READ FIRST: The comparison chart below notes differences in how Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition (PC modded) and the PCSX2 (PS2 emulated) version of Silent Hill 2 perform certain tasks that may impact gameplay and immersion. Several of the comparison tables below take into account playing in a standard widescreen aspect ratio (16:9), as this is a primary motivator and attractive feature for why users would play the game on either of these platforms using modern displays/hardware.
Every version of Silent Hill 2 has limitations and bugs, and each version will have some degree of variation due to different hardware/software running the game. With that in mind, it is important to note that many of the limitations on PCSX2 are due to the actual PlayStation 2 game itself and not the emulator. Regardless of whether a limitation is due to the game or software, the people who work on PCSX2 are an extraordinarily talented and passionate group of programmers who deserve nothing but our respect and admiration. Please do not mistake noted issues/limitations for either platform as malicious intent towards any persons or projects.
Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition can display the game at a theoretical limitless amount of resolutions/aspect ratios, so long as the display can support the desired resolution. Additionally, modified .cam (camera) files adjust the camera in certain areas to prevent it from clipping into walls when using a 16:9 aspect ratio. Note that Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition is best experienced in a 16:9 aspect ratio.
The PCSX2 version can display the game at many resolutions and offers both a 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratio, but "chunks" of the environment geometry will dynamically disappear when near the edge of a camera projection while using a widescreen aspect ratio. Additionally, the camera will clip into certain walls when using a widescreen aspect ratio.
The fog in Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition resembles the same thickness/amount and has the same general speed/movement as the PlayStation 2 version.
The fog in the PlayStation 2 version is very visually pleasing, through the amount of fog on-screen at any given time and its overall speed/movement.
Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition uses per-pixel lighting for the flashlight to achieve perfectly curved and smoothed lighting effects.
The PlayStation 2 version uses per-vertex lighting for the flashlight, which creates blocky, unevenly lit lighting effects.
Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition has soft shadows, and maintains softer shadows at higher rendering resolutions.
The PlayStation 2 version has soft shadows. However, depending on which video renderer (GDsx) you use in PCSX2, soft shadows may be affected. Direct3D 9 (software), Direct3D 11 (software), and OpenGL (software) mode have console-accurate soft shadows but the game will only render at a 480 resolution. OpenGL (hardware) and Direct3D 11 (hardware) mode render soft shadows, but the shadows will become sharper the higher the rendering resolution you use. Direct3D 9 (hardware) mode renders no shadows at all.
Dynamic (movable) objects such as enemies, NPCs, and items receive shadows upon themselves in Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition.
Dynamic (movable) objects such as enemies, NPCs, and items receive shadows upon themselves in the PlayStation 2 version.
Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition renders specularity for objects that should shine. Examples include character eyeballs, Pyramid Head's helmet, Maria's skirt, etc. Specular behavior is also present, with shiny things becoming shinier whenever the flashlight is on or whenever within a special light zone.
The PlayStation 2 version renders specularity for objects that should shine. Examples include character eyeballs, Pyramid Head's helmet, Maria's skirt, etc. Specular behavior is also present, with shiny things becoming shinier whenever the flashlight is on or whenever within a special light zone. An incorrect vertex shader within the PlayStation 2 version of the game makes James' eyes abnormally bright.
Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition provides high quality versions of the full motion videos (FMVs). Using the PlayStation 2 FMVs as a base, the videos are then deinterlaced, de-haloed, noise reduced, and anti-aliased before being passed through an AI upscaler to a higher resolution of 1920×1230. For 16:9 usage, the videos can be played in their full presentation (with pillarboxes) or scaled/cropped to remove pillarboxing without stretching/distorting the videos. Video files are 29.97p (progressive) and played back at 29.97 full frames per second.
The PCSX2 version can scale/crop the FMVs to fill a 16:9 presentation without stretching/distorting. Certain FMVs may completely freeze for several seconds before playback begins, depending on your speedhacks configuration for PCSX2. FMVs may appear pixelated due to their native 512×384 size and "jittery" due to the videos being interlaced, or depending on which type of deinterlacer you use for PCSX2. Video files are 29.97i (interlaced) and played back at 59.94 half frames per second. PCSX2's "blend" deinterlacing method produces the most desirable results for deinterlacing the videos, and is achieved by combining (or "blending") the half frames of the videos into full frames, which outputs the videos at 29.97 full frames per second.
Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition scales in-game cutscenes to hide visual elements you were never meant to see, up to a 16:9 aspect ratio. This will hide visual anomolies such as characters who would otherwise appear "frozen in place" before they are supposed to step into the scene. This is achieved by automatically zooming in during cutscenes to make their horizontal zoom match the original 4:3 aspect ratio versions.
