I thought the same thing about the environments for a while, but you have to get it into your head that the developers usually sacrifice gameplay elements to create the right sense of atmosphere. The 5 minute tromp through the forest at the beginning of Silent Hill 2, for instance, is supposed to be telling you that you're out on your own in the middle of fucking nowhere. I really think they overdid the "all alone" atmosphere in 2, though, since you never feel surrounded by nasty evil things that want to hurt you, and it's not scary in the slightest. Buuuuuuuuuuuut since it's mostly from James' subconciousness anyway I guess that's actually pretty accurate.
Also, if you bother to look, Silent Hill is chock full of real-world references and various other easter eggs.
Like, say, the corpse the first monster is chewing on in the clothes boutique in Silent Hill 3.
"Bill Skins Fifth" is also a common newspaper headline in the first game.