Silent Hill: Book of Memories Hands-On – Not Scary, But Creepy

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.


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  • Valtiel Ikari

    Sounds interesting, but not that Silent Hillysh at all, whit the highlighted red things and stuff.

    Still willing to give it a try, but I will set my standars for a Silent Hill game lower (so basically do what I have been doing since the awful Homecoming)

  • Juan Andrés Valencia

    I love the fact that your weapons can break. That should definetely increase the tension.

  • Richard Wolff

    my franchises they keep betraying me. resident evil silent hill parasite eve all my favorites just keep getting worse and worse at least i have amnesia i suppose

    • Richard Wolff

      I KNEW IT

  • Richard Wolff

    i made a comment about my franchises betraying me…..then my comment betrayed me and is nowhere to be found DAMN YOU DISQUS  (in previous experience missing comments turn up way later watching this article closely)

  • http://gammonwalker.tumblr.com/ Chad Walker

    What is this infantile malfeasance of a game? This is not Silent Hill…

    It’s like Smash TV minus anything good about it. Ughhghh, why did Konami let foreign studios handle this game? It makes just as much sense as letting a line cook at Five Guys do Kabuki theatre. They have no idea what makes it sophisticated or artful.

    It’s also really surprising to see that this what studios are doing with the Vita. You give them gold and they use it to make diapers.

    • Göran Isacson

      I think that since Konami are the ones ultimately okay-ing these decisions, it’s safe to say that foreign studios aren’t entirely to blame- Japanese people are JUST as adept at failing to understand Japanese horror, from the looks of things.

    • malek86

      It’s not like Konami calls a studios and says “ok guys, we want a Silent Hill game, we give you freedom to do whatever you want”.

      Konami must have specifically told them what kind of game they wanted.

      • http://gammonwalker.tumblr.com/ Chad Walker

        That’s true to an extent I’m sure! The foreign studios aren’t ~entirely to blame. Though it becomes evident where the real fault lies when the first three games were actually good, and everything there after was merely imitating the greatness of its predecessors.

        There is a certain logical cohesion within the first three games that is completely lacking throughout the outsourced ones, as well as a complete lack of innovation, taste, and presentation. If Akira Yamaoka wasn’t helping with the sound design you could barely convince someone that those games were Silent Hill, apart from unique, individual ideas that were regurgitated as mere tropes.

        To @google-b4b1d15afa45ba8662d665a79be0dcc8:disqus  as well.

        Not hating on you guys, but I don’t think there is any rationalizing that its FINE these games are the way they are because Konami gave a thumbs up. I’ve worked within a studio environment before and you cannot simply regulate people who don’t know what they are doing, after strict deadlines and marketing windows are in motion, and tons of money is on the line. At that point its about getting the job done with what you have, mistakes and all. I can’t speak for Konami, but I also can’t imagine they are satisfied with how the series’ artistic and intellectual integrity has been spoiled.

        Konami did allow this to happen though, and with that, they definitely made a mistake. Financially the games may be doing OK. With regard to artistic merit, not so much at all.

        You guys also neglect the fact the game looks inarguably awful, on the most powerful handheld gaming device the world has ever seen. It looks like an iOS app…

        • malek86

          Wait, you don’t get what I’m saying. I might agree that SH4 and the others were worse because they were handled by a different studio. After all, they were the same genre, but still worse.

          But I think Konami must be the one to tell them what kind of genre they want. In this case, the idea of making a SH multiplayer shooter must have been theirs. So I don’t think you can blame the concept on the studios. Maybe you can blame them for the art or other stuff, but not for turning the game into a multiplayer shooter. That was most probably Konami’s doing.

          As for whether this game will be bad, also, we’ll need to see. It’s true that it looks pretty bad. But I’d say that WayForward has a pretty good game record overall, so I wouldn’t make assumptions too quickly yet.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594742092 Robert M Fenner

             SH4 was by the same studio as 1-3, it just wasn’t initially intended to be a Silent Hill title.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594742092 Robert M Fenner

       Team Silent has long been dissolved, and most of the people responsible for the early Silent Hill games are at other companies now.

  • http://www.angelmassb.co.nr/ Angel Mass

    I will be playing this, just because it looks interesting. I am just going to imagine is not a “Silent Hill” game.

