Silent Hill 2 was released in 2001 for the Sony PlayStation 2. It was the anticipated follow up to the critically lauded Silent Hill released two years prior in 1999. Expectations were high as Silent Hill was one of the most genre defining titles of the 5th generation in gaming. While Resident Evil, released in 1996 would laydown the framework of what survival horror is, with the fixed camera angles, tank controls, item management, limited recourses as well as many other aspects that would come to define the genre and make it is what is is. Silent Hill took all these aspects and ran with them. Resident Evil was much more grounded in reality, with the premise revolving around a virus that turns people into monster/zombie creatures. Silent Hill on the other hand revolves around the psychological torment people within a small town go through.
The fictional town of Silent Hill is set in Maine although the pacific northwest serves as a huge inspiration for the creators of the town. With the pine trees, fog, oceanic vista and rolling hills and mountains. The game was developed in Japan, so this is a Japanese take on a archetypical American town. one of the main aspects of the game is exploring the town, as on the first playthrough, the player will have no idea what to do or where to go so it's up to the player to explore the town and figure out where to go. The "people" that inhabit this town are truly what make this game special. There's only 6 people in the game counting the protagonist, James, Angela, Eddie, Laura, Mary and Maria. All of these characters
Survival horror, especially of this era has a reputation for having rough combat. This turns some people away although this isn't a technical issue as much a it is stylistic choice. The goal is to make a horror game, not an action game. If the developers were to make the game in a way that made the combat feel like Grand Theft Auto, the game would be ruined. With each enemy encounter, no matter how much ammo or health you have is tense. Sometimes the camera will be in a position where you can't see the enemy approaching you. Silent Hill 2 makes its combat smooth enough that the game doesn't make you feel completely defenseless, but its also rough enough o make those enemy encounters scary and intense. One of the main aspects of the game is the puzzle solving. There is quite a bit of obtuse puzzles that will have new players looking up a guide. Basically all the puzzles consist of getting an item(s) to unlock a contraption or solving a riddle. The item inside the locked contraption will allow to progress to the next part of the game. While a good majority of these puzzles can be solved with logic, reasoning and paying attention to the game, some puzzles will test you. Especially if the puzzle difficulty is set to hard.
The music in the game is composed by Akira Yamaoka. He composed the first four games, as well as three spin-off games. Akira Yamaoka is well known for incorporating all different types sounds into his music. Industrial, Noise, Ambient influences can be heard upon listening. Yamaoka himself cited Trent Renzo of Nine Inch Nails to be his main inspiration for musical style.