I played some more Silent Hill 4 today. (spoilers ahead)
I'm up through the end of the first pass through "Building World." The voice acting continues to improve through the game (a plus), but the game's combat-oriented roots are definitely showing.
When you are fighting a half-dozen creatures at once, it makes the game a bit more hectic.
However, the combat highlights a problem with another new feature of the series: zones. In Silent Hill 1-3, when you were moving around levels, you didn't need to worry about a load until you either crossed a cutscene barrier or opened a door. In SH4, larger areas are split into "zones," so when you cross one zone, there is a brief load while the next zone loads.
That's all fine and dandy, but there are issues during fights. Near the end of "Building World," there is a part where as soon as you exit this alleyway zone, you enter another zone and get jumped by 4 apeish creatures. One of the apeish creatures jumps past me as I hit it and knock it out. I start walking back towards it so that I can stomp on it and make sure it stays dead, but it fell down past the zone transition plane. So before I can stomp on it, the zone shifts and it's nowhere to be seen. I quickly step back, but it's awake instead.
So far, the puzzles aren't too hard. I figured it out at the beginning that the 11121, 16121, 17121, etc. numbers were really 11/21, 16/21, 17/21, etc. The 10-item inventory limit, however, pisses me off, as the inventory limit includes quest-related items. In the world I'm in now, I've got five pieces of quest-related inventory, so I'm essentially full up. It's frustrating.
The only thing more frustrating has been the constant barrage of "Dirty Disk" messages. I almost feel that Konami Japan used the "Dirty Disk" message as their catch-all error handler on the Xbox. If so, shame, because the disk I have is spotless.