Have you realized there’s no flashlight in Silent Hill: 4? Take a moment and think about that. 2 and 3 have dark areas and flash lights. But for 4, there’s no flashlight, and no reason for a flashlight because everything is lit to be visible. And it’s still freakin scary! They realized you don’t have to be in total darkness to be scared.
Silent Hill: 4 is more disturbing than scary actually. Take the ghosts for instance. They never pop out at you suddenly, and their design isn’t all that scary looking… It’s in the way they float around unnaturally and make that terrible moaning noise. Most of the time you can run away, but sometimes, the more aggressive ones will keep right up with you.
The game is kind of known for the monsters being really annoying. Which is true. The ghosts don’t seem to ever die, and other ones are just a nuisance. But I think the monsters showing up in the world is always scary and worth the un-interesting combat to deal with them. And the annoyance in some cases adds to the fear. When you realize there’s a ghost in a room, you immediately feel differently about that room, right? it wouldn’t be like that if they were easy and fun to demolish.
As for story… 1, 2, and 3 all had compelling stories. They were simple mysteries. 4 is no different, except the mystery isn’t quite as simple. It follows the murders of Walter Sullivan and the clues he left behind, along with the mystery of the history of Henry’s apartment. It is actually a very confusing story, but a great one, still.
The inventory does get irritating being only able to hold a certain amount of items. But it’s not a completely un-fun challenge. It’s just a little addition to the suppressive world… The Silent Hill worlds, in all the games, always feel like they don’t want you there. Everything wants you dead, or wants you to suffer. So, in that regard, all the un-enjoyable aspects of gameplay work to the game’s advantage… lol it’s really difficult for me to find negatives in the Silent Hill series! (or at least in the PS2 ones. Homecoming is another story)