The PCSX2 version does not automatically scale in-game cutscenes when played in a widescreen aspect ratio, which means you will see visual elements that were never intended to be seen while the cutscenes play. PCSX2 has the ability to manually zoom game visuals in and out, but you would be required to adjust this zoom setting before and after every cutscene while you play.
Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition preserves the original aspect ratios of full screen, 2D images (such as the main menu, inventory screen, riddle images, and subtitles), when played in a widescreen aspect ratio. The letterboxing is also removed for these images when played in a 16:9 aspect ratio. Additionally, the full screen images have been AI upscaled, remastered, or recreated by hand, making them the highest quality versions to date.
With the PCSX2 version, full screen, 2D images will be stretched/distorted when using a widescreen aspect ratio. Letterboxing on the images will still be present even when the images are stretched.
Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition renders post-processing effects, such as the depth-of-field blur, motion blur, and bloom effects.
The PCSX2 version renders post-processing effects, such as the depth-of-field blur, motion blur, and bloom effects.
Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition uses extracted, lossless arrangements of the PlayStation 2 audio files (with reverb intact) for optimal clarity and presentation. All audio is saved as pre-recorded files. Dialogue and background music are saved as stereo. Sound effects are saved as mono. DSOAL enables HRTF (binaural audio) for the game, which renders 3D positional audio for all sounds in the game for a more immersive experience.
The PlayStation 2 version has the best quality audio files. The PlayStation 2 version plays all sounds as stereo. With the exception of dialogue, sound files are not pre-recorded, but instead are samples that are arranged and pitch-shifted in real-time; a feature exclusive for this game on the PlayStation 2. S-FORCE technology simulates surround sound via binaural audio, but is only utilized for a small amount of sound effect files. When playing the game through PCSX2, there are a few spots where the emulator may incorrectly start or stop background music.
Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition can load new areas instantly or near-instantly, along with faster screen transition times (quicker fade times between navigating menus or going to new areas).
Since PCSX2 emulates original PlayStation 2 hardware, this version loads new areas as fast as the original PlayStation 2 version, which is slow. Screen transition times are also slower in the PlayStation 2 version.
With Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition, you can save your game nearly anywhere and at any time within 100 save slots. The save files are made in-game and used within the game's own ecosystem.
With the PlayStation 2 version, you can only save in-game via designated spots found throughout the game. Using a standard PlayStation 2 memory card (8 MB), you can save your game approximately 83 times within the game's own ecosystem. Playing on PCSX2, you can use save states to save anywhere and at any time. PCSX2 offers 10 quick save state slots per game along with the ability to create and load additional, external save states for a theoretical limitless amount of save states.
Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition supports keyboard and XInput/DirectInput controllers. Vibration/rumble with controllers and the use of the D-pad as an additional movement pad are also supported. Character movement is bound to the left joystick and D-pad, and search camera movement is bound to the right joystick. The PC version does not support pressure sensitive buttons, but instead uses quick-tap and long-hold button presses to initiate heavy or light melee attacks.
The PCSX2 version supports keyboard and XInput/DirectInput controllers. Vibration/rumble with controllers and the use of the D-pad as an additional movement pad are also supported. Character movement is bound to the left joystick and D-pad, and search camera movement is bound to the right joystick. PCSX2 supports pressure sensitive buttons, but PC-compatible gamepads that use pressure sensitive buttons are highly limited. To get around this, you can assign different button pressure presses to their own inputs within PCSX2 (in other words, use two different inputs to perform either of the two melee attack strengths). This may not be feasible though, depending on how many inputs your gamepad offers and what other actions you want to assign to all of the inputs. Otherwise, if using a gamepad without pressure sensitive buttons, Silent Hill 2 on PCSX2 cannot differentiate between light or heavy melee attacks and will only perform heavy melee attacks.
Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition allows you to remap inputs for almost all game functions, on a per-function basis. This includes setting inputs for advanced actions that you would be unable to assign on console versions, such as being able to instantly change between weapons, reloading, quick saving, and quick loading. These advanced actions can also be mapped to a controller.
The PlayStation 2 version allows input remapping of basic functions, through predefined selections only. You cannot assign input mappings for advanced actions, such as weapon swapping or reloading.
Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition is continually fixing issues—both those inherent to the PC version and issues that are found within all versions of the game—with each update release. Additionally, features are continually be introduced to restore/match visual elements to that of the PlayStation 2 version, and beyond.
PCSX2 is continually being developed and improved upon, but game-specific issues within the PlayStation 2 version of Silent Hill 2 may or may not be addressed. The PlayStation 2 version experiences issues such as the rowboat animation glitch sometimes happening; Pyramid Head's stabbing animation always being out of sync at the end of the Hospital elevator chase; incorrect environment visuals sometimes happening during the first part of the "Maria" ending; etc.