Fight or flight. Human instinct. All basic.
The instantaneous decision of whether to flee or face up to your predator runs in us all, and the Silent Hill series mines that as another source of its tension. This is less about the monsters being "hard," than the very idea of facing them. The unpredictable nature of the world of “Hill” 1-4 are such that venturing anywhere might lead you some place uncomfortable.
A common complaint from reviewers not cogent of how to review is that the series features “bad” combat.
Or, as IGN puts it: "If this is your first time playing Silent Hill 2 or 3, you will instantly notice how outdated the combat system is, even for a PS2 game. The melee is slow and clunky, and the firearms auto lock on the monster's torso."
Technically, this is true. In a creative vacuum, compared to current actioners Gears of War 3 or Call of Duty: Black Ops, this is true. But in the standard that matters—that of coherency of communication and narrative—the combat excels.