Retro Let's Play for early September 2018: Silent Hill 2 (To find out what this is and why we're doing it, click here). Developed by Internal Konami division Team Silent and published by Konami originally in September 2001, originally for the Playstation 2, with other ports to follow later. The game is currently ranked 22nd in HG101's top 47,858 games of all time. Silent Hill 2 is not a direct sequel to Silent Hill, but rather just a separate story. It follows James Sunderland, who has received a mysterious letter from his wife despite her death three years earlier. It invites him to the town of Silent Hill, so James heads there to investigate. A survival horror game (originally designed to compete with Resident Evil, but ultimately becoming something much more unique), it has a strong emphasis on psychological horror, and includes themes of (copying from Wikipedia) "morality, grief, abuse (physical, sexual, etc.), suicide, mental illness and mental health, death, trauma, rape, guilt, existentialism, bullying, domestic violence, incest, loneliness, body image, murder, substance abuse, pain and suffering, loss of loved ones, relationship issues, euthanasia, self-loathing, and sexuality among others". The atmosphere is set early, with a rolling fog covering the town, greatly limiting your view, and giving a foreboding sense of claustrophobic dread. As James enters local buildings, the claustrophobia gets worse, with narrow hallways and poor lighting adding to the fear. Your health in the game is indicated no only by a physical icon in your menu, but also a pulse that you can feel through your controller (as such, playing with a rumble-capable controller is highly recommended). In typical survival horror style, your character is quite weak, and despite the availability of some weapons, ammunition is sparse, and movement is slow and cumbersome, almost like a bad dream. The music and sound effects add to the eeriness, and the game unfolds much like a classic horror film - not being scary necessarily for what is seen, but for what is missing or implied from scenes. Graphically the title is amazing consider its age and platform, showing off thick particle fog effects, soft volumetric shadows, and an engine that at times is even used for cutscenes. Design wise everything is rusted, dirty and decayed, itself a metaphor for the thin grasp the character has on their dwindling sanity. More information: Silent Hill Memories fan site: http://www.silenthillmemories.net/sh2/info_en.htm Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_Hill_2 Playing the game Before I detail the options, this excellent DFRetro video covers the ports available (PS2, XBox, PS3, XBox360, PC), and takes a close look at both their technical and aesthetic differences. The video does a great job of covering things without spoiling the game past the first few minutes. PS2: Originally released on Sony Playstation 2 (PS2), the original version is still the best due to many technical reasons. Check out the OCAU Retro FAQ page on the PS2, including tips on playing on either native hardware or through an emulator: https://forums.overclockers.com.au/threads/retro-faq-sony-playstation-2.1251162/ PCSX2, the PS2 emulator of choice, needs to be configured for hardware acceleration in game, with fallback to software rendering to make the FMV cutscenes work. Tips on the PCSX2 wiki: https://wiki.pcsx2.net/Silent_Hill_2 PC/Windows: The PCSX2 emulator is a better way to play the game. I tested it for about 2 hours tonight with an 8BitDo bluetooth controller, rendering at 2x native resolution on a Core i7-3632QM with AMD 7600M series DX11 GPU, and an ISO stored on a NAS accessed via WiFi. I got a solid 60FPS for most of the time, with occasional drops, but nothing too serious that affected gameplay (being an slower style game, it's not really a problem). See the link above about tips for getting the FMV cutscenes to work correctly. Alternatively, a native PC release was made, although as per the DFRetro video, this version is considered inferior to the PS2 version. It's no longer available for sale anywhere I could find, however does appear on abandonware sites: https://www.myabandonware.com/game/silent-hill-2-restless-dreams-bgd It's recommended to apply community patches to get both widescreen support, and better handling on modern DirectX video cards: https://thirteenag.github.io/wfp#sh2 PS3 / XBox360 - Silent Hill HD Collection https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_Hill_HD_Collection A HD re-release of Silent Hill 1, 2 and 3 was released as a pack for PS3 and XBox360. Sadly this version is considered quite inferior for both visual and voice-acting reasons (although SH2 specifically offered original voice acting). The XBox360 version was added to XBox One backwards compatibility in July this year: https://marketplace.xbox.com/en-AU/...llection/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d8024b4e0845 The PS3 version is not available online, sadly. Box art (left to right: PS2 PAL, PS2 USA, Windows) PS2 Long Play (warning: spoilers. This game is heavily story/plot driven, so avoid if you want to actually try the game out).