Before I begin with the article, please be warned that this will contain spoilers for the game. I'll try to limit them to minor ones, but if you haven't played the game I'd recommend you do that first. Silent Hill 2 is a game that you should play with as little prior knowlege of the game as possible. So with that, lets begin.

With the latest Xbox 360 backwards compatibility update, Microsoft has added support for Silent Hill 2. The game, which is hailed by many fans, as the best of the series. I never had the opportunity to play through Silent Hill 2, and seeing as how the Xbox 1 version was, at least on paper, the definitive version, I decided to take a look at just how good the emulation is for the game. As you'll see below, I couldn't possibly have made a worse descision. Read on if you wish to find out how to combat a serious bug which causes the game to cease loading until you delete all your save games.

James begins his journey

When you first start the game, things will seem relatively normal for a while, despite the appearance of the game being "washed out". I can only assume this is a side effect of the upscaling the 360 is applying. One of the first issues I noticed, while running down the pathway to the cemetary, was a nagging tendancy for the game to start tearing the screen at the top. As long as their is motion (even in the map menu) the top portion of the screen will have tearing.

Screen tearing at the top

When I made it to the cemetary and activated the in-game cutscene, the character animations were jerky and forced. Its an odd issue, and makes it appear as if the animations are skipping frames, despite the game keeping its framerate. The effect is quite odd but somewhat minor. After the cutscene ended, I noticed another problem. The game cuts too fast from cutscenes at times and some of the environmental effects, such as fog, aren't rendered until the next frame. Its a minor issue, though. While loading cutscenes, the 360 pauses for a bit, freezing the game until its loaded.

Frame 1
Frame 2

After making it into town, I began to notice that the music was somewhat muted sounding. When I brought this up to other players, they too expressed the same feeling, though they insist its a problem with the Xbox version, even when played on the Xbox 1 hardware. I continued on and explored the entire area. While everything appeared to be normal for the most part, I did come across some minor texture errors on one of the streets. Upon entering the Apartment Complex, they reared their head again, in the main foyer. This issue would go on to nearly ruin the game in later areas.

Texture Errors - The Beginning
Texture Errors - Part Deux

Shrugging those off as minor things, I continued into the Apartment Complex, investigating the rooms. Its in a few of them that I noticed the next issue, My flashlight was casting its light both in front of me, and in the back of me, completely through James' body, giving me an unfair advantage in the game compared to normal players, and looking very out of place.

Flashlight, shining through James' body

Its also in the Complex, that I noticed I could see the seams of map geometry if the lighting conditions were right. In motion, its very distracting as the pixels tend to "crawl" as you move. This was also a constant problem throughout my playthrough.

Map seams, showing throught the tiles on
the floor
Note the blue floor, showing the
segmented seams

When I attempted to do the clock puzzle in the game, where players are supposed to align the clock to the proper time, I noticed a very severe error with the way the 360 handles the games 2D layering system. Upon examining the scrawled writing and then checking the clock, it overlays the previous background you viewed (the scrawled writing in my case) behind the clock hands. This makes solving puzzles like this impossible, and it seems the only way to counter-act this is to re-load the game from your save if it happens. This too would become a major point of frustration with the game in later areas.

The scrawled writing in the background,
note the clock hands

Later in the game, I noticed that whenever I paused, went to the sub screen, went in another door, or otherwise did something to cause the game to load, Anti Aliasing was turned off. This was a minor, but noticable issue.

Before entering the menu
Entering the menu

One of the final visual problems I noticed, was that when the game applies a "blur" filter to the camera, the black bars it creates at the top and bottom of the screen for cutscenes are also subject to this blur. This causes the game to be visible somewhat through them.

Maria, inprisoned, Note the top of the screen
bleeding through

Much further into the game (at the Lakeview Hotel to be prescise), I encountered a massive error which stops the game from even running past the Xbox 1 logo. This is a game ending bug, and its beyond my comprehension how this title got approved for being backwards compatible. As near as I can tell, after saving in 15 slots, only a black screen will be displayed when you boot the game. You can fix this if you have an XSATA device, and delete all but one save on both "folders". Silent Hill 2 uses two folders for save locations once you pass a certain limit (15 for SH2). I believe once you pass this and it makes the second folder the game will no longer load. Try to stick to as few saves as possible (3 max would be recommended). Don't take this as the gospel though, as I've heard reports from various forums that people have had their game do this unless they only used 1 slot.

I have one more bug to note before I give a detailed list of all the texture errors, complete with screenshots. When you get to the Lakeview Hotel, the games audio stops playing nearly every sound. James' footsteps, weapons, nearly everything. Its also here, where the texture errors take on a whole new form, with the entire hotel becoming a giant mess, as you'll see on the pictures below. I also have a video available, showcasing some of the bugs, such as the animation glitches, the texture errors, and the "muted" music. Be warned though, the video is taken after a huge turning point in the game, and if you haven't played it yet, you definitely shouldn't watch this.

Silent Hill 2 - 360 Emulation Problems
A cutscene from Silent Hill 2 showcasing
some emulation problems on the 360.
Filesize: 33.9 MB
Length: 03:43
Resolution: 640x480
Times Downloaded:

Finally, Here is a list of I've compiled of area's which have texture problems like you seen above. below this list are screenshots of these area's which shows how extensive this problem is in the game.

Neely Street, on Neely's Bar block
Inside the main foyer of the Blue Creek Apartment Buildings
Outside of the Blue Creek Apartment's rear exit in alleyway (after Pyramid Head encounter)
Rosewater Park (Multiple errors, most are completely wrong textures along with white ones)
Certain barriers around Silent Hill (the chain link fence with cloth applied over them)
Brookhaven Hospital, 3rd Floor, after getting the elevator audio (inside "other world")
Brookhaven Hospital, Emergency stairs next to elevator, all floors (inside "other world")
Brookhaven Hospital, during Pyramid Head chase sequence (inside "other world")
Brookhaven Hospital, first floor after Pyramid Head chase sequence (inside "other world")
Prison, East Side Block
Prison, South Cell Passageway
Prison, Gallows Room
Prison, West Side Block (After certain conditions are met)
Prison, Falling down holes
Prison, Elevator to the Labyrynth
Labyrynth, All Corridors
Labyrynth, Fence Surrounding Head Puzzle
Labyrynth, Circular Coridoor leading to Pyramid Heads Knife
Labyrynth, Stairs leading to Maria
Lakeview Hotel, Pantry Room
Lakeview Hotel, Employee Stairs
Lakeview Hotel, Office
Lakeview Hotel, Employee Side Basement (all rooms)
Lakeview Hotel, All rooms on all floors after returning from the Employee Basement (this remains until you leave the hotel)
The entire game after the Lakeview Hotel is over is affected as well


On the date this report was published, an email was sent to Microsoft which detailed these errors. If any response is given, it will be posted here.
I'd like to thank Umon Daisuke for his help in identifying the "muted" sound issue.

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