By Video_Game_King 52 Comments
Silent Hill 2( I'm genuinely surprised that it took me this long to beat the game.) Two reasons: first, I got this back near the beginning of March, alongside Panzer Dragoon Orta, but haven't really touched it since the beginning of last week. Second, that thing I said a few words ago. To recap: it took me less than a week to beat the game. In fact, *looks at Game Result screen*, my final time was a little over 7 hours. It's taken me more time to write blogs than that. Hell, it probably took me longer to write this blog than it did to beat Silent Hill 2!
Oh, right, I forgot that this blog was about Silent Hill 2. As the title suggests, this game takes place in Silent Hill, a foggy town that proves how scary New England is. Stay away from New England at all costs. There's a reason why Ted Kennedy drank a lot: it was to forget that he was in New England. Anybody who even comes close to such a creepy place automatically levels up to badass. Enter James Sunderland, an ugly man who looks like somebody cut a mouth-shaped hole into a slab of pork and put a wig on the whole thing (otherwise known as the ODST approach to character design). He's looking for his wife, who probably ran away once she realized that she married a humorless Denis Leary. Understandably, James runs to Silent Hill in search of her; ununderstandably, she died three years before the start of the game. The plot here is pretty damn confusing, which is odd, given that it's the one part of the game that people love more than the actual game part. (More on that later.) Don't get me wrong, it's actually pretty good, what with the symbolism and complex character development; it's just that NOTHING HAPPENS FOR A LOT OF THE GAME. Like the original Silent Hill, this one consists mostly of the protagonist bumping into locations in search of some random girl in his life.
Also, I find the characterization a bit weird. No, not with that mama's girl or the dude somehow uglier than James, I get why they're that way; I'm talking about James himself. This guy is such a badass (not surprising, given that he's been to New England) that dead bodies don't surprise him at all. When I stumbled across a dead body early in the game, his first thought was, "Sweet! I found that apartment key I needed!" Keep in mind that I didn't even know that there was an apartment in the area, let alone that it required a key to enter. The only conclusion I could come to was that James Sunderland is psychic. Either that, or he's MacGyver. You see a piece of hair, James sees the string he needs for his hook. Hell, he won't even use certain items for anything close to their intended use, like when he drops canned juice down a trash chute when he has about nine other items capable of doing the exact same thing. Do not question this man when he says that he has no use for something.
Instead, question this game for why all the puzzles are so damn weird. I should've known something was up when the game gave me difficulties for both action AND riddles. It has an effect, and the puzzles it does touch do feel genuinely and fairly challenging (even if they do destroy the immersion); I'm not talking about those puzzles. No, I'm talking about stuff like the elevator puzzle. Wait, why am I calling it a puzzle? Late in the game, you find this elevator that gives off a harpy shriek when you step on it. Turns out it has a weight limit of one person. AND NOTHING ELSE. You literally have to get rid of everything to use the elevator, which is only understandable when you're dropping off a sword that would make Cloud Strife feel like less of a man, not when a photo summons harpy fury. The worst part is that it's an employee elevator, leading me to believe that the hotel is staffed entirely through child slave labor. Later on, you use a can opener to open a can of LIGHT BULBS. I swear that half the puzzles in this game require a FAQ of some type, which probably explains why this feels like a point-and-click adventure.
Except it has one thing that point-and-click adventures never had: combat.....that doesn't revolve around crappy insults. If it did, the enemies would be spouting things like, "Christ, you suck at beating meat monsters! You'd think you'd have mastered that shit over three years, you freak of nature!" Instead, they spend their time spouting World War II radio sounds. (OK, they actually don't, but things get REALLY eerie once you realize that.) It does a really good job of scaring you, due to several factors like the perpetual fog and darkness surrounding the town, and the fact that fighting them is a bit of a chore. Hitting enemies regularly works well, but trying to whack things on the ground is near impossible, which is probably why half the enemies decide that walking on two legs is overrated. I first thought that you hit things on the ground by dicking around with the right analog stick, but now I think you have to hold down the X button. I say "think" because James still managed to fuck it up half the time. Look, I know that vulnerability is a huge part of fear, but there's a difference between truly being weak and truly being unable to get your character to bash things on the ground.
Hell, now that I think about it, this game does know how to pull off the "vulnerability" card, but never in the right places. OK, there is one place: enemy numbers. Handling one enemy is fine, but two enemies will absolutely murder you. Once, I came across three enemies; I believe it was at that point that the game just cut away to a Game Over screen. Of course, I was killing things with my trusty Steel Pipe, so that may have been the problem. After all, the game gives you so much handgun ammo that playing this game legally makes you Charlton Heston, but you'll never need it all because melee weapons work fine. When I finally decided to use the firearms, I noticed one weird thing: reloading through the menu. Why do it in the real world when all that tension and fear is just a click away? And now that I'm on a rant on the combat, why are there so few healing items in the game? Wait, that's the opposite of a rant. Hmmm.....oh! Why do bodies jump out of nowhere on certain roads? It's not scary in any way, Konami, it's just stupid.
