WARNING: SPOILERS! Seriously, you should check the game out first if you haven't already. It's not an experience you should miss.
Silent Hill 2 is undoubtedly my favorite horror game. The psychological story of a man being tortured into honest realization is really something. It's pretty unforgettable.
I've always been fond of the protagonists in these games, but James Sunderland is definitely my most favored among them. He's certainly a complex fellow, and not exactly a moral angel either. Much like any of the other characters in this story, he's hardly one-dimensional.
Throughout the game, you're led to believe certain things, though much of what you're told is still vague or even confusing. This fits of course, given that James is just as lost as you are. Initially, he seems to just be a good looking, good-hearted man, trying to find his wife in a twisted place.
Eventually both we the players and he, the character, realize the truth. Having murdered his wife as something of a mercy killing due to her sickness, but also as a means of admittedly easing himself of her burden too, he is called by Silent Hill, and essentially punished by the town for his sins until he eventually has to face the truth and make his choice at the end. At least, this is one interpretation.
What he ultimately decides to do depends on how you play the game, though I'm partial to the ending where he leaves with Laura in tow (it's happy, okay?). People also seem to be fond of the 'In Water' ending where he drives his car into the lake. That too seems to be a way for him to find peace.
Much of the game's poignancy comes from his connection to Mary. He admits to her that he was not being entirely selfless. Part of him wanted her to die because he felt like he couldn't move on with his own life. His version of Silent Hill is riddled with monsters that represent his needs and desires, his worries, resulting from that (for example, the busty nurses you fight in the hospital are definitely sexualized for a reason).
He's decidedly human. He faces his guilt, accepts it, and does what he can to set things right, even if it's almost too late. Mary's forgiveness is his reward.
Personally, I love James Sunderland. For all his flaws, he faces them.
He's one of the most compelling characters I've ever seen in fiction.
Truly best boy.