Konami and Bloober Team’s recent Silent Hill 2 remake trailer suggests they don’t fully understand Silent Hill. Silent Hill 2 is already one of the most misunderstood horror games of all time, having garnered insane fan theories and spawned countless rip-offs and imitations. It’s been over a decade since the last entry and the stewards of the series still seem to struggle to grasp Silent Hill‘s true essence.
In my review of the real Silent Hill 2, I lamented that the remake would inevitably polish off all the qualities that made Silent Hill 2 so iconic. The fact that Konami and Bloober Team saw fit to edit a “Combat Trailer” should raise a lot of red flags to anyone who loves the original Team Silent games.
Silent Hill is the kind of game that should never, ever feature a big button-mash quick-time event with a huge prompt on the screen. Not only is this dated and extremely played out, but it utterly clashes with the tone and ambiance of the story and themes of the game. This is the kind of visual you’d see in something like God Hand, not a slow-burn story-driven survival-horror puzzle game.
The combat in Silent Hill 2 was a deliberate choice, serving as a means to an end. A product of its time, it reflected the prevailing design philosophy of tense and punishing combat. Players were primarily expected to navigate threats through evasion, with combat serving as a last resort. Using ammo was spending precious allowance to clear an area of threats and melee was a risk.
Team Silent understood that transforming James into a Dante from Devil May Cry would be detrimental. They recognized that introducing depth and complexity to the combat system would inevitably shift the focus away from the core horror experience. The next thing you’d know, players would be craving to get into scraps, actively looking for a fight, making the experience into a half-assed beat’em-up or shooter.
In the Silent Hill 2 remake combat trailer, James is shown walloping lying figures and mannequins like he’s in Dead Rising and blasting nurses like Leon S. Kennedy. Bloober Team has taken all the wrong lessons from what people loved about Silent Hill 2 and is making it into something it never was.
Nurses can vault over ledges like pros, which looks absurd since they could barely walk straight due to their spastic gait. If they had to climb over waist-high abutments, they should be failing over it and flailing. They aren’t supposed to be ninjas, they’re sickly monsters born from guilt.
The over-the-shoulder perspective threatens to strip the game of its iconic, picturesque imagery and masterful camerawork. The original Silent Hill 2 achieved remarkable cinematic effects with its directed pre-programmed/fixed angles. In contrast, the remake’s fixed third-person camera following James feels bland and visually unremarkable compared to the dynamic artistry of the original.
The huge focus on combat in the latest trailer for Silent Hill 2‘s remake is a cause for concern, but even more worrying is the laughable, on-the-nose imagery. The original game was dense with evocative symbolism, some of it was so subtle you would never have noticed. This new trailer emphasizes some eye-rollingly obvious writing that James encounters, clumsily sprawled on the wall.
In the real Silent Hill 2, graffiti could be found but it was very vague and could be interpreted as a coincidence, or in other cases, it had nothing to do with James at all. The “there was a hole here” message is a perfect example of vague and mysterious graffiti that could be anything. The remake’s trailer suggests it has no restraint and will clobber the players with embarrassing moralizing.
Silent Hill 2‘s combat trailer shows that the people behind the project don’t understand Silent Hill at all and have failed to prioritize what matters most. Maybe this trailer was edited by a marketing team that is only trying to get chest-thumping, meat-headed Resident Evil and Dead Space fanboys interested, or maybe the remake is going to end up as another skin-crawlingly shameful entry in the post-Team Silent, Silent Hill franchise.
The Silent Hill 2 remake is in development for Windows PC (via Steam) and PlayStation 5 – a release date hasn’t been announced.