Console: PS Vita
Reviewer: Reid

Pros:

  • Extensive replay value
  • Touch features work well
  • Multiple weapons to use

Cons:

  • Boss fights are forced and unnecessary
  • Game play can get very repetitive
  • Long loading times

The PS Vita is capable of immense game play and graphics, so I was excited to see the possibilities and direction that the Silent Hill franchise would take. If you decide to play this game, you need to throw your expectations out the window if you want to give this release a fair shot. It’s nothing you’d expect from Silent Hill.

Presentation: B

The game’s title and menu screen look great, and play that familiar Silent Hill music of a slow classic piano, soothing but eerie. The game is in top-down view, and while that usually isn’t a problem, it is tough to make the adjustment as the objects, enemies, and weapons are quite small. Though everything is small, it does have a surprising amount of detail in all the rooms, and in the enemy models.

The animation and cut scenes in the game are well done. Curiously, I found the boss fights to have some boxy looking edges, but nothing to take away from what they were doing. The cut scenes were animated well, though there aren’t too many of them.

I found the sound effects, mostly when in combat, can get repetitive. Since you will be in combat or running most of the time, that is what you’re going to hear mostly. The music is really just in the background, and for me didn’t really give any good reason to not turn the sound down most of the way while I was playing.

Single Player: B

Like I said, throw your expectations out the window, because this is a different direction than Silent Hill is used to. Though “Action, Hack and Slash” tells some of the story, this is basically a RPG dungeon crawler. And even though you are able to pass through the first few zones by yourself, you’re going to eventually get to the point where you will need the assistance of other players just to get through the rooms, or else you’ll run through your inventory quickly.

The first thing you will do is customize your character, and you can get pretty in-depth with it. Later you can change and also purchase upgrades for your appearance.

Your basic goal is to explore every room, mainly looking for puzzle pieces. You’ll also need to find keys to progress, and notes that fill in the story (as thin as it is) and clues to solve the puzzle at the end of the zones. The game play will get very repetitive, and you will eventually start blowing through rooms instead of staying and fighting all the enemies.

Each zone has one save spot, and one supply shop. You will eventually learn to not be lazy like I had to on multiple accounts and back track to keep saving your progress. If you don’t you could risk wasting your progress on half or even an entire zone, so save often especially if your playing by yourself.

The in-game currency comes in the form of “Memory Residue” which you will use to buy supplies. You can find bags of these hidden throughout various rooms, and also a bonus if you complete the zones final challenge without any hints.

The RPG aspect is quite heavy in this game. You have things like Dexterity, Stamina, and Intelligence among other factors that can be leveled up. You will also earn, unlock or find relics to help in different areas.

Your map is a huge help, and you will have to pay close attention to where you are and where you need to get to. Once all the puzzle pieces are collected you’ll proceed to the end and solve a riddle with the puzzle pieces. Though the puzzles aren’t too difficult, if you didn’t find the riddle that gives you a vague clue they can be tough. Of course, the built in hint mechanism is always there if you need it, but if you don’t use it you’ll earn a bonus amount of memory residue.

While you’re in the rooms you’ll use a flashlight to highlight things like desks and other objects that are going to contain key’s, ammo, and health packs among other things to help you. If you keep the flashlight on, the monsters will become more volatile, so you’ll want to keep an eye on that. It’s usually easier to keep your flashlight off during combat, then turn it on afterwards to search for items. Though sometimes it’s so dark you’ll need it on no matter what.

Combat is fairly simple, and some enemies will require slightly different tactics when fighting. If your weapon is small enough you can hold one in each hand. Larger weapons like the pipe will require both hands. Weapons you pick up, or buy will deteriorate over usage, so you’ll need to swap them out or use the “tool” object to repair them.

When you destroy an enemy, it will leave either good Karma (white) or bad Karma (red). You can choose which to pick up and slide your “Karma meter” toward one end or the other. Once built up enough, you can unlock Karma powers to use against enemies. This come in very handy, especially in a room full of enemies.

The boss fights in the game are annoying and really don’t need to be in there. Some will give you a more powerful weapon to use for a while, some don’t give you anything. Either way they seem to be put in there to just break up the dungeon crawl, which for me just seemed annoying.

The story in Book of Memories makes sense, but is mostly pieced together through notes and broadcasts you’ll find in the rooms. Although cool, you can progress through the game without them, so they become more of a treasure hunt.

The games difficulty will spike rather quickly on you if your playing by yourself. For me it was around zone 10 when I realized I needed help and had to play online with other people to help me clear the rooms.

Though there are endings to unlock, the game can potentially go on forever, as things in the dungeons will randomly generate and change, and can theoretically produce an infinite amount of zones.

Multiplayer: B+

The multiplayer is really the focus of the game, as it’s pretty much ridiculous to try to play it by yourself after a few zones. I found this option quite helpful, and it actually boosted the level of fun for a while. Multiplayer is the exact same thing as the campaign, but allows up to 4 players co-op to help you through your rooms. Although you can communicate through the voice chat, it’s only through prerecorded phrases, so I didn’t find much use for that area.

As of now there is no DLC, but since you have an infinite number of possibilities it does make it more fun to play under this mode, and that is what the developers intended.

Replay Value: A

If you end up liking this game, then it’s replay value is pretty amazing. With over hundreds of randomly generating dungeons, easter eggs, and 4 player co-op Book of Memories provides tons of replay.

For what Silent Hill Book of Memories tries to do, it does it well. It’s a nice dungeon crawler with tons of replay value. It will mostly appeal to those who love the RPG style, especially while playing co-op.

I’ve wondered if this game wouldn’t be better off as a stand along title, considering it is a stretch making it have anything to do really with the world of Silent Hill. Then again, it probably will sell better if it has a bigger franchise title attached to it, so it’s a catch 22. Either way, if you love RPG dungeon crawlers your going to really enjoy this game. If you want game play relating to the previous Silent Hill entries you might want to just try the demo to see what you think because it’s quite different from what they have tried.

Overall: B

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