• The enemies: The ghosts, Twin Victims and Patients were all great enemies. Menacing and intimidating. Walter showing up and chasing you occasionally is pretty full on, although I found his villain-like laughter, chainsaw and dual-wielding pistols to be a bit too comical or goofy to take seriously. While he's no Red Pyramid Thing, he's definitely much more of a nuisance, and much more persistent!
• The Water Prison: Great design, look and feel, and great use of the panopticon
concept. The feeling of damp, wet, cold oozes from the screen, and once you realise the cells held only children, you feel a sense of disquiet and sadness.
• Japanese horror and folklore influence: From the Twin Victims, Gum Heads and to the visual of Cynthia's ghost, I loved all the little sprinklings of Japanese flavour brought into a Silent Hill game. I feel like there's many more examples from the game, but I can't spout any further from the top of my head at the moment.
• The spiral descent/staircase: Loved the slow descent down into Walter's personal hell and subconscious between the Otherworlds. Plus, some of the strangest and most off-putting imagery is seen here.
• Improved melee combat: Felt much better than the previous two entries I played, and once you've landed a good strike on an enemy, you can keep wailing on them until they're dead, and they won't recover and retaliate as you're thrashing them.
• The ghosts: Each of them having an individual model, representing one of Walter's victims with their own story. The Swords of Obedience were pretty cool, and it's best to save them for each of the Round Three victims.
• Eileen: Whilst the characters of Henry and Eileen aren't as fleshed out as they ought to be, I actually really enjoyed having Eileen as a companion, especially as she can fight and defend herself a little should you equip her with a weapon (she looks awesome and does good damage with the chain). She's also gorgeous; I think I'm a sucker for her brown hair and piercing light green eyes. I want to know more about her.
• The imagery and aesthetics: The slow degradation of your apartment, the hellish rooms on the upper floor of the hospital, the descending staircase (as mentioned), Walter self-crucified/ritualised in a hidden room behind the walls, the demented and nightmare version of the apartment world, the giant Eileen head
, the strange glowing carvings of Walter's victims deified before the final boss fight. 4 really has some striking visuals.
• The story: Walter Sullivan, worshiping Room 302 as his mother, committing serial/ritual murder of 21 people in her name, in order to bring her to life, and be one with her forever. It's weird, disturbing but compelling horror fiction, with our Everyman stuck there only by happenstance; wandering the nightmares and subconscious of the serial killer and his victims. Just really good stuff.
• The apartment and the hauntings: The safest, coziest part of the world eventually turning into the deadliest, most unknown factor. In the first half of the game, the room is your safehaven; in the second-half, I felt like I just needed to rush in as quick as possible, save, and get back out ASAP to the Otherworld in order to feel safer, or more certain, there. This was done to great effect. Holy Candles were essential later in the game.
• Room 302 of the Past: This scene was great, speaking to the deceased Joseph, who hangs suspended from the ceiling as a statue of jet-black obsidian, unmoving, unflinching. Absolutely surreal. "Kill, kill, kill, kill."
• Music: Another great Akira Yamaoka composition...
• The superintendent: Did not expect this kind of a callback to 2. He had a small role in the overall story too, which was a nice touch.