give you any tutorials? If there is one thing that game developers make sure is that you know the mechanic and tell you what each button does what. Every CoD has that iron sight sequences and Skyrim had move joystick to move your head sequences. Silent Hill 2 just threw all that out of window. You get a little cut scene that barely explains the premises, and then go. It does not even bother to explain which button does what. People say nobody read the manual these days but if the game does not explain anything, we are going to have to read the manual. It was refreshing in a very weird to see a game that just drops you.
2) SH*T!!! Where is that noise coming from?! Goddamn it, I cannot see anything!!
The game has a lot of random unknown noises. You know have no idea where they are coming from, mostly because everything is covered by fog. Seriously, talk about zero visibility. Those noises are not even scary noises per se. There are nothing but just noises. One particular noise sounded someone threw a huge rock to the lake. It was a giant thump and splashes but because you cannot see anything, and cannot tell the origin of the sound, it gets super creepy. It is amazing how little sound design can put you on the edge easily. Considering how "horror games" these days have become nothing but weird creature designs(I love Resident Evil, but Resident Evil, it is impressive how Silent Hill manage to scare you without any visuals. It reminds me of Amnesia but I know you guys are going to say "Silent Hill did it first!!"
3) Fog... fog... fog... frigging fog...
As I mentioned before, you pretty cannot see anything. It gets very frustrating sometimes. If you take a step back, it is a mechanic to limit the player but in the context of a horror game, it becomes more than just a mechanic. It become a part of the atmosphere and part of the mysteries. Moreover, because you cannot see anything, you character has become really important. James, the man dude, would turn his head when he sees an item on the ground. Due to the fogginess, you will not be able to spot the items but because James turns his head to that general direction, you can walk and pick it up. Again. no tutorials or text information that says "X to Pick Up the Item." A simple nonverbal communication that enough for you to notice.
4) Voice Acting
I understand that purists do not want anything to be changed, including the voice acting. But I have not played the original and, even though I know you guys are going to hate me for saying this, they sound horrible. Just.... bad. It is obvious they are "acting" and it is too easy to see they are forcing such emotions to their voices. So I immediately change to new voice acting, which sounded way better and even helped me emerge into the game. I know, it is supposed to be B horror movie type of vibe. But I thought voice acting did not hold up well at alll.
5) Tank Control...
Thank God somebody told me about the 2D control because this 3D control(which is basically Tank Control) was not working for me. It is clunky and it takes too much time for no good reasons. With that said, the clunky control does add to the horror element. Three hours into the game, I am convinced that the developers definitely put the clunky control into their consideration when they designed this game. They knew it would be super hard for us to defeat an enemy with this control, which is why they made the combats avoidable. You can pretty much runaway from any enemies(even the infamous Pyramid Head). It is a simple thing to hide the weakness of the game and use it as a strength. Really smart.
I am really loving this game but I realize that a lot of people would find this game frustrating. The game is not easy. The puzzles are hard and they really do not give you enough information. I probably would not have figured it out that I needed to use the juicebox to get the stuck trash bag. Those thought would not have crossed my mind at all. It is not really friendly game but it has an amazing atmosphere, sound designs and enemy designs. I am glad I am playing it and i will post more thoughts as I play more of it.