The Horror! The Horror!
Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams is simply the latest in a series of games that attempt to emulate the popular Resident Evil series, and falls flat on its face. It's amazing that the designers at Konami could spend more money designing a game for one of the most advanced console systems on the market, and still make the game even uglier and less fun than the original Silent Hill for the Playstation. There are so many things wrong with this game I could spend pages listing them all, so I'll just hit the highlights and leave the rest for you to find out.
It's not a bug, its a feature
Although I tend to loathe games that are all flash and no substance, in games like Silent Hill 2 atmosphere is (supposed to be) everything. Ambiance and the overall mood are crucial to scary, suspense filled games. If I'm not immersed in the plot and generally scared out of my wits, then the game has failed. While some of the locations in the game are pretty scary, such as the evil hospital, just walking around the town can be a real chore. Sadly, the perpetual fog and the annoying fuzz that hangs over every screen hamper your ability to go through the game. Now, some of you out there in cyberspace might be thinking I'm just hooked up with bad cables or a crappy TV, and this might cause the fuzz in question. Not only are some screens (like the inventory screen) crystal clear, but there is even a hidden options screen that allows you to turn the fuzz off once you beat it the first time around! The fuzz is more than just a matter of personal taste; leaving the fuzz on reduces your ability to see monsters and you can miss important items.
Just make it stop!
Perhaps Silent Hill 2's most damning flaws are the horrible way the levels are laid out and the GIGANTIC plot holes that litter almost every aspect of the storyline. Your character starts out in a roadside restroom just outside of town, and finds a letter addressed to him from his dead wife, Mary. Weird. James (your character) then proceeds to walk about 10 miles down a dirt path into town in real time. The first 5 to 10 minutes of the game are simply screen after screen of fog filled road. WHY GOD WHY??? What could possibly compel the designers of this game to do this to a player? A simple FMV of your character walking into town would have been just as good and much quicker. When you reach town, you follow some bloodstains to a monster (which is basically 2 pairs of legs fastened on top of each other), and you find a radio. The best part is that the radio emits static whenever monsters are nearby. Why does it do this? Beats me. It's never explained how the monsters got into town, or what they have to do with the radio. You can even turn the radio off if you like, although I've never figured out why you would want to. The plot (as it were) is explained in a series of badly done FMVs that highlight just how little thought went into the plotline. Absolutely nobody in the game (James included) reacts as if they notice they are in a town full of bizarre monsters. You meet Laura, a bratty little girl who claims to have met James's dead wife. She taunts James throughout the game, while James just sits there looking sad. You'll quickly tire of her and wish James had the balls to drop her with your hunting rifle. In another scene, it's almost surreal to watch Laura and another character chomping away at a slice of pizza at the local bowling alley, as if they havent a care in the world. My personal favorite was Maria. She looks just like Mary, your dead wife, but acts like a street hooker. For example, you are in a prison and find Maria locked in the jail cell. Now, how the hell does somebody get locked in a jail cell when you and she are the only human survivors in sight? As if James wouldn't be already motivated to free the only human survivor around, she makes not so subtle hints to have sex with him if he will open the door (sorry, she doesn't). Does that even SEEM like a rational thing to say when you are surrounded by undead monsters? Sadly, you have to blow Maria/Mary away too in the end, but again the reason why is not especially clear. While there are multiple endings, it's doubtful you'll care enough at the end to muddle through it again. Avoid this game unless you have too much time and money on your hands.