In all the talk of graphical downgrades no one seems much preoccupied with 'why?'. Why build something and then proceed to tear it down, piece by piece, in the hope that ever more diminished expectations about the final product won't be severe enough to...
It's not as dark as the Bush administration's vision of America, but it comes pretty close. Originally, I had thought the whole Silent Hill series was a subtle Resident Evil rip-off (which itself was an obvious Return of the Living Dead rip-off, so Silent Hill was bound to get a little weird). But it didn't hit me how different Silent Hill was till I completed it for the first time (on easy difficulty - I like to move slow). But my moment of clarity was incomparable to my final thoughts about Silent Hill 2 which actually came months later.
I started thinking - could the whole thing be a metaphor for mankind's sadness ? I've craftily located a few locations to go with my theory: for one, the hospital - a place where the sick and really sick go, sometimes to get better, sometimes to die. No one likes being a patient in a hospital. Second, a prison - a place that holds countless representatives of the darker side of humanity. There's a few more places that usually get people down, but those two stood out as the longest and creepiest.
You go about a deserted town with only a handful of inhabitants who you share dialogue and events with, all who carry with them a feeling of a sad past and an even sadder future. It looks like there might have been life in the town recently, but everything has been abandoned, and yet most of it still appears to be looked after. To cult-movie-goers: I'd say the movie Eraserhead had something to do with Silent Hill's ideas, but Silent Hill has done it even better, because the ideas mostly make sense and don't attempt to confuse you as much. Silent Hill is a place you'd think you wouldn't want to live, but for some reason, I've never felt more like wanting to experience a nightmare.
The music deserves a lot of praise and is actually really good on its own. It's what good ambient music should sound like, and it adds a perfect atmosphere. A few tracks stand out more than others, but all make for a wonderfully dark experience and make me wish all game soundtracks were this good.
But, there are a few things I wish I hadn't experienced - the real problem with SH2 is slightly clumsy control when fighting/shooting at the odd enemies. Speaking of, the enemies are also another flaw - there's very few types of them (about 3 or 4), and they feel out of place.
I think it's really too bad, because SH2 had a GREAT chance to be a perfect game (at least for what it was going for, since I know it's not everyone's cup of tea). Other than those two annoyances, I really think Silent Hill 2 is a good alternative to the Bush administration.