Silent Hill 2 is considered to be one of the best survival-horror games ever created. While the second Silent Hill installment came out on multiple platforms, some versions are better than others when it comes to some elements. So what version should you be playing? Find out with our rankings of the different iterations below.
Why You Should Play Silent Hill 2
Silent Hills 2 is a true survival-horror experience as it limits your visibility with a heavy fog and awkward camera angles. As a result, you have to rely on your radio, which emits static noises when any of the disturbing monsters are nearby. While you can kill these creatures, the combat system has been made intentionally clunky, making you feel very vulnerable (an element that is missing in almost modern AAA games).
Silent Hill 2 really shines when it comes to atmosphere and story. The plot follows James Sunderland as he arrives at the mysterious town of Silent Hill after receiving a letter from his deceased. The nightmarish place has been abandoned aside from the occasional wandering creepy monsters. The different locales and twists to the story will make you want to see it to the end even if you have to experience more horror to get to that point.
Needless to say, if you are a fan of the survival-horror genre, Silent Hill 2 is a must-play.
Silent Hill 2 (Greatest Hits) on PS2
Silent Hill 2 was released first for the PlayStation 2 on September 24, 2001. However, you should track down the Greatest Hits version, which came out for the same system on November 17, 2002, as it contains an extra ending (making it six total) along with the Born from a Wish side-story scenario.
When compared to the other ports (even the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 releases), the PS2 version has, surprisingly, the best fog effects. The computer-generated cut scenes, as well as the frame rate, are also better on Sony’s platform when compared to the Xbox version.
Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams on Xbox
Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams, which came out for the first Xbox on December 20, 2001, has the same gameplay and content as the PS2 version. Even though it had some disadvantages we mentioned above, the Xbox version has slightly sharper graphics thanks to the support of 480p. The differences between the two console releases on the PS2 and Xbox are so minute that you couldn’t go wrong either way.
Silent Hill 2 on PC
Silent Hill 2 was also ported to the PC on December 2, 2002. The computer version has a resolution support of up to 1600×1200 and also features quick saves and a cut scenes viewer. You can check out its minimal system requirements below (courtesy of the Amazon listing):
700 MHz processor
64 MB RAM
DirectX 8.1 compliant 3D accelerator card w/32 MB VRAM
1.8 GB free disk space
DirectX 8.1 compliant sound card
Aside from the weaker fog effects when compared to the PS2 version, the PC port is also buggier. With that said, the improvements made are more than enough to make it the best version of the game as long as you can find a copy (it is out of print with no digital release) and get it running relatively glitch free (you can check out a post on NeoGAF on how to mod the PC version to get the optimal experience).
Silent Hill HD Collection on PS3 and Xbox 360
Jumping on the bandwagon of HD remastered collections, Konami decided to release Silent Hill HD Collection for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on March 20, 2012. The compilation (which contains Silent Hill 3 as well as Silent Hill 2) is generally hated by fans of the series as it originally launched with a host of issues such as a bad frame rate, poor fog effects and other glitches. A patch was eventually released for the PS3 version, fixing some, but definitely not most, of the problems.
There was also a controversy surrounding the voice acting being redubbed. Fortunately, Konami eventually included the old voices along with the new ones before the collection was launched.
The only way you should consider buying Silent Hill HD Collection to play Silent Hill 2 is due to price and convenience. The PC, PS2 and Xbox versions have gone out of print and, as a result, can be pricey to buy. You also have to set up the computer version to work properly. Not to mention that you have to track down a PS2 or Xbox as well you if don’t already have those systems in order to play the superior console releases.
While it is considered to be the worst versions, the PS3 and Xbox 360 releases of Silent Hill 2 are still serviceable enough to play if you do not want to spend too much time or money tracking down the better iterations. We suggest getting the PS3 version over the Xbox 360 as Konami never released a patch for Microsoft’s last-gen system if you have both consoles. You can purchase the Silent Hill HD Collection here.
If you have the right setup and configurations, the PC version of Silent Hill 2 is the best, followed by the PS2 and Xbox releases. Only get the Silent Hill HD Collection if you believe that finding and setting up the other versions may end up being a big inconvenience. To recap, you can find our rankings from best to worst below:
- Silent Hill 2 on PC
- Silent Hill 2 (Greatest Hits) on PS2/Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams on Xbox
- Silent Hill HD Collection on PS3
- Silent Hill HD Collection on PS3 on Xbox 360
Whichever platform you decided to play Silent Hill 2 on, you will be in for a treat (especially if you are a survival-horror fan).