Exploring the cramped, beautiful cinematography of survival horror

KSD: Silent Hill 2 is a game that tells a straightforward story about repressed guilt. Protagonist James Sunderland comes to the titular town after receiving a letter from his dead wife Mary, and he meets a woman named Maria … who looks a lot like Mary. The direction the story takes is unsurprising in its broad strokes: James may have had something to do with his wife’s death, and maybe something’s not right with Silent Hill!

What’s unique about the game is the way it invisibly blends a hard-and-fast narrative with input from the player. Rather than obvious points of narrative divergence where the player picks an option or takes action when prompted, the game collates a long list of things you’ve done while playing to come up with one of six possible endings: all without ever cluing the player in on this process.

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