(Warning: This post contains spoilers about SILENT HILL 2. If you haven't played this game, you are dumb)
What is one sign of a great game?
One of the signs I realized recently is when a game continues to stun and surprise you years and years after you've played and beaten it. As a major Silent Hill fan, I recently was reminded of Silent Hill 2 and even though see it as one of my favorite Silent Hill games, there are still things I'm learning about it that are neat little additions that add to the atmosphere (atmosphere also makes a great game!).
For instance, when you start the game you are given a letter by your wife who has been deceased for years and years. You are directed to Silent Hill and start treking through hell all by your lonesome (with the exception of a few psychos). As you continue through the game, pieces of the letter begin to fade and disappear until eventually it is completely non-existent, thus implying the letter was never real and the letter was a delusion you created.
Another example is the game's use of imagery the player knows about but might not notice at first. For me, the most apparent of these was the dress you find near the start when you find the flashlight, which is the same dress you see Mary (your wife) wearing in the flashback sequences. However, one thing I didn't know was that several deceased bodies you encounter laying around Silent Hill are actually the body of the main character (James) which invokes an idea you've seen that body before but can't pinpoint where...
It's amazing to see a game go to such unique lengths to provide a psychological horror game. Sure, all the dead bodies could be randomly modelled and the dress could be any ol' dress, but just the idea of your brain knowing something deep down but you can't pinpoint it is a really unique idea. In my opinion, it ties less into subconscious and more into natural tendencies, it taps into the fear hidden inside us all.