So let's start on ground level, the skeleton: What all fans see first, the story/plot. One that I simply cannot venture through without discovering tears have accumulated in my eyes. It is simply the epitome of psychological horror with its manner of giving you piece by piece of what appears to be just blatant mayhem, a puzzle that one simply cannot even imagine how it will eventually mesh together. "Wait, IS Maria Mary? Is Mary even dead? How do Angela and Eddie know vague facts that regard James's past? Wait... that's James's catacomb, is he DEAD?" All these inquiries were hurled at the player, leaving him or her perplexed and dying to just dig deeper and keep playing. I remember on my first playthrough, I could barely even put the controller down (my poor mum thought I was going insane, ha ha...)! To me, this is one of SH2's most successful charms: Its manner of teasing the player with bits of highly obscure information that could lead one to believing multiple hypotheses. But at the game's end, it finally comes together: "Silent Hill 2" is a brilliant yet heart-wrenching story of a man and woman so dearly in love with one another, but head through bedlam with the wife is struck terminally ill. This leaves James split, pulled in totally opposite directions courtesy of conflicting emotions; being sexually deprived tinkers with his hormones, making his inner demon rumble with anger, whilst his undoubted love for his wife keeps him by her side, and when both those emotions collide, Mary meets death at the hands of her own husband, plagued by remorse. He wanted her dead out of frustration, but also out of love itself, to free her from her turmoil. The story is absolutely wretching, but so meaningful with the message of how impossible it is to run from out past and bury our regrets. ... I mean sure, we won't have a manifestation of our dead wife stalk us, but same concept, ha ha.
Now, one of my favorite critiques- monster design! In the time of SH2's development Masahiro Ito was still in charge of fabricating the beasts we know in cursed Silent Hill, and I simply adore how each and every monster or boss has a specific, conspicuous meaning to them. Pyramid Head (myyy favorite!): An executioner, punisher, guilt incarnate itself, representing the repressed shame of James. The Lying Figure: A manifestation of Mary and her skin-devouring illness, supported by her statement "I look like a monster!" The Doormen (not to be confused with Abstract Daddy): Most heavily theorized to represent forced sexual interactions and/or male dominance. I could go on and on, but boy, did Ito nail it! After completing the game and knowing the story, I perfectly recall being amazed at thinking, "Oh my goodness... THAT'S what that monster meant!" I was also very impressed with how human but simultaneously IN-human the creatures looked, which only added a sense of unease to the game. It was a way of reminding the player that horror isn't just some cliche zombie or anything of the sort: It can be humanity itself. WE can be monsters, hence the beasts' "in-between" stage of appearing both humanoid yet not. It was all the more frightening in my experience.
How about character design? Brilliant. No character was like another, but instead each one was a charismatic, interesting individual. Eddie was easily-offended and touchy, while Angela was shy, awkward, and extremely depressed. Maria was a sultry, seductive yet caring character, yet had shades of Mary within her due to her technically BEING Mary. I found myself wishing to know more about all of the beings in the game.
And how can you forget the marvelous soundtrack? Genius Akira Yamaoka followed up from the first game impeccably! You had the heart-warming tracks, those that broke your heart, made you apprehensive, and some ambiance that, frankly, just made you want to pee yourself am I right? To date, the second installment of the series has one of my favorite, simply pulchritudinous soundtracks.
Overall, "Silent Hill 2" is a masterpiece. Worthy of going right up on a frame in Heaven, ha ha! For any gamer yearning for a horror game that isn't about gore and irrelevant jumpscares, OR is simply looking for a story that will move the soul, Konami's priceless "Silent Hill 2" is the indisputable answer.