When you think of the greatest horror video games of all time, you quickly think of Silent Hill 2. Great environmental and sound design, scary monsters, and a deeply affecting story that is subtly told make the game one of the best. While there will always be debate as to whether Silent Hill 2 or 3 is the best in the series (or perhaps even the first game), there is no doubting the quality of Silent Hill 2.
A remake of Silent Hill 2 developed by Bloober Team and involving original members of Team Silent sounds exciting. But there are several things the remake should keep, add or remove to improve the remake from the now 20-year-old original.
10/10 Each ending returns
The main scenario of Silent Hill 2 has six different endings, although only three are available on the first run. Besides the two joke endings, each ending has a significantly different finale, starting with the scene before the final boss. Each ending even has its own credits music, some of which are the best tracks in the game.
This makes replaying the game much more fun as the entire ending sequence is different, answers different questions and leaves completely different questions hanging in the air, rather than just a cutscene. The remake should retain each ending and make the finale retain its ambiguous conclusions.
9/10 Born From A Wish returns
In the Xbox port of Silent Hill 2 and the Greatest Hits PS2 version, the developers added another scenario, Born from a Wish, where you play as Maria. In retrospect, this mode is quite fascinating because of how unique your playable character is compared to James Sunderland – both in gameplay and narrative.
It’s very short, but still filled with plenty of scares and a pretty location, the Baldwin Mansion. Since some horror remakes haven’t included all the side content from the original – like 2020’s Resident Evil 3 – this might not be included, but it should. The sub-scenario is quite important to the mythology of how Silent Hill and stands on its own as an effective short story.
8/10 Remove mid-game padding
It’s only about halfway through the game that you’ll play the final part in the streets of Silent Hill. The developers must have realized this would be weird in a game called Silent Hill, so right after this they force you to go back and walk around all of South Vale. There are no notable moments in this section, it’s just very boring on multiple playthroughs and feels like padding.
There are plenty of supplies here, and this is where you can rack up the kill count if you go for the ten-star rating, but besides, this loop-around doesn’t need to be in the game. The atmosphere is ok, but hopefully the remake can make this process much faster and less boring.
7/10 Change the closed door in the apartment building
A clear design problem in the original Silent Hill 2 is during the scene, the apartment building. During this part you will meet Eddie for the first time, but there are no important items in his place. On further playthrough, you might think that the first Eddie visit can be skipped, but that is not the case.
If you don’t visit Eddie, the door leading to where you meet Angela for the second time will be closed for some reason. It feels forced and inconsistent with the rules of the game which are usually so open to exploration. This can be fixed by adding a key to the door where you meet Eddie, and hopefully the remake will follow suit.
6/10 Remain faithful in its symbolism
Silent Hill 2 is a highly replayable game for many reasons, but one of them is that the title presents images early on that you simply won’t understand until after you’ve beaten the game. This image forces you to actually pay attention while playing, and if you’re passive, you might not realize what the game is trying to show you.
This symbolic image must be the same and not tampered with in terms of design. Since this is a remake from scratch, these images will be redone. However, it is important that Bloober faithfully mimics what Team Silent was trying to convey in its image.
5/10 New Akira Yamaoka music
Akira Yamaoka, the composer of Silent Hill 2 and Masahiro Ito, the designer of Pyramid Head, are involved in the Silent Hill 2 remake. Hopefully this means the game will get new or remixed music tracks. That will be a treat, considering Yamaoka’s music has changed quite a bit since he left Konami in 2009.
Since then, he has mainly created music for games by Grasshopper Manufacture, the studio run by the eccentric Suda51. His style is very different now and he often even distributes his own band now. Some tracks would be wonderful to hear redone in Yamaoka’s newer style, including the sweet credit music.
4/10 Commitment from Hiroyuki Owaku
While Yamaoka and Ito are back in the remake, a Team Silent member was oddly not mentioned in the Silent Hill Transmission announcement. Hiroyuki Owaku was the writer of Silent Hill 2 and 3. He is one of the most important people when it comes to the development of the games, and the thing is that he still works at Konami.
Most of the original developers for the old Silent Hill games are working for different companies now. But since Owaku still works at Konami, it’s incredibly strange that he has no involvement in the project. Bloober uses the same Japanese and English translated script as the original, but still, you’d think Owaku would be involved in some way to supervise.
3/10 Much better combat and controls
On the surface, the old Silent Hill games appear to have the same tank controls as the old Resident Evil titles. But in reality they are far more complex. There are two differences in the controls. First is that you can move and shoot at the same time, which works well. The other is strafing, and this can be weird as it forces you to use the shoulder buttons to strafe left or right.
It doesn’t feel good, but you need this mechanic to get around faster in certain battles. The third game tried to speed up this match, but ended up making it even more picky. Nowadays, this control scheme is just too complicated, and the combat and controls should be simplified and streamlined to work better with the remake’s new over-the-shoulder view.
2/10 Improved boat section
In the original Silent Hill 2, towards the end of the game, there is a boat section. On easy or normal this section is manageable, but on the harder difficulties the controls make it extremely frustrating. The controls are meant to be more realistic, with each stick moving a separate paddle. It’s a good idea, but it still ends up annoying and taking away from the moment.
To move the boat forward, move the left stick counter-clockwise and the right stick clockwise. It’s so weird that you’ll feel like you’re banging your head and rubbing your stomach, and you’ll quickly become confused as your thumbs just freak out. This area can slow you down badly and makes this part a struggle when you’re trying to get a ten star rating and the green hyperspray and it’s just not fun. The remake should improve and streamline these strange controls.
1/10 Explore Toluca Lake Island
The Rebirth ending can only be done in second or later playthroughs. After the final boss and collecting the four ritual items, James heads towards Toluca Lake Island in a cutscene. It then ends, leaving the ending ambiguous.
Since the location is modeled in the original game and even placed on the in-game map, it would be cool to explore and play this short ending sequence instead of being a cutscene. There are even videos of people hacking the game so they can explore this area, so it would be nice if the remake allowed you to do that in an easier way.
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