Retro Let's Play: "Silent Hill 2" (2001)

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by elvis, Aug 31, 2018.

  1. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    33,137
    Location:
    Brisbane
    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)

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    PS2 Long Play (warning: spoilers. This game is heavily story/plot driven, so avoid if you want to actually try the game out).

     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
  2. Vanne

    Vanne Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2003
    Messages:
    195
    Man, I LOVED this series when I was working in the states in 2000. Freaked me right out. Me and a mate we used to sit around the house, after a long day/night of flying rubber dog shit everywhere in the south of Texas. Together with our mate "Slabby!" , we sit around trying to solve the puzzles until all the early hours of the morning until "Slabby" was gone. Excellent game, the better of the 2 being number 2 (which we finished in 2002), but both great games.. Freakingly creepy. Sadly, I don't have a PS2 anymore, but I recon I still have the original discs hanging around somewhere. might just dig them up.
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane mate. :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2018
    elvis likes this.
  3. pwlm1975

    pwlm1975 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2016
    Messages:
    267
    Location:
    Logan, Qld
    Loved this series, PS1 was my first taste of the original game. Konami definitely had more ability for creating mystique and artform in the game, compared to Capcom's Resident Evil (a game which I also enjoyed, but was no good at).
     
    elvis likes this.
  4. OP
    OP
    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    33,137
    Location:
    Brisbane
    So this now clocks in at the longest I've lasted playing a survival horror game to date. I'm sitting at around 2 hours in according to my save, and I'm playing this in short bursts for a few reasons. Firstly, it's pretty tense going, and secondly the controls frustrate me. I'm definitely not putting in the hour+ long sessions I did with Earthbound.

    My previous best effort was Resident Evil 4, at about an hour before I threw in the towel. And before that RE1 where I didn't get past the opening few scenes.

    I'd like to persist though. I'm far more fascinated by the psychological horror of this title (compared to RE's physical/monster horror). I think the delivery vehicle of an interactive game makes it quite special compared to a movie, which is a more "on rails" experience where you are always the observer, rather than taking on a deeper part as an actor in the story.

    I love horror movies, and this game definitely gives me the same sort of feeling that a *good* horror movie does. And I have to say, for a PS2 game, it looks utterly stunning, especially on a CRT. Emulating it on an LCD isn't terrible either, although I might test it out half way on a PC CRT through an emulator and see how that goes.

    I also read the other day that SH2 is one of Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw's favourite games. Here's his review of it:
     
  5. OP
    OP
    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    33,137
    Location:
    Brisbane
    It goes bloody great. Please excuse (a) my inability to colour correct, and (b) my shitty photography (the PC CRT seems to put out a lot more light, and I can't find the settings to make my phone camera deal with it). But damn, emulating this on a PC and spitting it out at triple-res to a 1024x768 Sony Trinitron CRT is amazing.

    Original PS2, RGB to 480i CRT:

    ps2.jpg

    Windows + PCSX2, triple-res out to a 1024x768 Sony Trinitron CRT over a VGA cable:

    pc.jpg
     
    Vanne likes this.
  6. Vanne

    Vanne Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2003
    Messages:
    195
    We played these games mostly in the dark, late hours of the morning. Def added to the atmosphere. Almost creepy like how you start looking over your shoulder while playing... Sorry man, I lasted about 39 seconds watching that review untill I had to turn it off.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2018
  7. OP
    OP
    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    33,137
    Location:
    Brisbane
    I'm definitely finding myself looking forward to playing this at night. Sun goes down, I turn off all the lights in my games room, crank the bass on the Marantz speakers, and go full immersion. Super creepy, and I love it.

    No need to apologise to me, I didn't make the review.
     
  8. StratosFear

    StratosFear Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    8,038
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    elvis likes this.
  9. OP
    OP
    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    33,137
    Location:
    Brisbane
    If I had an OLED monitor/TV, this is how I'd play the game.
     
  10. Vanne

    Vanne Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2003
    Messages:
    195
    Lol thats funny, i just bought a PS2 (literally 30 minutes ago at GAME, in Zaragoza (yep, one of our layovers for freight) lol 24 euros. original FAT bastard model to go play SH2 on original hardware. lol. not sure if ill do component (PyBr et al) or grab one of those PS2-2-HDMI thingies I've got lying at home... my little box isn't due till december... :(
     
    elvis likes this.
  11. Vanne

    Vanne Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2003
    Messages:
    195
    Edit: ok SH2 is NOT playable from USB stick. Thats kinda funny as i would have thought the USB had faster throughput than the DVD rom in the PS2? anyways, not to worry, i have a Sydney trip at the end of the month when ill pick up my original SH2 discs at mums place. :D
     
  12. OP
    OP
    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    33,137
    Location:
    Brisbane
    PS2's DVD was 4-speed, offering a maximum speed of 5.28MB/s.

    PS2's USB ports were USB1.1, which offered an absolute maximum of 12Mbit/s, or around 1.5MB/s (one quarter the speed of the DVD-ROM).

    Playing games off USB only really works if the game loads all game data into RAM. Anything that requires hefty cutscenes or constant data streaming won't work.

    Your best bet for FreeMCBoot/OpenPS2Loader play is HDD or Ethernet, as both can offer faster throughput than the DVD-ROM.
     
  13. gdjacobs

    gdjacobs Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2007
    Messages:
    774
    Location:
    MB, Canada
    Can data be loaded via Firewire/iLink?
     
  14. OP
    OP
    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    33,137
    Location:
    Brisbane
    From what I read, technical possible, but nobody's written a driver to support it yet.
     
  15. Vanne

    Vanne Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2003
    Messages:
    195
    Thx Elvis, appreciate the tech schooling mate.
    My PS2 doesn't have ilink anymore, it was removed for the last version. No biggie as I said I have my real discs back at mums place at Narrabeen. (That and my HDD kit is inbound)
     
  16. OP
    OP
    elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    33,137
    Location:
    Brisbane
    I've really enjoyed my time with this game. Sadly (a) I didn't have a lot of time to dedicate to it this fortnight, (b) I really suck at the puzzles, and (c) Spider-Man got released, so that's that.

    Planning to definitely pick this up and have another crack at it. Very deserving of some proper attention.
     

Share This Page