Was Thomas gay and just enjoyed dressing up, or a trans woman? Most players assume the former, but there's more than plenty of sufficient evidence as to the latter, such as the fact that he or she is considered a "goddess of the forest". The game itself never explicitly states either interpretation.
Complacent Gaming Syndrome: People prefer to use the machine guns on Shadows, despite them getting more and more effective and bullet resistant. It also doesn't help that a side quest that can easily be completed early in the game gives you one that has infinite bullets. It's probably due to the fact that successive headshots practically stun-lock Shadows until they're dead.
Complete Monster: Forrest Kaysen is the realBig Bad. He manipulated the Raincoat Killer and Thomas into turning evil by exploiting their traumatic pasts, and he's also the one who orchestrated the military experiment 50 years ago that sparked the whole mess. He deliberately spread the rumors about the immortality granting Red Seeds, directly causing mass murders throughout the country, including the ones in Greenvale. And finally, there's his sickening "red tree saplings", which grow inside of young women (and its heavily implied that he "implants" the saplings in them by raping them), and when they fully sprout, the woman completely withers into a dissected husk. Finally, when his latest target withers right in front of her husband, he laughs maniacally about it, even after the husband commits suicide. And when he realized that their son had seen all this, he attacks the boy, scarring him and trapping him inside a dreamworld for almost his entire life. His motivation for all of his crimes is because he was bored.
Crosses the Line Twice: When York talks about the cases he's been on previously, he mentions horrifying cases (such as one involving a man using skulls for everyday practices and a man who raped 800 people), but his skewed priorities when it comes down to the horribleness of the crime and the reactions of Emily, Thomas, and George make it very, very funny.
Cult Classic: It's got a relatively small fanbase, but those who like it call it either gaming's definition of So Bad, It's Good, or a rough, uncut diamond in a sea of polished, cut coal.
Punk York. Although never seen in-game, York's mention that he used to dress like a punk rocker captivated fans' imaginations. He shows up with regularity in fan art, and a punk costume for York was commonly speculated/asked for leading up to the Director's Cut.
Epileptic Trees: Are the Shadows citizens who were caught in the rain and mutated by the Red Seeds and purple fog? Are they the ghosts of the victims of the original massacre 50 years ago? Are they merely figments of York's imagination, and if so, how do they cause him real pain? Or perhaps they're monsters created by Kaysen, trying to prevent York from helping Zach get out of the Red Room?
When we first meet York, he is driving along the road in the rain, talking on his cell phone and smoking a cigarette while typing on his laptop with one hand. All this while holding a deep conversation about his theory of Tom and Jerry living in a co-depended, sadomasochistic relationship, and somehow this does not affect his ability to drive. What finally causes him to crash? A malfunctioning lighter.
In the Director's Cut at the very end, when Old Grandpa Zach sneaks out of his out and runs off to New Orleans with the voice in his head to investigate people who can only walk backwards.
Game Breaker: Legendary Guitar Grecotch, which, while slow, usually take out shadows in just one or two hits, and, due to the fact it's a quest item, will not break.
Arguably even better is the wrench, which is almost as strong as Grecotch, also indestructible, and much faster.
Weapons aside, the Weather Doll. When activated, your health will automatically regenerate, rendering all the first-aid kits you've been hoarding completely useless. There's a reason this is one of the hardest items to obtain, unlocked after completing Emily's sidequests which can only be done when it's raining, and at a specific time frame.
Goddamned Wall Crawlers: The wall crawler enemies which are unfortunately common during the second part of the game and take far too long to kill normally. They would be Demonic Spiders, except that they don't really pose a threat. They're just really tedious to fight without using an unintuitive alternate method. If you have unlocked the Wesley Special, they become a LOT easier.
Another option is you could use Legendary Guitar Grecotch and a shotgun, which can kill them in 13 secondsnote First, you shoot them with the shot gun, causing them to move over to the wall, when they complete their attempt to grab you, smash them with the guitar..
Good Bad Bugs: As supergreatfriend's Let's Play can attest, at times, the characters animations while you're talking to them sort of break, resulting in gems like Emily, who is supposed to be drinking Alcohol, pouring it in her ear.
York has been taking care of Zach since they were seven years old. All the talking that York did to Zach helped him escape the red room that Kaysen had trapped him in. He isn't insane, he's just protecting the mind of a scared boy.
The ending with York and the goddesses at the diner.
When you talk to General Lysander to activate his first sidequest, he'll start comparing sick soldiers to "the walking dead". Roger L. Jackson, his voice actor, would then voice Chuck in Telltale's The Walking Dead.
