“You’re hopelessly intellectualized. You’ve thought all your emotions out of existence, and left nothing but a bleak mental consciousness of yourself. There you sit like a buddha, examining your intestines and gazing at your navel and seeing nothing of the real world.”—Anna Kavan, A Stranger Still (1935)
“Psychiatry taught me that you have to come up with your own version of neurotic happiness. I’m never going to be a normal person. No one changes, no one gets better – once you make friends with your neuroses you can plan a life.”—John Waters
you” are you dumb have you forgotten about…there’s ghosts EVERYWHERE that you can’t even…
The ghosts are lame. You can’t kill them so there’s no real point in fighting them, and they’re honestly not even scary. The monsters in the other games had some thematic relevance in their design - the demons fit the cult plot line in the first one, the gory mutants in the second matched the motifs of illness and death of Mary’s story - even the third one, although less thematically cohesive with the enemy design, had a lot of really cool ideas visually that kept with and further developed Silent Hill’s aesthetic. The ghosts in SH4 not only fail expand on the visual style of the series, none of the monsters in the game really even have a running aesthetic in the first place. The dogs don’t really look like the ghosts don’t really look like the nurses, etc.
Also, the story’s not horror. All of the other games had a psychological horror plot manifesting itself in the town’s monsters, dead ends, human characters, and so on. SH4 was a whodunnit thriller story with a serial killer, calling cards on the victims, police wondering aloud about his motives - the whole deal. And it’s completely linear. It takes what was wrong with the third one - the lack of exploration - and expands on it by compartmentalizing each of the areas and taking away even the slightest semblance of connection between them.
It’s just a mess for a whole bunch of reasons. No boss fights, no puzzles, a severe lack of sounds design…I could go on for a while. And believe me, I wanted to like it. I just didn’t.
If you want to know what Silent Hill 4 was like, but you don't feel like playing it...
Imagine you’re in this haunted house that’s the latest in a line of awesome haunted houses from previous years, only this year it’s under new management. And this new management has decided that the haunted house would be better with all the lights on, and the fog machines turned off, and the sound effects on mute, and the fake monsters a lot faker, and no big monsters at regular intervals to keep the pacing of the experience between rooms. Also, after every other room you go back to a safe house where nothing can hurt you, so the haunted house is not only not scary, you’re not even actually in it, just popping in and out.