Angst? What Angst?: Elle. Sure, she's whiny enough over her mother's uncaring attitude and worried about the townspeople... But her little sister is brutally killed and her mother, who tried to kill her, is also dead, murdered by her maybe-boyfriend. You can actually bring her into the room with her mother's corpse and she will have no reaction, though that's probably a glitch. Perhaps she's still completely in the dark about her family's fate at the end of the game. This gives the ending where she and Alex walk off together an interesting spin. An awkward conversation is about to come up.
Awesome Music: Admittedly, the game has an amazing score brought to us by a veteran Silent Hill music producer.
Even to those who disliked the game agree that Scarlet's boss fight is one of the scariest and most awesome boss fights in the whole Silent Hill franchise. The music, atmosphere, and Scarlet'sunsettlingdesign makes her battle a fan favorite.
Amnion, the Final Boss. The creature has an unsettling design, fast attacks, and is definitely one of the most action-packed bosses in the Silent Hill franchise.
Complete Monster: Judge Margaret Holloway, one of the respected town leaders of Shepard's Glen, makes herself out to be a sweet motherly figure, but in truth is a cold-hearted, cruel and vicious leader of the Order. Years prior, Holloway murdered her youngest daughter Nora by strangling her with her own hands, as per the pact with the Order's God. Unlike the other parents, she is completely remorseless and barely concealed her enjoyment. When the pact is broken due to Joshua Shepard dying in Alex's place, Holloway reassembled the Order to take control of Shepard's Glen as a means of gaining and maintaining her power. Over the years she had residents kidnapped to be brainwashed into the Order, with those resisting ending up tortured to death. Eventually the residents were either dead or soldiers for the Order. Holloway also has Alex's mother abducted and tortured, during which Alex can be forced to Mercy Kill her. While Mayor Bartlett and Dr. Fitch are killed by Eldritch manifestations of their children, when Alex rescues Holloway from Nora's manifestation, she leaves Alex to face it. Later, she plans on killing her other daughter Elle for her refusal to join her, before attempting to torture Alex to death with a power drill.
Contested Sequel: The game itself is heatedly debated over whether it's good or not by veteran Silent Hill fans. Especially the game's slant towards being an Actionized Sequel, using elements from the film, and whether or not certain monsters from previous installments in the series are just included for gratuitous Fanservice rather than actual symbolism seems to be the main points of contention. On the other hand, some fans do believe that it's the best Silent Hill on the Xbox 360 system compared to Downpour and the HD Collection.
Several of the monsters have sexual elements to their design. However, none of the characters are said to have sexual issues. Whether they did it just because they thought it was cool or because they misunderstood the symbolism of previous games is up in the air.
There are logs written by Alex about how the hot nurses tending to him are the only things making his stay at the army hospital pleasant, but that none of them give him the time of day. But the reveal spoils this...
There is a definite theme of "gashes" throughout the game, with several bisected or conspicuously toothy creatures that assault you, in addition to Alex's tendency to rip open posters and tapestries often emblazoned with a man or a woman and always traveling downwards directly through the crotch. There's also the bizarre apparent metaphors of Judge Holloway deciding to murder Alex with a decidedly Freudian drill, with Curtis taking a chainsaw to Elle. If you really wanted to stretch for it, you could infer that they represent Alex's resentment towards his parents.
Joshua is derived from Yeshua, which "Jesus" is also from. Joshua's death saved Alex from being condemned to sacrifice, and his last name is Shepherd.
Then there's his brother Alex (which means "Defending men.") and their father Adam (an allusion to the first human) and Lillian (derived from Lilith, who in Jewish apocrypha was Adam's first wife).
It's interesting to note, in relation to the Jesus parallels above, the crucifix-type device that ultimately kills his mother.
Alex has dealt with a lot of emotional pain in his life, but he continues on his search for his brother Josh.
The same story applies to Elle.
Jerkass Woobie: Mayor Bartlett comes across as hostile because he's now an alcoholic after the death of his son Joey.
Narm: Alex Shepherd is in a mostly abandoned town that is riddled with impassible chasms and infested with killer monsters. If he inspects many of the vehicles in the town, he may wonder, "Why hasn't this been towed? It's clearly broken down." Seriously Alex, is that what's on your mind at that moment?
Only the Creator Does It Right: A common criticism from the game's detractors is that the game's American development team, Double Helix Games, in several ways has failed to understand the "special" Japanese brand of horror that the original Team Silent lead entries had, instead opting for a more Western and therefore "less subtle" and "more actionized" expression of horror.
Pandering to the Base: Generally believed to be the main reason why Pyramid Head appears in this game. Unlike in Silent Hill 2, where he held a great deal of significance as essentially the personification of the protagonist's guilt, in this game his appearance is basically fanservice and he's not particularly important to the plot of the game, appearing mostly just because he's iconic of the series.
Player Punch: Alex, and therefore the player, is forced to make a decision between performing a Mercy Kill on his mother or allowing her to be ripped apart by the Order's torture device.
Porting Disaster: The PC version is a glitchy mess that Konami has never bothered to fix. In fact, you need a fan-made patch to be able to play the game on the highest graphical settings, since doing so on the base game instantly causes a crash.
Recycled Script: One of the more common complaints is how Josh's death is similar to Mary's death in Silent Hill 2, at least in relation to the protagonist. Of course, unlike James, Alex never intended to kill his brother.
Despite the complaints, the Homecoming version ends up more believable. James managed to repress his actions in less than a week, while Alex had four years to construct his delusions.
Stoic Woobie: Alex Shepard doesn't express much emotion throughout the game, but he has a tragic backstory.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The fan reaction to the new combat scheme and "Alex the Military Dude" subplot. Many fans were unhappy about the increased focus on action and the difficulty in avoiding confrontation.
Unintentionally Sympathetic: To a certain extent, the boss monsters are seen as sympathetic to some players since they were the murdered children of the town's founders and only exist that way because the sacrifice went wrong.
The Woobie: Alex and Elle, especially by the end of the game. Mayor Bartlett and Doctor Fitch could also qualify.