How to Play Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition on Steam Deck

As you may or may not know, Konami lost the source code to Silent Hill 2. That meant for the Silent Hill HD Collection, the development team Hijinx Studios had to work with unfinished code to even get the games into a playable state.

The knock-on effect of all this is that the HD Collection isn’t really the best way to play Silent Hill 2 – and by some accounts is worse than the original PS2 version. Yikes.

Thankfully, if you’re looking to play Silent Hill 2 on modern hardware, complete with overhauled visuals, the answer can be found in the Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition mod pack. And best of all, we’ve now tested it out and can confirm it works brilliantly on the Steam Deck.

Difficulty: 2/5 | Time to Install: 20 Minutes

Step 1: Install Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams on PC

Image of Silent Hill 2 captured on the Steam Deck

Here’s where you’re going to have to go off and grab Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams for PC. If you’re wondering what the difference is between the PlayStation 2 (PS2) version of Silent Hill 2 and the PC version, Restless Dreams is the Director’s Cut, so it’ll have more in-game content.

Now, we can’t advise where to buy this version of the game because it’s not for sale anymore. Some have labeled the game “Abandonware” due to Konami no longer having the development code for the game, but it’s worth remembering Abandonware isn’t a thing. It’s something someone made up and it could get you in trouble if you’re caught downloading it. We’re not your dad, though, so we’ll leave it at that.

Once you’ve got a copy of Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams, install it on PC then copy the entire Silent Hill 2 folder contents and transfer it over to Steam Deck. We use Warpinator to transfer our files, though there are a few other options out there, and yes, that also includes installing Windows on a Steam Deck if you’re sick of dealing with Linux.

Of course, if you somehow found a storefront selling it, chances are you’ll already have downloaded the game directly on the Steam Deck. If that’s the case, simply move the Silent Hill 2 folder to somewhere easy to remember. We store PC games on our SD card, so move the folder there if that’s how you roll, too.

With that all completed, we can now move on to the fun stuff.

Step 2: Enter Desktop Mode

Image showing the location of "desktop mode" on the Steam Deck.

If you’ve ever followed our guides to playing Xbox 360 or 3DS games on the Steam Deck, chances are you’ll be a pro at entering Desktop Mode by now.

If not, it’s super simple. Hold down the power button on the top of the console until a menu pops up. Select “Switch to Desktop” and the Steam Deck will close SteamOS and boot up the Linux desktop. Easy peasy.

Step 3: Download the Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition Installer

Image showing where to click to download Silent Hill 2 Enhanced Edition with a yellow arrow

Head over to the Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition website and scroll down to the “After Installing Silent Hill 2 on PC” header. Directly underneath is a link to download the file we need that reads “Download the Setup Tool.” Click on that link and a file named “SH2EEsetup.exe” will be downloaded.

Open up the Dolphin File Explorer app (the folder icon at the bottom-left of the screen) and head into your “Downloads” folder. Locate the file we just download and left-click it and select “Cut”. Next, open up your Silent Hill 2 folder and left-click anywhere and select “Paste” from the menu.

This will transfer the SH2EEsetup.exe file from the downloads folder over to our version of Silent Hill 2 we just moved to somewhere easy to remember in step one. It’ll all make sense in a moment, just trust us for now.

Step 4: How to Add the Installer to the Steam Deck

Image showing where to place, then add, the installed on Steam Deck

While we’re still in the Silent Hill 2 folder, left-click on the SH2EE.exe file to bring up the sub-menu (the same one we selected cut and paste from earlier). This time, hit “Add to Steam.”

That’s it. A small Steam icon should appear and then vanish after a few seconds. When it’s gone, open up the main Steam app either from a desktop shortcut or through the start menu (the blue and white circle icon in the bottom-left corner of the screen).

Step 5: Run the Enhanced Edition Installer on Steam Deck

Where to click to change the properties

Okay. These next few steps are the most complex. Don’t worry, though, it’s all fairly painless and this knowledge will help you later on when you want to install other PC games on the Steam Deck.

With Steam open, hit “Library” then in the search box on the left, type “SH2EEsetup.” As you’re typing this, the file should appear below. Click on it once – not to open it – so that the right side of the screen shows the file (as seen in the screenshot above).

Where to change the path to let Silent Hill 2 Enhanced Edition work on Steam Deck

Next up, we’re going to want to edit two areas.

Left-click on the file name on the left, and after a menu pops up hit “Properties.” This will bring up a new window with two options: Shortcut and Compatibility.

In the shortcut section, underneath both “Target” and “Start in,” hit “Browse” and in the new window that pops up, navigate through your folders until you reach the main Silent Hill 2 folder. See the SH2EE.exe file? Click on that twice.

