Videogames reviewed in 10 straight-to-the-point questions, every Wednesday
Game: Silent Hill – Book of Memories
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Time to beat: 12 hours (normal) – 30+ completionist
Q1: Who’s this videogame for?
This is mostly for dungeon crawler fans, but this game is a sub-par option, with little connection to the Silent Hill series. It isn’t even a horror game. The one connection to the franchise is the use of creatures like Pyramid Head, but that’s about it.
The main problem for me was that this game can be very punishing and taxing at times. Death means going back to your last save and there are no checkpoints, which can lead to a lot of frustration.
Having said that, if you really are into dungeon crawlers and have exhausted all other possibilities, you can give this one a try. Here’s a trailer for the game from when it originally released in 2012:
Q2: What’s the story like, and does it require any pre-existing knowledge?
The story is complete nonsense. You receive a mysterious book on your birthday (maybe the…Book of Memories?. Probably, it was hard to pay attention), and it turns out you can re-write memories and face demons from your past. It hardly had any redeeming qualities, and it didn’t add much to the gameplay.
No connection to the other Silent Hill games, so no pre-existing knowledge required.
Q3: What’s the learning curve like?
Pretty smooth, at least. You start out by using melee weapons and attacks, and eventually graduate to ranged weapons, but the style of gameplay doesn’t vary much.
As you progress through the levels, you are able to unlock additional abilities that you can use based on a karma meter, that allows you to perform either healing or damaging techniques.
Enemies become progressively more difficult, and there aren’t too many difficulty spikes along the way.
Q4: What are the controls like?
Pretty clunky, but serviceable. It’s sometimes hard to focus on one particular enemy at a time, and when swarmed, it’s almost impossible to get away. Like many dungeon crawlers, the view is isometric, so the camera remains static for the most part.
It also incorporates touchscreen elements for item management and for using the map, but most of the action is done with the joystick and face buttons.
Q5: Does it have split-screen?
Q6: How’s the online component?
You can team up with up to 3 other friends either in local co-op or online to play level after level. I suppose playing with friends would make this game much more bearable, but playing single player gets monotonous FAST.
Unfortunately, one year after release (2012) very few people were playing this, so I doubt you’d have much luck finding someone today, but you never know…
Q7: How’s the presentation?
Even for a 2012 game, it doesn’t look good. We’ve all seen what the PlayStation Vita could do with Uncharted: Golden Abyss, and even though not every game needs to be up to the same standard, this is far below what the platform can do.
The models look rough and animations are pretty clunky. The voice acting is pretty bad. A special mention goes to the mailman, who sounds pretty creepy, but not in a scary way.
Q8: What are similar games / alternatives you’d recommend?
Any other dungeon crawler. If you’re looking a similar game on a portable platform, your best bet is to wait for Diablo III to release on the Switch in about a month or so.
Q9: Anything you wish you knew before going in?
If you MUST embark on this journey, here are some tips that will help you out:
- Don’t play it…lol, sorry, couldn’t help it
- Don’t spend any money on accessories until at least you beat the main story. Focus instead on upgrading your back pack as soon as you can
- Pick a karma alignment and stick with it. Going back and forth will mean you won’t be able to use any alignment techniques
- Also, the game doesn’t explain this clearly, but you HAVE to collect the ashes/blood after killing enemies to improve your alignment each time
- When leveling up, it’s always a good idea to prioritize VIT
- Do try to do the missions, the rewards are worth it
- After level 12 or so, you may start dying more often, leading to a lot of backtracking: try to always go out of your way to find the Save Room first, and then go back and engage enemies
- Except for the puzzle rooms, all other encounters are optional, so be smart about picking your battles
Q10: Should I buy it?
NOPE. Only play it if you get access to it for free.
3 out of 10 electric guitars
I've been a gamer since the SNES days and Donkey Kong Country was the first game I ever owned.
I currently work as a management consultant, and my console of choice is the Nintendo Switch, which I carry with me during my travels.