Silent Hill 2
Hated by: Xbox 360 Editor Charlie Barratt
Inspiring fear through entertainment is an art. It takes a delicate and masterful storyteller to know when to ratchet tension and when to release it... when to go for unsettling vagueness and when to go for full-on shock value. To truly terrify an audience, you need to strike a careful balance.
Silent Hill 2 fails miserably, and oh-so-painfully, at attempting to reach that middle ground. Actually, scratch that - Silent Hill 2 doesn't even try to reach that middle ground.
It's all build-up and no payoff. You spend at least an hour in the beginning just walking. Walking through a drab, sepia-toned soup that is not only supposed to pass for fog, but is also supposed to be this franchise's defining quality. Later, waste ten minutes of your life descending, on foot, into the underwater prison and your reward is... another endless series of dank hallways and rusty doors that look no different than the last two buildings you rummaged through like a bored vagrant.
Above: That about sums it up, doesn't it?
Know what else, Silent Hill 2? You can concoct as many disturbingly bizarre freaks as you want. You can even put them in nurse's outfits and make them have freaky bathroom sex with Pyramid Head. But unless you give them some kind of psychologically frightening reason for existing, it's... just... not... scary. (See how you like it when we drag everything out?) "It's all in the character's mind" doesn't cut it. In fact, that's a total copout. So is making someone play through this mess multiple times to get a real, mildly comprehensible ending.
If this is the best the genre has to offer, the genre is broken. Survival horror games can and should be better than Silent Hill 2.
"Playing this is like being suffocated slowly - excruciatingly slowly - with a musty old maggot-ridden blanket. By a mannequin. In the fog. Six times over." - Charlie