Technically, you shouldn’t need to do this, but through our testing over several different guides, we found this solves around 80 percent of our issues. It’s the equivalent of turning something on and off again to fix it and it really does work.

Yellow arrow pointing to where to click to change the Proton Version

After that’s all set up, you don’t need to do anything to save it. It’s all manual. While you’re here, though, click on “Compatibility” then select “Force the use of a specific Steam Play compatibility tool.”

This will bring up a new drop-down menu below it. Click on the new menu, and select “Proton 7.0-4.”

Doing this will tell our version of Silent Hill 2 to use a specific version of Proton so, even though it’s a Windows app, it’ll work on Steam Deck. Pretty neat, right?

Step 6: Install Enahnced Editon

Silent Hill 2 Enhanced Edition installing in desktop mode on Steam Deck

This next part is nice and easy. Press the “X” in the top corner of the properties window (the window with shortcut and compatibility in) to close that window. See that big green button marked “Play”? Press that.

If you’ve done everything correctly the Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition installer should appear from out of nowhere. Follow the on-screen instructions and install it like you would a normal app.

Also, because we moved the SH2EE.exe file into the main Silent Hill 2 folder, when it asks where to install the files to, you shouldn’t need to change the path (which can be a pain in desktop mode).

When it asks if you want to launch Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition, feel free to say yes to test it out, but keep in mind this isn’t how we’ll be launching the game in the future. That part comes next.

Step 7: Reconfiguring the Launcher

Yellow arrow point to where on the Steam Deck to change the path to a new file

Back in the Steam app, left-click the “SH2EEsetup” name to bring up the properties option as we did earlier.

At this point, where it says “SH2EEsetup.exe” near the top, feel free to change the title to something more sense-making like “Silent Hill 2.” Next, remember when we changed the path? We need to do that again, only this time with a tweak.

Click on “Browse” as we did before, only this time navigate through to the main Silent Hill 2 folder and find the file named “sh2pc.exe.” Click on this twice to open the file and link the launcher up to it.

Now instead of opening the installer, this shortcut will open the actual Silent Hill 2 game.

Close the properties window and hit “Play.” After a few seconds Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition should load on your Steam Deck. At this point, you’re good to go off and play. If, however, you want to change up the shortcut’s visuals to something less hideous, read on.

Step 8: Editing the Launcher to Look Nicer (Optional)

Image showing an array of different Silent Hill 2 grid images for use on Steam games

If there’s one piece of advice we have for all Steam Deck users, it’s to bookmark SteamGridDB. This site offers thousands of pre-made graphics for making shortcuts in gaming mode look much nicer.

Let’s face it, no one wants a big blank box as a logo for a game. It’s ugly. So let’s fix that.

Pop on over to SteamGridDB and download a vertical and horizontal image. Next, head back into the Steam app (we’re still in Desktop Mode) and head into your library then “Recently Played.” Find your Silent Hill 2 game and left-click it. Hit manage, then apply art. If Silent Hill 2 is first in the recently played, select the horizontal image from your downloads folder.

To set the vertical image, load up any other game and instantly close it. This should move Silent Hill 2 one tile to the right and show a blank vertical box. Do the same again – left-click, manage, apply art – and select the vertical image.

You’re now free to go back into Gaming Mode. When the Deck loads back up, all your nice Silent Hill 2 art should be applied to what would have been a big boring box.

How Is Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition Performance on Steam Deck?

Image showing Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition running on our Steam Deck

Well, Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams is a PC game from 2001, so as you could probably guess, it runs near perfectly on the Steam Deck. Just look at that fog in the screenshot above! Silent Hill 2 is back to being creepy.

Elsewhere, everything loads super fast even on 8-watts in the power settings, and we’ve not spotted any missing textures or similar problems. Even the text is legible. What’s not to love?

What’s the Difference Between Silent Hill 2 and the Enhanced Edition?

Image showing the covers for Silent Hill 2 and Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition

Silent Hill 2: Restless Dreams is the Director’s Cut originally released for PC. Conversely, Silent Hill 2: Enhanced Edition is a mod for the original Restless Dreams version that aims to fix some of the game’s shortcomings.

The Enhanced Edition mod brings with improved shadows, cleaner textures, widescreen, high-definition visuals, post-processing effects, much better controller support, and much more.

It also, and this is pure magic, brought over the fog from the PS2 version. That’s why it looks so eerie and like someone’s just finished vaping.

Wesley Copeland
Wesley Copeland

Wesley Copeland is a gaming, tech, and toys journalist with over 10 years of experience writing online. Originally starting in video games before specializing in tech and toys, you can find his bylines at IGN, VG24/7, Kotaku, Tech Radar, Games Radar, PC Gamer, Heavy, and many more. He's also highly passionate about how tech can be used to better our day-to-day lives.