The shadows are more goofy than scary with their funky limbo moves and slow garbled speech. At least, until one of them gets a hold of you and tries to shove its arm down your throat.
George and Kaysen's monster forms are pretty silly in design. One of them ends up looking like a Super Saiyan.
It honestly says something when Kaysen's first, giant blueberry-like form often compared to Violet Beauregarde is the creepiest out of the three forms he has.
PolishedPorting Disaster: The PS3 release had less stiff movement and extra content, but it also suffered from lag & some apparent audio issues.
While a good enough PC can possibly solve the framerate problems, the PC release apparently only natively supports 720p resolutions (a decent PC release has a whole gamut of resolution options), apparently has few graphical options, and apparently didn't have pad support at the start. The dude who made the Dark Souls resolution fix made a patch for the resolution issue, and pad support was eventually patched in. Problems with incessant crashing have proven more resistant to correction.
The first level does NOT do a very good job of easing you into the game. In addition to introducing the weakest part of the game first, the combat, the combination of fussy controls, very few melee weapons, the weak starter pistol, a poorly placed patch of Respawning Enemies and the instant kill quick time event at the very end turn a lot of people away before the game even really starts.
One of The Directors Cuts' main touted features is that they've reworked the gunplay controls.
Okay, whose idea was it to make this the first and only Wide Open Sandbox game where your car can run out of gasoline?
It's not even the mechanic idea that's bad, it's just that cars can guzzle a full tank of gas on a 5 mile drive.
The segment in which you have to fish for evidence can be agonizing if you haven't gotten used to the fishing mechanic before hand.
The extremely zoomed in map screen. Not only does it make it needlessly hard to navigate the fairly large sandbox, but the map doesn't stay fixed unlike 99% of every other open world game. It actually ROTATES in the direction the player moves in. This would be annoying enough in a more polished game, but add the fact that several of the roads in town lead to dead ends or around objectives and it becomes infuriating. Add to it the gas meter mechanic and the fairly strict time frames for certain missions and you have a complete mess. Of all the things improved in the Directors Cut, who on earth decided it would be a good idea to exclude a semi-readable map?!
Or, as one Destructoid user put it, "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. WE HAVE FOUND GAMING'S CITIZEN KANE.".
Special Effect Failure: Okay, most of what we see in the game is actually not half bad, especially for a budget title, and a lot of the interior areas have quite good attention to detail. The outdoors (specifically, the woods) are another story entirely, with oft too repeated textures and sub-Dreamcast level tree textures floating in the air. Of course, for some, that's part of the charm.
The game has been criticized by a lot of people who notice that the game's soundtrack and voice audio quality can be weird. What's probably one of the most consistent errors is that the music in the game will drown out characters speaking.
Spiritual Licensee: A lot of people on the internet have compared it to Twin Peaks, even more so before the game came out, before the game was changed in response.
Squick: It is a horror game. Even so, York's description of a past case he's involved himself in a particular scene was more grating than what actually happens. It's somehow borderline worse.
Tear Jerker: A good deal of the ending sequence. Particularly the Playable Epilogue, where York's deadpan movie chats are replaced with Zach monologuing to York and Emily, his last chance before he leaves them behind - as far as we know, for good.
Those Three Sidequests: Emily's sidequests, due to them having stringent requirements to even access them (18:00 on a rainy night, still a chance of not being able to even with those fulfilled) on top of the 1 quest per quest giver per chapter limit. You'll more than likely end up replaying early chapters just to get them done. The worst part is the items you need to complete said sidequests are not available at the very time you figure out that you need them, so if you haven't already obtained them beforehand, you're just gonna have to wait until the next rainy evening comes along. In fairness, though, the reward at the end almost makes up for it (see Game Breaker above).
Uncanny Valley: Humans seem to fall into this category sometimes, particularly when their mouths are open, as it is traditional.
The first two victims are found in a crucified pose.
The upside-down peace sign.
Both of these are actually Red Herrings, believe it or not. The poses the victims are in and the signs are supposed to be trees.
The usage of Amazing Freaking Grace in the infamous scene near the end. When you go by the original religious intent of the song (that no one is beyond redemption, regardless of their sins in life, and that we all are able to do the right thing) and what the character is trying to do: get to the clocktower and stop the gas, according to the director.
The Woobie: Many, many people in Greenvale seem to fit this, such as Olivia, who thinks her husband is cheating on her, and Lysander, who reveals that he wears his Sergeant uniform because a soldier he originally hated died after saving his life and he hates his own guts for surviving.