    • http://twitter.com/SteveMcQuark Zack Bentley

      After the last few Silent Hill games, it’s probably easy to forget about the Silent Hill name…

  • Göran Isacson

    Wwwelp.

    Some franchises can do wacky spin-offs. Mario is just about fun, so really, anything that can be wacky fun can have Mario in it. Silent Hill is about lowering yourself into the darkest, dankest abyss of mental suffering and despair. The concept of Smash TV COULD be depressing if viewed in a certain light, but the gameplay would still encourage a blasting good time. As such, I just don’t know what to make of this game. It’s not horror, and it doesn’t look very smart or engaging. It might be a decent action game, but it’s not like there is some great dearth of decent action games out there. There’s just… nothing that really draws me to it. It’s left behind what DID draw me into the franchise and replaced it with something I would honestly enjoy more if it wasn’t for some strange reason connected to Silent Hill.

    Honestly though, I almost think I WOULD have enjoyed this more if this went ball-out and really COMMITED to the zanyness. Let’s say that this game takes place in the UFO-dimension! Yes, the same timeline in which all the UFO-endings take place. After years and years of getting weird calls from Silent Hill and having to pick up stragglers trapped in strange hellscapes, the aliens just get enough and decide to land inside Silent Hill and blast all those demons apart! They snag a couple of people to act as their emmisaries, arm them with laser cannons/guns/Princess Heart powers (for everyone, including the guys) and tell them to go hogwild. That would also be a stark contrast to the seriousness of Silent Hill, but I think it would be far more interesting than the clumsy mix of “rusty horror” and “balls out action” this looks like it’ll turn out to be.

    • http://gammonwalker.tumblr.com/ Chad Walker

      I agree to that, if they did more to distinguish itself a something different it would have been cool. Heather Princess Heart powers would’ve been incredible! Ha.

      Currently it looks poorly observed and executed.

      • Göran Isacson

        Ha ha, now that I look back on my comment it seems kind of schizophrenic. “SIlent Hill isn’t a franchise that can have wacky spin-offs… but if they made a WACKIER spin-off, then it could totally work!”

        I think that what it all comes down to is how close we perceive a work to really stick the “spirit”, this ever so intangible thing, of a franchise. While we can all agree that the most KNOWN spirit of Silent Hill is one of endless despair and pain, the UFO-endings, jokey as they are, is a neat way to offset the darkness and create another ‘spirit’ by flipping the previous one so far you can only laugh at its absurdity. Th stark contrast is key. If the game had tried to play a happy “Heather gets home and she and her dad live happily ever after” ending straight people would just groan and roll their eyes. But make it “Heather and Her daddy live happily ever after on an alien starship because they bombed Silent Hill into dust”, it’s just so over the top that you can only laugh at it.

        And I think that is where the shoe starts to squeeze, with regards to this game. Like you say it just feels poorly executed. It feels like they want to have their cake and eat it too. They keep LOOK of serious Silent Hill, the rust, the decay, the grimey despair and poor lightning… but they pair it with gameplay that just isn’t suited for that. Run around in poorly lit corridors, barely able to take a swing at the shapeless horrors lurking in the corners while you wrestle with the camera? That be scary yo. Running around top-down while gunning down powerless mooks in great numbers? That’s… not scary. It just isn’t.

        I have a feeling that if they had truly made it extreme and over the top, tying this game to Silent Hill by setting it in the, let’s call it, “UFO-dimension”, then that would be a different thing. It would be a joke, yes, but one that the series itself has already played and that we are comfortable with. Here it seems like they want us to take a game seriously, even if the gamepaly is completely contrary to the mood Silent Hill is so good at conveying. It just doesn’t gel, man. It just doesn’t gel.

    • Lester Paredes

      I like your point and would wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

      • Göran Isacson

        Made some elaborations in the other reply in case you’re interested, felt like the first comment wasn’t really as good as it could have been. Dangers of commenting way past midnight, I guess. :)

  • ViewtifulBo

    I wished this demo was out for the US. I’m actually looking to this one!

  • sherimae1324

    whats next? Silent hill: deadly kart racing? -_-

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dylan-Ng/100000854638739 Dylan Ng

    I will still stand by my fort and say: I won’t judge ’til I see more of it or until its out.

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