Silent Hill: Book of Memories Review

By Alex Rubens - Posted Nov 08, 2012

One of the biggest issues with Silent Hill: Book of Memories is that it expects so much from players, maybe even a bit more than it has any right to.

The Pros
  • Solid dungeon crawling combat
  • Large variety of layouts and areas to explore
  • Weapon degradation keeps things from becoming too easy
The Cons
  • The story makes no sense at all.
  • It doesn't really have any connection to the Silent Hill franchise.
  • It's extremely basic and repetitive.

Silent Hill: Book of Memories Review:

First things first, if you’re looking for a traditional Silent Hill game, then keep on looking. Book of Memories isn’t anything like past games in the series. It’s a dungeon crawler and isn’t doesn’t even have any real scares throughout the entire game. You might come across a few two-headed dogs, but you’ll end up worrying about your weapon selection more than anything else.

 

 

A Weird Birthday Present

Silent Hill: Book of Memories is a dungeon crawler at its core, and there isn’t much beyond that. The only thing that really screams Silent Hill are the endless supply of evil nurses and the weird storyline. You create a character at the beginning of the game, so the story takes a bit from what you create to work things around, but the main premise stays the same throughout.

On your birthday, a delivery man shows up with an unexpected package. Inside you find a book that contains all of your memories, including ones that have never been shared. Your character decides to rewrite one of the memories by altering it in the book. When they awake, they’re in some mysterious place. This is where things begin to blend together.

From here on, you move from room to room, clearing out enemies and looking for something to explain this weird series of events. You’ll find notes along the way that attempt to explain what is going on, but they fall flat. All they really tell you is that you need to find a certain number of puzzle pieces or complete some secondary objective to exit the dungeon. The whole presentation is lacking and comes off a bit silly.

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Someone pulled the tragedy lever

Each set of levels is presented as the story of a different person suffering from a personal tragedy. As you work your way through the rooms, you’ll find notes explaining their situation, but it doesn’t seem to be a main priority, which is really weird for a Silent Hill title. As you clear these stories, you wake up to find that your memory was successfully altered. Unfortunately, the story falls flat and doesn’t offer much beyond the notes and audio broadcasts.

Combat is fairly simple and works well, though there isn’t much depth to it even in the later stages. As you work your way through the dungeons, there’s plenty of weapons laying around (almost an unsettling amount), so you’ll have a pretty fair choice at how you want to take out a variety of enemies. With the smaller weapons, like knives and handguns, you can dual wield them, while only one of the larger weapons can be held at a time. I found the larger weapons to be worth more time than the smaller ones, as you can concentrate attacks and deal heavier damage with each blow.

Silent Hill: Book of Memories

Your weapons be breakin’

However, there is weapon degradation, so you’ll need to keep an eye on that, especially if you’re only using the same weapon again and again. This is when dual wielding can come in handy, as you’re able to split the damage between two weapons and possibly hold on to them for much longer.

There’s a good variety of enemies that you’ll encounter throughout the game, but in some areas you’ll run into the same enemy multiple times, especially the two-headed dog and evil nurses. In later areas, you’ll come across enemies that blow up when they’re defeated. It adds a whole new level of complexity to things, one that the gameplay can’t really afford.

Silent Hill: Book of Memories

Loading..Loading..Seriously, Still Loading

That’s one of the biggest issues with Silent Hill: Book of Memories though, it expects so much from players, maybe even a bit more than it has any right to. The difficulty cranks up exponentially at a certain point. While deaths are expected in this type of game, the loading times are excruciating, even when running on a digital copy. It kills the vibe pretty quickly when you have to wait 40 seconds to reload a section. There’s save points scattered throughout the maps though, so thankfully there usually isn’t that much progress lost from a death.

There’s a pretty deep leveling system in Silent Hill: Book of Memories, but it’s hidden behind menus. It makes it extremely hard to care about something like that when you have to go searching for it every time you want to look something up. It misses out on the satisfaction of seeing that on screen during the action, like most dungeon crawlers do so well.

Silent Hill: Book of Memories

Did it need to be Silent Hill?

Silent Hill: Book of Memories isn’t your typical Silent Hill game. In fact, they could have called it something else entirely and no one would have noticed the difference, but it is a competent dungeon brawler. There isn’t much in way of story or expandability, but it gets basic, punishingly repetitive combat down just right, and that makes it worth a purchase if you’re looking for something to fill the time.