Good Game: Silent Hill 2: Director’s Cut (PS2)

Another Good Game

Today its Silent Hill 2: Director’s Cut a 2001/2002 survival horror game developed and published by Konami and Team Silent for PlayStation 2 (PS2). It is the second installment in the Silent Hill series.

While set in the series’ eponymous fictional American town, Silent Hill 2 is not a direct sequel to the first Silent Hill game. Instead, it centers on James Sunderland, who enters the town after receiving a letter apparently written by his deceased wife, saying she is waiting for him in Silent Hill. Joined by Maria, who strongly resembles her, he searches for her and discovers the truth about her death. Additional material in rereleases and ports included Born from a Wish, which focuses on Maria before she and James meet.

Silent Hill 2 uses a third-person view and places a greater emphasis on finding items and solving riddles than combat. It includes psychological aspects such as the gradual disappearance of Mary’s letter, and references to history, films and literature. More humanoid than their counterparts in the preceding game, some of the monsters were designed to reflect James’ subconscious.

Development of Silent Hill 2 began in June 1999, directly after the completion of its predecessor. The game was created by Team Silent, a production group within Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo. The story was conceived by CGI director Takayoshi Sato, who based it on Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment (1866), with individual members of the team collaborating on the actual scenario.

The main writing was done by Hiroyuki Owaku and Sato, who provided the dialog for the female characters. Silent Hill 2’s budget has been estimated at US$7–10 million by Sato, an increase from the previous installment’s estimated cost of US$3–5 million. The decision to produce a sequel to Silent Hill was partly a financial one, as it had been commercially successful, and partly a creative one, as the team had faced difficulties while working on the original game. The team was given a small window to settle on a platform. As it was unable to gather information on the then-unannounced GameCube and Xbox consoles, they began production of the game for the PlayStation 2. Producer Akihiro Imamura stated that the decision was also influenced by “a wish from the business section that we move rapidly on the PS2. You know, it is currently the market focus”.

Imamura read all comments about the original game and kept them in mind while working on Silent Hill 2. He estimated that a total of fifty people worked on the game: while the creative team from the first game remained, they had to bring in thirty people from Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo. Developed at the same time, the PlayStation 2 version of Silent Hill 2 and its Xbox port debuted at the March 2001 Tokyo Game Show to positive reactions.

Silent Hill 2 received critical acclaim. Within the month of its release in North America, Japan, and Europe, over one million copies were sold, with the greatest number of sales in North America. English-language critics praised the atmosphere, graphics, story and monster designs of Silent Hill 2, but criticized the controls as difficult to use although much improved over its predecessor. It is often considered the greatest horror game and among the greatest video games of all time, praised for its story and use of metaphors, symbolism, psychological horror and taboo topics, soundtrack and sound design. The game was followed by Silent Hill 3 in 2003.

Watch the video I made below showing about the first 42 minutes of the game.


Silent Hill 2: Director’s Cut Gameplay.

Developer: Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo.
Publisher: Konami.
Platform: PlayStation 2.
Release (original): 24th September 2001 (NA), 27th September 2001 (JP), 23rd November 2001 (EU).
Genre: Survival horror.

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