Engineering Manager | Trail Runner | Stockholm, Sweden

Silent Hill

Finally a little break from the never-ending mind-pain caused by exams. Today I could do what I want without any lurking side-thought in my mind that always kept saying: ‘go and learn or you will fail’.

I woke up late and started to play Silent Hill 2. I spent a couple of hours with it and I can tell you it is really an awesome game. It might get on my ‘favourite games ever’ list even.

On the first scenes the graphics is not that astounding at least for the first sight. However the fog that appears later is the best ever made in a computer game. It is perfect: dense, creepy white fog so that you can see only two meters ahead. And then if you find the flashlight in the completely dark apartment building starts the real show. The light effects are incomparable to any former games: the shadows on the walls are dynamic and very life-like. Everything has a perfectly fitting shadow and all this moves with the flickering flashlight. Plus all the characters are high in polygons and very elaborate in design. People’s movements are also really sophisticatedly-made, it is worthy just swishing some with the stick in the hands of the main character to see the way he does it. (You might not have time for that in the adrenaline-pumped action parts when your life is on the risk against monsters.)

Yap, monsters. They are beautifully ugly and perfectly disgusting. Their AI is not the best but considering that they are dumb zombies with a negative IQ and with the only one goal to feed themselves with you, it is ok.

I haven’t played enough for the story to unfold completely but still I can say it is exciting. You cannot wait for the next in-game movie to see what happens next. The game raises tons of questions in the first part which are kept unanswered for a long time. You know why you are in Silent Hill: to search for your dead wife who just recently wrote you a letter. Well, obviously something is wrong with this as dead people write letters very seldomly. But you won’t know much else later on either. At least not to the point I am at now.

All the things detailed above results in an atmosphere found in horror novels only. Try SH2 in the dead of the night alone with quadraphonic speakers… the living shit will be scared out of you. For a long time you can’t see any monsters just sounds. Footsteps behind you which disappear when you turn back or blood on the pavement. You will go mad until you meet your first enemy face to face.

Silent Hill 2 is not a new game as it has been released to PS2 a while ago. Only the PC version is new. I have a certain dislike of console games adapted to PC as the process mostly results in awful controls and crappy graphics compared to original PC games. This time the controls – though could be much easier – are acceptable and the graphics is awesome. I think this is the best adaptation since the Nomad Soul.

As for the system requirements the game runs smoothly on my humble 525 (overclocked 466) Celeron with GeForce2 MX and 208MB of RAM. The only problem is with the movies where the graphics often lags behind the sound which is annoying but acceptable for a PC like this.

Please note that the game features extremely brutal scenes and violence. The colour of blood can be adjusted but that doesn’t prevent you from the fear caused by death-screams and the explicit movie contents. If you had a heart attack before and you sleep with the lights on at night I really don’t recommend to visit Silent Hill.