"It's a wonderful suffering, a beautiful nightmare worth every shudder and scream it can wring."
Silent Hill was exceptionally scary. It’s not aged well, we can all agree with that, but it dared do more than just jump out of the shadows and yell “Boo!” at passing gamers. It got right in your head by giving you a perfectly normal slice of everyday life, perverting the hell out of it, and then never really letting you know why. You got hints, you could form theories, but the core of the game was a shapeless, formless, patchwork of terror. You didn’t know why all these awful things were happening to you; you just knew they were happening. With nothing to blame, with nothing to ground the events against, you just had primal fear. It got under your skin, in your veins, behind your eyes. It stayed with you long after you powered down your Playstation.
Of course, in order to provide the gamer some sense of closure, answers would have to be offered at the conclusion. But that’s okay; you saw the man behind the curtain, and everything made awful, terrible sense. With the sick atrocities of Silent Hill laid bare, the entire macabre picture was completed. What, then, was left to explore?
Unlike pretty much every other update to the series, Silent Hill 2 brilliantly side-steps this issue by no longer asking “Where am I, and why is this happening?” by instead posing the more direct question of “Why is this happening to me?” James Sunderland has a history with the sleepy little town of Silent Hill; he and his wife vacationed there just before the onset of her fatal illness started slowly devouring her. It was the last truly happy memory the couple shared before their lives became one long corridor of hospital visits, intensive care and insignificant drug programs. We find him in a dilapidated public toilet, re-reading a cryptic letter claiming to be from his dead wife, inviting him back to meet her at their 'special place'.
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