Silent Hill: Book of Memories falls short as both a dungeon-crawler and a horror game.
- Addictive in the right circumstances
- Some subtle nods to the series' past
- Lots of replay value if you want it.
- Long load times
- Occasionally frustrating combat
- Randomized floors might involve too much backtracking.
Plenty of franchises can make successful departures from one genre to another, whether for a one-off side story or an entirely new spin-off series. The experiment may inspire apprehension in the hearts of the series' fans, but it can also breathe much-needed life into something that's growing stale. Silent Hill: Book of Memories attempts to extract the survival horror trappings from Silent Hill and put them into a dungeon crawler--losing most of the horror in the process. In some ways it works better than you might expect it to, providing the same kind of addictive role-playing game grinding you find in other games in the genre. At the same time, it loses a lot of what people like about the series, and it doesn't do well enough as either a horror game or an RPG to make the game great.
Book of Memories begins, unsurprisingly, with a book. The titular Book of Memories arrives on your character's birthday, in a mysterious package from the town of Silent Hill. Your character, whom you customize before starting the game, quickly learns that his or her entire life's story is written in the book (it must not be too exciting, because the book isn't that thick). This is immediately followed up by the idea to change what's written in the book, ultimately leading to a past-changing journey through your nightmarish psyche.
Like many a dungeon crawler before it, Book of Memories is built around randomized dungeon floors, or zones. Typical of most action RPGs, clearing a zone involves a lot of whacking enemies with weapons to get experience, money, and loot, with less of an emphasis on the latter. Most weapons are reminiscent of those in the earlier Silent Hill games, meaning you pick up a lot of wooden planks and steel pipes. These weapons break relatively easily, but they can be repaired with a toolkit or simply replaced with similar weapons scattered throughout the environment. Both melee and projectile weapons are either one-handed or two-handed, and one-handed weapons can be dual-wielded. Different enemies have different weaknesses to weapons, so you might want to pay attention to what you bring with you.
The stats for these weapons aren't surfaced well, but to some extent it doesn't matter. Every fire axe you find is exactly the same as every other, and there are a finite number of weapon types available, negating some sense of the discovery and loot lust found in other dungeon crawlers. You may find that you have an affinity for a particular weapon, but at a certain point you've seen all there is to see. Weapons can be leveled up through extended use, but it's a long process, and it's not clear what improvements are acquired when you do so. A simple magic system can also be used by collecting either “light” or “blood” karma, enabling healing skills and offensive skills, respectively. Karma is earned by killing enemies of the opposite type (so you gain light karma for killing blood enemies), and early on you gain the ability to flip the alignment of nearby enemies, leading to an almost Ikaruga-esque strategy implementation of killing certain enemies before others.
For the most part, all of this could be an explanation of any dungeon crawler. The Silent Hill aspects come into play more in the environments, the enemies (from nurses to straitjackets to, yes, Pyramid Head), and, most interestingly, the puzzles. Each randomized zone has puzzle pieces and a puzzle hint scattered throughout it. You use these pieces to solve a basic puzzle and open the zone's exit. It's neat the first few times, though unfortunately all of the puzzles follow the same basic pattern of asking you to order all the pieces by size or color, in some direction hinted at not too subtly by the given hint. When playing alone, there are also "forsaken rooms," which serve as mini-puzzles and have good, bad, and neutral possible outcomes. Similar to the end-of-zone puzzles, these rooms are a nice idea and are interesting a few times, but they lack variety.
I waited to get the vita just for this game, but now after what I've seen...didn't get this game and STILL don't have a vita. So now, I'm waiting for vita's price drop for next year. I still have my trusty PSP to watch movies and tv shows on whenever I travel. Buying a vita now would by a waste of money since there aren't any games out for that system that I want right now. Watching videos on the vita would be redundent, when I can do the same thing on my PSP. Don't really do handheld games either. Only the particular ones that I want that ain't available for PS3.
I think EA should get off there ass and make Dead Space Vita so we can have a good survivor horror on our hand held.
No doubt...but if they decide to do another EXTRACTION port, (not saying that it was a bad game) I may start to frown at EA. To this day, the first Silent Hill on PS1 is still the best in the franchise. No other Silent Hill game has never been as eery as the first. The second game was the best graphically, but that's about it.
@canuckbiker Same, it was also boring too. The combat was extremely generic even for a dungeon crawler.
