By Kris . September 26, 2012 . 11:30am
While Silent Hill: Book of Memories is a multiplayer dungeon crawler, my recent experience with the game involved me playing by myself. Before hopping into the game proper, I had a chance to look through the menu, where I had the ability to customize my character a little bit.
While the demo I played had locked the base outfit to a suit, I changed its colors to black and red. In addition to the standard suit were a couple of other customization options. I gave my character (who somebody had previously named “Ud”) a tweed hat, a “preppy” haircut, and a Hannibal Lecter-style mask to give him a bit more personality.
When I started up the game proper, my character stood in the middle of a rusty, industrial looking room. Turning on my flashlight would highlight certain cabinets and other lootable boxes in red. Pressing X near them would reveal their contents, which I could take with a tap of the touch screen. These contents would range from weapons to “memory residue,” essentially the game’s form of currency that I could use at a shop run by a disconcertingly-knowledgeable nightmare postman. While the demo didn’t really show off any negative to having the flashlight equipped forever, the in-game text assured me that some enemies got more aggressive when I turned it on.
As I wandered throughout the room, I found two knives and two wooden boards. Considering that my character could use two weapons at a time (one with square and the other with triangle), I decided to grab one of each. In the next room, I was greeted by some shambling nurses. I made short work of them using the wooden board at longer distances and the knife for heavier damage when they got close.
Once I’d taken out my enemies, I looked in the glowing red cabinets and found a key. After opening the nearest locked door, I found myself in front of a glowing sphere. Upon breaking it, I was given a simple challenge: eliminate all enemies. Two monstrous dogs and two nurses came into the room, so I immediately ran to the nearest red shelf and swapped my wooden board for a pistol. Between the knife and the gun, the enemies posed little challenge. Upon completion, I was awarded a “puzzle piece,” which I needed four of to beat the level.
I continued through the stage in much the same way, scavenging for ammo and weapons and hunting down puzzle pieces. Because the weapons I was using would break, I’d constantly be changing weapons, at one point wielding revolvers akimbo. After a few rooms, I leveled up and was given a couple of skill points that I could apply to strength, agility, defense and the like (naturally, I funneled both into strength).
At one point, I stumbled into a room that contained the ghost of a crying little girl. I had no idea what to do, so I decided to walk towards her. She vanished and reappeared in another part of the room. Still confused (and a bit weirded out), I decided to keep running into her until a strange glyph appeared onscreen and she vanished.
After further exploration, I finally reached the exit. It required me to put four puzzle pieces into proper order to escape… but I only had three. While I thought I had a good idea where the last puzzle piece was due to the conspicuously locked door, after a bit of searching through the stage, I still couldn’t find the key by the time I had to stop playing the hands-on demo.
Although I didn’t beat the level I played in Silent Hill: Book of Memories, something about the not-scary-but-creepy tone intrigued me. While I don’t think I played the game under the optimal circumstances, I’d like to see more.
Food for Thought:
One of the options I saw in the demo was an “Extras” section that contained the endings you’d seen. Considering that there were six crossed out boxes on the screen, it seems that the game contains at least six endings.