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Silent Hill: Book of Memories Review

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On 10/31/2012 at 03:07 PM by Nick DiMola


Not recommended, not even if you like dungeon crawlers.

I’m not really sure what Konami and WayForward were going for when they made Silent Hill: Book of Memories. While it bears the Silent Hill name, it draws nothing but characters and visual design from the series. As someone outside of the fan base, I don’t mind this departure; however, their attempt to marry a dungeon crawler to the Silent Hill formula results in gameplay that even fans of the genre won’t appreciate.

The game kicks off when you receive the Book of Memories from an offbeat and gently spoken mail carrier. As you quickly learn, the book is the chronicle of the life of your canned (but slightly customizable) character. After making some small modifications to improve the past events of your life, you are thrust into the Silent Hill-like world in your dreams. Here, you have the pleasure(?) of crawling through randomly generated dungeons, killing all of the enemies you encounter.

Things start simple, once you get through an oppressively long loading screen. You primarily find yourself battling the infamous bubble head nurses as well as the double headed dog with whatever weaponry you can locate in the environment. Just like in the recent mainline games, your weaponry slowly degrades over time, which means that you constantly need to either repair it with an item or replace it with something in better condition.

Right off the rip the problems with the formula are clear. The arsenal is entirely generic, so there’s no chance you’re going to see a random drop of a much-improved weapon. Given the item degradation, even in the instances you are granted a superior weapon, it’s possible you’re going to break it and it will disappear. As such, this means that your grind through the levels is that much less interesting because you have little to work towards.

Paramount to the weapon degradation issue is the fact that there is no looting whatsoever. Enemies don’t drop weapons that can be stored in a backpack to later be used, nor do they drop cash, armor, or anything else that could be used to build up towards bigger and better things. This is, of course, one of the most important hooks to the dungeon crawler formula and the main reason why most gamers will continue to play similar games for hours on end. To miss the mark on this only exacerbates many of the other issues in Silent Hill: Book of Memories.

Given the random generation of the zones (read: stages), there’s no level design to speak of. You merely trudge from room to room killing every enemy and searching the space for items that are necessary to progress, primarily, keys.

If you’re not searching for keys, you’re taking on challenges, which net a puzzle piece. These challenges all boil down to killing all of the enemies in the room, something you had planned to do anyway, thus making their distinction mostly irrelevant. However, you must trudge through the entire floor before you can move on because finding all of the puzzle pieces is required.

If you’re lucky enough, you’ll locate a note somewhere along the way that will give a hint toward solving the puzzle that all of these pieces go to, but I rarely managed to find the notes. The “puzzle” can barely be called such, as it merely entails placing the pieces in the right spots. Given that there are a limited number of possible permutations, the answer can always be found through brute force, which is disappointing.

One portion of Silent Hill that very little attempt was made to bring over was the story. Rather than offering up something profound about your character, the problems they have are fairly mundane. Even worse, the story only manifests through some very short cutscenes between zones and in notes scattered throughout. Heavy story wouldn’t have necessarily fit the style of gameplay, but given the pedigree of the series, I expected something more impressive.

Silent Hill: Book of Memories needs not contain any horrible abominations; it in and of itself is more than sufficient. The unholy union of a dungeon crawler and Silent Hill simply does not produce entertaining or rewarding results. Though I can appreciate the sentiment of spinning-off the popular series, this was not the way to do it.

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Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.




05/20/2013 at 11:47 PM

Yeesh. Good to know I can skip this one, bad to know that Silent Hill has fallen yet further.


05/21/2013 at 02:28 AM

The game had an interesting art design, but the gameplay wasn't very fun. Just play origins or shattered memories on PSP instead.

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