The best thing about the Silent Hill 2 PS5 trailer was the wallpaper

The Silent Hill 2 remake State of Play trailer for PS5 gave us a lot to look at — not least some lovely wallpaper — but can it match the charms of the original?

The best thing about the Silent Hill 2 PS5 trailer was the wallpaper
Miri Teixeira

Opinion by Miri Teixeira

Published

I'm just going to come out and say it: I didn't think the Silent Hill 2 remake State of Play trailer for PS5 looked any good. The original is one of the best horror games around, so it's a shame I feel this way. As the title might suggest, I did find something to love in it, but once you get past the excellent choice in wall decor, this game looks a little too well turned-out. I think we're all better off collecting Silent Hill 2 trophies, and here's why.

Remaking Silent Hill 2 could remove what I love most about it

I love me some Silent Hill. I even love the bad one. Yeah, that one, the one you hate. So this week should have been a time of celebration for me: a Silent Hill 2 remake? On PS5? You could have locked me in a dungeon filled with SAW traps and I'd still have found a way to watch the State of Play stream.

I was wide-eyed the whole time, I think I may have literally yelped when I saw some William Morris wallpaper in one of the stills — for context, my other love outside of gaming is that very specific period of art history. I'm pretty sure most normal people wouldn't have noticed or cared, but I'm a nerd for the ethos and aesthetics of the Arts and Crafts movement. Unfortunately, the more I thought about this small detail, the more I realized it encapsulates everything wrong with the remake.
A little art history now, if you'll excuse me, but the Arts and Crafts movement prompted the creation of many forms of furniture and home decor, with the ethos that lovely and sturdy things should be affordable and accessible to all.

I've thought about getting a tattoo of some of these wallpaper designs, such is my love for them, but realized that from a distance or with any sort of blur applied, they just look like an unpleasant rash. To appreciate them fully, you need to see them in full definition, you need crisp lines and clear colors, you need symmetry and precision. Everything that I don't want to see in a Silent Hill game.

Silent Hill 2 wallpaper is squeaky clean and beautifulSilent Hill 2 wallpaper is squeaky clean and beautiful

The Silent Hill 2 remake needs to lean into looking grim

A number of games have come out in recent years that embrace the inherent creepiness or uncanny feel of PS1/PS2 jankiness, but we so rarely see these games on the console series that inspired them.

Games like Paratopic which perfectly recreates the pointy-headed fever-dream graphics of the PS1, or the amazing Haunted PS1 anthology collection on itch.io, never actually made it to the latest PlayStation platform.

There may be many reasons for this, but I firmly believe one of them to be that PlayStation distances itself from (and is then less associated with) the sort of gritty griminess that we're talking about. Modern consoles are sleek, they're stark, minimalist and, for want of a better word, "gamerified".

They have bright blue or white lights, they come in very limited colorways, they scream at gamers: we're not trying to glorify retro unless it's been remastered or the pixel lines are crisp. Nothing wrong with this, but I think this is why games like Silent Hill 2 are best left alone.

Silent Hill 2 opinions are floating around!Silent Hill 2 opinions are floating around!

The sainted Silent Hill 2, alongside being one of the best video games of all time, was potentially one of the most grotesque and visually unappealing games I've ever seen. It was vile to look at. You'd walk into a room and see the walls peeling and covered with… something.

It felt like one of those pictures people show you to simulate what having a stroke feels like. Things didn't add up. Was that blood? Rust? Mold? Something worse? Did it just breathe? The atmosphere is oppressive and anxiety-inducing. And it rocks.

We've all heard about how Silent Hill became its iconic misty self at least partly through the "limitations" of the hardware it was built on. To me, this is like saying the reason the Mona Lisa has no eyebrows is because Leonardo Da Vinci didn't have access to Midjourney. Phrasing it with words like "limitations" and "outdated" removes any sense of positivity from this necessary process, which arguably made the game what it is today.

The fog, the unnerving facial features, the blurry lines, and the "what the hell is that thing" vibe of Silent Hill 2 can only be replicated if the developers are trying to lean into that aesthetic, not by leaning into the new generation and its shiny graphics.

Silent Hill 2Silent Hill 2: John Wick

Too much combat, and not enough creepiness?

All this is very aesthetics-focused, but I did literally title this article around wallpaper. That's not to say I don't have Big Views on the actual gameplay, which also looks pretty rubbish. Sure, Silent Hill 2 had some interesting approaches to combat that were borderline impossible to finesse, but this over-the-shoulder style doesn't really seem to fit the ominous nature of the game.

Centering the player in this way anchors them in combat and exploration, when what really made every moment an edge-of-your-seat experience was the shakily positioned camera, the fear that you might not be able to run the right way, or hit the right target. You felt like James, a man unequipped and afraid, as the confusing and disgusting series of events played out.

The focus on action we have seen so far — giving us a separate combat reveal trailer, for example – sends up a bit of a red flag for me. James is supposed to be a terrified spectator in a world he doesn't understand, not an action hero entering the scene with weapons and a dead-eye shot.
I'm not even going to touch on the fact that the nurses do parkour now, for some reason. All this just makes me nervous that Bloober Team hasn't understood the assignment. I'm sure it'll be a capable game, it'll have a cool soundtrack and some nostalgia value, it might even bring in some new players.

The combat will appeal to Resident Evil fans, perhaps, and there will still be the twisting Lynchian story to contend with. But combat and action were never the draws for fans of this franchise, and I hope to Heather that when we get the final game it still retains some of Silent Hill 2's janky charm.

Whatever happens, I'm still going to play it. I'm powerless to resist the charms of good wallpaper.

Keep an eye out for more details of upcoming Silent Hill games. What did you think of the State of Play trailer and reveal? Do you think you'll grab a copy of the remake or stick with the HD versions? Let us know in the comments below what your predictions are for this upcoming release.
Written by Miri Teixeira
Miri's hobbies outside of gaming inform everything about their on-screen preferences: Lots of reading, irritatingly tough puzzles, and anything vaguely historical. As such, they're always on the lookout for another Disco Elysium-type read-a-thon, a Myst-like island to get lost in, or an ancient time capsule like The Forgotten City. Other than that, if anything is being described as "weird and unsettling", it's either Miri, or their new favorite indie game.
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