So...I'll try to make this as simple as I can. While most people agree that it's most likely the best made Silent Hill on a lot of levels, it also seems that for a lot of fans it's lacking something. This could simply be attributed to exactly what made it so good - not just the fact that it was quite a departure from the style and tone that was set in 2, but also completely new elements such as the unlockable costumes or the Silver & Gold Pipes scene.
That said, while different factors are important for different people and this is obviously not written in stone, I've always believed that a large amount of the people that consider SH3 to be their favorite are female, and prefer it simply because they're more likely to relate to certain elements of it. I'm obviously not the first to address this, and I've been meaning to do a poll on this for years, but recently the matter's been under discussion a bit in this topic [captain crowbar's "I don't like SH3 very much"].
It doesn't have to be your absolute favorite, if it's high on your list or you can simply relate to it well, just say yes. The point is to try and determine to some extent just how strongly a female protagonist influences the player's gaming experience.
I love the Silent Hill Series. The new games did nothing wrong whatsoever, they were developed well, and did things different. I believe that Silent Hill Downpour will make all Silent Hill fans happy. Team Silent doesn't exist, but their series does.
I'm a male, SH1 is my favorite, but SH3 comes in at a very close second. I didn't find anything wrong with Heather's character or anything. Of course any men wouldn't be able to relate since I'm sure we don't have to worry about fetuses growing inside of us, but that's not why it's not my #1.
I remember the entire way through my Silent Hill 3 playthrough I thought "I would appreciate this more if I was a girl". I don't think it's the fact that it has a female protagonist, it's just riddled with themes of femininity, which could be present in a game without a female protagonist. Because the norm is obviously catered to a male audience it can sometimes come across as reactionary and obnoxious, like Dark Souls or something. Which isn't to say if I was playing some angsty punk teenage boy it would be much better for me.
Personally I believe that gender has nothing to do with the fact if the game is our favourite one or not. Of course that it may influence but it shouldn't be a decisive criteria, things like the story and the visuals should be the most important things to make us evaluate a game. However I must say that many people may see themselves in Heather, the identification with the character is something very important (in some case ofc), and contributes actively to how someone reacts to a certain thing, in this case Silent Hill 3. In my case, it's not my favourite game at all but still, I really liked it.
I'm female, and I prefer SH2. I probably like Heather a lot more than James, though. My daughter and I like to laugh at the amount of stupid things he does I do usually prefer to play as a male protagonist if I am given the choice, though.
I do really like how gender plays a part in both 2 and 3. It's not as pronounced in 2 as it is in 3, but we still see the manifestations of a man, and most of the monsters are distinctly female. I really enjoyed how 3 played on female fears though, I thought it was a really good decision. Heather being knocked down and climbed on top of, like by the slurpers, really creeps me out. Probably not because I secretly fear rape or whatever, but it's still creepy. My boyfriend can be quite dense when it comes to symbolism, but even he notices it enough to make jokes about knocking me over and raping my legs
I'm not sure how much teenage girls really fear pregnancy - I had my girl when I was a teenager, and that was many years ago. I guess I can relate to most of Heather's fears in some way, probably moreso than James' situation. I still prefer a man's view in most games though - I'm not sure if that makes me weird or not!
Yes it's my favorite. Yes I am male. I played it as a teen, and I just connected with heather more than Henry or James (the other 2 games I had) and I liked the fuzzy effects more than any effect used in any game I had ever or since played.
It has really nice textures and everything, but I found the environments to be mostly pretty bland, especially during the first half of the game; it doesn't have a whole lot of story going on until you've moved past them either. It does horror really well though, I feel physically sick when I hear Numb Bodies, which is pretty awesome, no other game that I've played has an icky factor like Silent Hill 3, other games like Amnesia: The Dark Descent might make you feel a stronger sense of abject terror as you play through it, but it doesn't get under your skin in the same way (no matter how many naked corpses you find).
I realize there's a very heavy birth theme in the game, but I'd really like to think that liking a game has nothing to do with what gender its protagonist is. It does get old having only male main characters, but that's mainly because of a lack in variety.
In short, the game should be judged on its actual merits, not its gender quota. The game is about Heather as a character, not Heather's gender, not Heather's boobs, not Heather's makeup, not Heather's relationship problems, etc.
Think of it this way. Who cares about Henry's penis, amirite?