I had some ideas. There are a few things about the game that strike me as…well, bad. Things that kill the mood so to speak. They revolve around the monsters, mostly.
One thing that kills the mood for me is getting chased by a monster and realizing that there’s really not a whole lot I can do to save myself. This should make me scared, but instead it just drops the tempo flat and I think, “well, I’m boned this time. Get it over with so I can try again”. Usually this happens because I’ve managed to get myself in a corner, my health is too low to outrun the monster, or the monster has placed himself in between where I need to go to escape. The solution I propose to this is a new gameplay state that I call “panic”.
During panic you gain a few abilities you don’t have otherwise. You can shoulder your way through doors at the cost of being slightly dizzy afterwards (minor screen wobble?), you can run at full speed regardless of your current health, and can shove your way past a monster at the cost of it getting to take one good swing at you. These additions don’t necessarily make escape easier, they make it more realistic. At current I find that if I don’t have a hiding place in mind, and I’m at anything less than full health and sanity, I’m probably dead if I get spotted. Because I likely won’t be able to get enough of a lead on them, what with having to negotiate doors and round corners, to lose the monster. With this new state I’d be able to book it and lose them, pushing my way through doors and around baddies if need be. He’ll probably still get to take a swipe at me, but I’ll be more able to get away.
There have to be downsides, so during panic you can’t handle the lantern, take medication, or use any items at all. This forces the player to tend to their health when out of combat, instead of using your potions when you’re close to death, or when they need to run at full speed. When panic wears off you will be shaky and tired, slowing your run speed to just above walking and making it difficult to jump. Your sanity will also have taken a hit because of the tangle with the monster. If you're already beat up to the point where you're dying (red screen) then you don't get to panic.
Just an idea I was playing with in my head. There have been more than a few times when I’ve totally been pulled out of the game because, “well that monster is going to hit me once, then I’m going to have no hope of being able to run fast enough to escape, game over” when instead I could have had “aww shit he spotted me run through here awwwwwww shit dead end he’s gonna smack me but I got no choice I should be able to take one swipe run run *SMACK* run run door bash run run round corner hide behind crate…wait….wait…okay, I made it”.
This is how the unfightable monsters are handled in the Wii Silent Hill remake, and it worked very well.