While set in the series' eponymous fictional American town, Silent Hill 2 is not a direct sequel to the first Silent Hill game. Instead, it centers on James Sunderland, who enters the town after receiving a letter apparently written by his deceased wife, saying she is waiting for him in Silent Hill. Joined by Maria, who strongly resembles her, he searches for her and discovers the truth about her death. Additional material in rereleases and ports included Born from a Wish, which focuses on Maria before she and James meet.
Silent Hill 2 uses a third-person view and places a greater emphasis on finding items and solving riddles than combat. It includes psychological aspects such as the gradual disappearance of Mary's letter, and references to history, films and literature. More humanoid than their counterparts in the preceding game, some of the monsters were designed to reflect James' subconscious.
Silent Hill 2 received critical acclaim. Within the month of its release in North America, Japan, and Europe, over one million copies were sold, with the greatest number of sales in North America. It is often considered the greatest horror game and among the greatest video games of all time, praised for its story, use of metaphors, symbolism, psychological horror and taboo topics, soundtrack, atmosphere, graphics, monster designs, and sound design. However, it received criticism for its controls despite their improvement over the game's predecessor's. The game was followed by Silent Hill 3 in 2003.
While not a direct sequel to the events and characters of the first Silent Hill game, Silent Hill 2 takes place in the series' namesake town, located in the northeastern United States. Silent Hill 2 is set in another area of the town, and explores some of Silent Hill's backstory. The town draws upon the psyche of its visitors and ultimately forms alternative versions of the town, which differ depending on the character. The concept behind the town was "a small, rural town in America"; to make the setting more realistic, some buildings and rooms lack furnishings.
Letter from Silent Heaven Edit
James Sunderland (Guy Cihi) comes to Silent Hill after apparently receiving a letter from his wife Mary (Monica Taylor Horgan), who died of an illness three years before. While exploring the town, he encounters Angela Orosco (Donna Burke), a teenage runaway searching for her mother; Eddie Dombrowski (David Schaufele), another teenage runaway; and Laura (Jacquelyn Brekenridge), an eight-year-old who befriended Mary and accuses James of not truly loving her. James searches a local park, where he meets Maria (Horgan), who strongly resembles Mary but has a much more aggressive personality. Maria claims that she has never met or seen Mary, and because she is frightened by the monsters, James allows her to follow him
Following Laura to a hospital and searching for her there at Maria's insistence, James and Maria are ambushed by the monster Pyramid Head, and Maria is killed while James escapes. James resolves to search the hotel that he and Mary stayed at during their vacation. On the way, James finds Maria alive and unharmed in a locked room. She claims ignorance of their previous encounter and discusses elements of James' and Mary's past that only Mary would know. James sets off to find a way to free Maria but returns to find her dead again. Later on, he rescues Angela from a monster; she confesses that her father sexually abused her, and a newspaper clipping implies she killed him in self-defense before coming to Silent Hill. He also confronts Eddie, who admits to maiming a bully, and killing a dog, before fleeing to Silent Hill. When Eddie attacks him, James kills him in self-defense.
At the hotel, James locates a videotape which depicts him euthanizing his dying wife, and Mary's letter becomes a blank piece of paper. In another room, a final meeting with Angela sees her giving up on life, unable to cope with her trauma. She walks into a fire and is not seen again. Afterwards, James encounters two Pyramid Heads, along with Maria, who is killed again. James realizes that Pyramid Head was created because he needed someone to punish him, and all the monsters are manifestations of his psyche. The envelope from Mary disappears and both Pyramid Heads commit suicide. James heads to the hotel's rooftop; depending on choices made by the player throughout the game, he encounters either Mary or Maria disguised as her.
Silent Hill 2 features six endings; Konami has kept their canonicity ambiguous. In "Leave", James has one last meeting with Mary, reads her letter, and leaves the town with Laura. "In Water" sees James commit suicide by driving his car off a cliff.] The "Maria" ending sees Mary as the woman on the rooftop, who has not forgiven James for killing her; after her defeat, James dismisses her as a hallucination and then leaves the town with an alive Maria, who briefly coughs, suggesting she will become sick just as Mary did, and the cycle will repeat. The other three endings are only available in replay games, including "Rebirth", in which James plans to resurrect Mary using arcane objects collected throughout the game, and two joke endings: "Dog", where James discovers that a dog has been controlling all the events of the game, and "UFO", where James is abducted by extraterrestrials with the help of the first game's protagonist, Harry Mason.
Born from a Wish Edit
Born from a Wish is a side-story scenario in the special editions and re-releases of the game in which the player takes control of Maria shortly before she and James meet at Silent Hill. After waking up in the town with a gun and contemplating suicide, she resolves to find someone. She eventually encounters a local mansion, where she hears the voice of its owner, Ernest Baldwin. Ernest refuses to let Maria into the room he is in and will only talk to her through its closed door. After Maria completes tasks for him, Ernest warns her about James, whom he describes as a "bad man". After Maria opens the door to Ernest's room and finds it empty, she leaves the mansion. At the conclusion of the scenario, Maria contemplates suicide once more, but ultimately resolves to find James.