The review title may be a little bit much, as this game isn't perfect, and I'll address its flaws first: as it seems is par for the course in the Silent Hill series, the controls, particularly for fighting, are a mess. They're not the worst I've ever utilized, but they are extremely awkward. However, this actually works to the game's advantage, as it causes the player to develop an unreasonable fear of the actually not incredibly threatening enemies. The other flaw is the voice acting of the cast, with an exception for the actress who plays Angela, who I thought played her part very well.
Now, where this game truly shines is in atmosphere and mood. The atmosphere in this game is truly amazing, and extremely engrossing, even to the point that after several playthroughs, the game remains scary, and the plot remains just as depressing.
Some of the horror also is there in the symbolism of the game, and there is a lot of it there. One of the most unsettling instances of symbolism is the infamous "descent" into the depths of the Silent Hill historical society, which simply should not work
. I won't spoil the plot too much, but there are a lot of instances such as these that really reveal that James is not the most reliable source of information
. There's also a quite disturbing little area where James walks through a graveyard in the bottom of a prison, only to find headstones with his, Angela's and Eddie's names on them
. There are lots of little things like this, and they are all quite unsettling.
The game doesn't have as much of the abject horror of the third game, but where it really shines, as mentioned, is the atmosphere, especially in the hotel stage.
The plot itself is very well done, both James' story, as well as the stories of both Angela and Eddie, and each character will garner a different amount of player sympathy. Also, surprisingly for a game so well known for horror, the plot has some very
depressing moments. Of particular note is Angela, whose story is one of the saddest in any video game.
Overall, a great, immersive, story that is just as likely to make you cry as it is to scream.