October 26, 2012

Rewriting History

Lasting First Impressions of Silent Hill: Book of Memories

Developed by WayForward  |  Published by Konami

Silent Hill Box Art» What would you do if you had the opportunity to rewrite your history? Imagine a mysterious book arrived at your door with a written account if your entire life. If you could, would you attempt to change what was written there? Even if it meant having to travel to a land of nightmares to make the change? That is the premise of the new entry in the Silent Hill series of games, Silent Hill: Book of Memories.

Before delving into this game, I was hoping for another Survival Horror title, but, instead, this title goes the way of the dungeon crawler instead.  Other than referencing the Silent Hill location early on in the game, and featuring creatures from throughout the series’ history, I don’t quite understand why this game needs the Silent Hill title.  Fans of the survival horror genre series will be disappointed with this deviation from the norm and there is nothing scary about Book of Memories.

As a dungeon crawler this game isn’t much to write home about either. Players are presented with room after room with a few creatures to slay before moving to the next in search of specific objects. These pieces are then used to solve some very simplistic puzzles to unlock the next level, where this series of events repeats itself twice before the last room containing the level boss.  Although ammo is scarce and weapons degrade and break (a little too quickly), I didn’t find Book of Memories very challenging at all.  I completed the entire first of 6 areas and never lost a life.

Silent Hill Screen 1

Even the storyline in this game seemed a little weak and not very well explained. One room in each area contained a crying child that, when approached, would vanish and reappear somewhere else in the room. Approach her 5 times and eventually a symbol appears on screen as a representation of good/neutral/evil.  I still have no idea what this is supposed to mean in the overall game.  Perhaps this is just another mechanism to unlock the one of six possible endings.  Unfortunately, without the proper explanation, I had no idea what I should have been trying to accomplish. Even after completing the entire first chapter of the game, during the cut scene my character exclaimed, “It worked!”.  What worked? I had absolutely no idea what was accomplished in this nightmare.

Silent Hill Screen 2

Although I couldn’t play this feature, Book of Memories allows up to 4 players to adventure together cooperatively but I can’t imagine it would be much more exciting to play this game with friends.  It is very repetitive and the environments in each level do not vary in any way. Every room looks the same from one level to another and the same creatures are present in each level.

Unfortunately, this is just not a game that captured my interest after my first hour of gameplay and I honestly don’t see it changing much throughout the rest of the story.  The story is convoluted, confusing and not explained in any satisfying way, the gameplay is not very challenging or rewarding and, graphically, it seems outdated.  As a dungeon crawler, it is only a mediocre one at best. I really don’t understand why this game needs to use the Silent Hill name and may only serve to tarnish that series of survival horrors.

WayForward, I gave you an hour and I am NOT IMPRESSED.

About the Author

Sean is an avid gamer and lover of all thing tech. He is a dedicated husband and the father to three beautiful daughters. In addition to taking his love of gaming to a new level with this site, Sean is also host of our podcasts: The OMG! Hour, Lost Treasures of Gaming, and Primetime as well as the bi-weekly podcast mashup show, Gamers Unscripted. Follow Sean on Twitter as @Xiantayne and this blog as @OMGnexus.



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