Also knowing it was going to be a PSP game, you can see the how dull the graphics are. I can tell that the developers really didn't do much to upgrade the graphics besides increasing the resolution of the game and that really bugged the crap out of me (compare this game's graphics to Silent Hill Origins and you can tell that this game can easily run on a PSP).
Though I did like the unique Silent Hill art style they were going for that hasn't been done with the exception of maybe Diablo.
thats gotta hurt
This game never should have come to be. The Vita needed a real Silent Hill game, not some once-digital download spin off turned full price retail game...
I agree more or less with this review, that said, Book of Memories is still in my opinion the most interesting entry in the Silent Hill franchise since the original Japanese games.
The Gamespot review highlights some of the same faults I found with the game in my review. However, unlike the Gamespot review, I stopped playing after less than an hour because it was very repetitive and had a poor control scheme. Just like the Gamespot review says, it is neither a dungeon crawler nor a survival horror game. It is a bad attempt to push a title out the door to make a quick dollar on the "Silent Hill" name. I wish game companies would stop making games that use the touch screen so much. I traded it in after 1 day.
@DektonHeslar You have a fricken VITA what you think there not gonna use the touch controls. You should sell your VITA while your add it don't come here and complaining when you something that uses touch controls. Maybe if the combat was use with touch controls and moving around too yeah you'd have a point. But seriously you don't think they're gonna use touch controls on touch device. Dude just break your VITA and shut up stop being such a contradicting hypocrite.
I would suggest to you that firstly, the Vita is NOT a touch device. It is primarily a GAMING device that has touch capability, hence the reason I said "It's not an i-pad". Secondly, the use of the touch controls in many of these early games are awkward and improperly used. This is proven by Sony's updates where it is now no longer "required" to use the touch screen to navigate basic menus on the home screen. Sony has addressed the issue and promoted the concept that the Vita is essentially a mulitmedia device with touch capability and is NOT as you say a "touch device". I believe that gaming companies should get on board and not be so restrictive with their control schemes. Look at the 3DS, they added a "control nub", because the touch screen alone is insufficient and not all gamers like that interface. Lastly, I am not a hypocrite. I bought the Vita because of how it was marketed and liked what the hardware promised for audio and visual presentation. To date not many of the games live up to the capabilities. I believe that games should be able to draw the gamer in and these early incursions of exploring the touch capability should end. They are pointless and clunky. Game developers do not need to re-invent the wheel and should stick with the proven control schemes that work. Bold and over use of new technology is the quickest way to kill a new product. Do you go up to touch your TV screen to make a melee kill on your PS3/360/Wii? Would you find it acceptable to do so, just because you can? Would you buy a game that made you do it and gave you no other options? I doubt it. Working in the simulation industry has expanded my experience into how biomechanics work regarding "client immersion" in the virtual world. Rest assured, I will not be buying a Wii U. Nintendo has gone so far off the mark from the original concept of the Wii U, it is not worth my money. The internet is a free forum, I suggest you do your research.
@DektonHeslar @Albelnox0 if people think VITA sucks,then better get their hands off any handheld games. wii U?? unless if your working as part of the makers of wii U,then its probably understood.. and i Agree with u dekton,touchscreen wasnt overall a bad idea,it just have to be used correctly or appropriately that it wudnt interfere with whats going on in the game.FIFA back touchscreen control was good. all else wasnt that relevant at all.. as long as they can make an option wether to turn on or off the touchscreen controls,then it wouldnt bother me.because touchscreen is much needed for going through menus and video trasferring,or arranging stuff like that.. its not that bad afterall
@DektonHeslar Yeah touchscreen is definitely overrated. U get fingerprints, scratches on ur screen.. They should stick with anlog and buttons and touchcontrol should be optional.
@chazy035 Developers said this was just a fun game for the silent hill series, that is uncanon, and something. Do research before you do the "stamp" excuse.
@adkcrazox 10$ definitly, 20$ probably not, 59$ or 49$ or even 39$ HELL NO
I would cause I wanna form an opinion on it.
@adkcrazox I wouldn't even pay $0.99 for it.
- Player Reviews: 5
- Game Universe:
- Silent Hill 2 (PS2, PC),
- Silent Hill 3 (PS2, PC),
- Silent Hill 4: The Room (PS2, XBOX, PC),
- Silent Hill: Homecoming (PS3, X360, PC),
- Silent Hill: Origins (PSP, PS2),
- Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (WII, PS2, PSP),
- Silent Hill: Downpour (PS3, X360),
- Silent Hill HD Collection (PS3, X360),
- Silent Hill: Book of Memories (VITA),
- The Silent Hill Experience (PSP)