So I've managed to debunk A LOT of the stuff that should make Silent Hill 2 good, begging the question, "Why do people love this game so damn much?" Well, I believe it's because this game is a master of atmosphere (or it would be if half the doors weren't broken). The level of detail is amazing, the game gets progressively more insane as you progress, and there's a genuine feeling of dread and terror when you hear your radio go off, but can't see what's causing it to do so. The feeling of dread you can only get when you take a book into the bathroom to read, but find that it has a portrait on the cover, and you can't take a dump because it now feels like somebody's watching you. Just me? Fine, how about when you step out of the shower and realize that you have to give birth to a brown eel, bringing about a sense that you've cleaned yourself for naught, and that slight fear that you'll slip off the seat, somehow. Still me? Fine, ho-I can't find that Boondocks clip I want. OK, moving on, part of the success is that it doesn't muck things up with a HUD of any kind. Looking for your health? Not gonna find it on the screen. Look in your hands; just like marriage, the more vibrations you feel, the worse things are. For you, at least. But I can't survive on atmosphere alone! I need things to do, and "find out what you need to do" doesn't count as something to do. Same with extra endings. I only mention that because of how short the game is. Oh, wait, I've already mentioned that. What else, what else.....oh, Pyramid Head's pretty creepy, when he's around. He gets the game the Almost Scariest Thing Award. I say "Almost" because there are much scarier things out there, like Girl Beck, Satan Cl-
Ch...Chicken Head....How d...
Why is it so dark, and wh-
Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage( I specifically requested against this music.) In fact, I'd have taken any other music available. In case you haven't caught on, this is the Queen, typing the rest of this thing after my husband made himself go insane. Forgive me for jumping straight into the blog, as I'm not very good at introductions. Also, I'm not acquainted with writing blogs, especially on video games I haven't played, so keep that in mind as you read this.
Anyway, Spyro 2, being the sequel to Spyro 1, should logically follow the story of that game, but for whatever reason, doesn't; Gnasty Gnorc (is that how it's spelled? That can't be it.) is out, and instead, you get Ripto, voiced by the man responsible for Jecht and many other game characters. Now that I look at the credits for this game, the production values for this game are pretty good: you have Tom Kenny doing a Billy West impression, an actual type of story, and it generally feels like a lot more effort was put into the game. Keep in mind that I don't say this exclusively for the story; just about everything, from the levels to the rest of the things I'll end up mentioning later on, feel like they've received a massive improvement from the last game.
Take, for example, simply getting through the game. I can't tell you how it was done in the first Spyro, mainly because it doesn't look like it was ever consistent; you'd end up collecting all sets of items, hoping that you had enough of one group to make it to the next world or whatever. Not so in Ripto's Rage; talismans generally allow you to progress through the game, orbs unlock special levels (and regular levels at the end of the game, just to make the game longer), and gems allow you to buy new moves and levels and stuff. That last one doesn't count as making the game longer, as it never really sets the price so high that you need to collect more gems. You'll end up collecting all the gems you need in the levels, anyway, given how linear they seem to be. For the most part, levels are a straight line from start to talisman, orb requirements scattered along the way in little pockets you need not visit. I'm not insulting the game for being so linear, as it works just fine that way. What I will insult is the simplicity of the combat.
Not counting the boss battles for which there are FAQs I can pass off as a blog, all the enemies seem to die easily, their combat strategies being one-note (hit or flame, choose one). It's pretty disappointing, especially when you consider how complex everything else is. Instead of simply looking for the items you need, you have to do missions to complete them. One may consist of shooting down a bunch of spike-balls with a turret, another may involve rescuing baby turtles who are trapped in boxes, for some reason. There's enough variety to keep things from getting stale, and it's all executed well enough that none of it comes off as shoved in for the sake of being there. The best example of this is the collection of flying levels. Sure, they're not necessary, but so what? They still seemed fun to play, from what I've seen, and there's nothing wrong with them, at least on a technical level.
I could spend this final paragraph nitpicking the little flaws, like how the voice acting sometimes sounds like Avalar is code for The Matrix, or how it's too short and too easy, but instead, I'll complain about something greater: the power-ups. Each level has a certain power-up, like super-breath, super-charge, or super-get-launched-up-to-another-part-of-the-level. That's not the bad part; that honor goes to how you get the power-ups. You have to kill a certain amount of enemies, which is the only reason you'll ever do so. It doesn't even stay that way when you leave the level; you have to rekill the enemies each time you want the power-up....for less than a minute. Sadly, a lot of these power-ups last long enough just to confirm that they're there, probably to give it some artificial sense of challenge. Despite all that, Ripto's Rage is an amazing g-
Bushwald Sexyface said:
"Hey, King bloke, you kn-ugh. Why you wearing them fake booblies?"