E3 2012 Preview: Silent Hill: Book of Memories

June 7, 2012

Of all the survival horror series, there probably isn’t one that is as controversial as Silent Hill. While most gamers can agree that the first three titles are amongst the greatest games ever made, subsequent entries have divided fans. Judging by the comments (or if you prefer a less neutral term, backlash) on the internet, the Sony PlayStation Vita title Silent Hill: Book of Memories, is definitely one of them. We managed to get our hands on it at E3 and so far, it looks like the game will have to get a lot better to be a worthy addition to the Silent Hill stable.

The biggest shock about Book of Memories for most fans is that it is an isometric dungeon crawler. If you’ve ever played one, you’ll know what to expect – your character runs around the room, fighting off enemies with classic Silent Hill weapons such as the knife, pipe and handgun, while looting objects throughout the stage for medical packs and keys to unlock doors with. We saw quite a few familiar faces (the ones that do have faces, that is), including the sexy Bubblehead Nurses from Silent Hill 2 and the Split-Head Dogs from Silent Hill 3. The stage we played also seemed to be a shout-out, this time to the fiery Otherworld as seen in the Silent Hill movie.

As you would expect from a title in this twisted mythos, there are certain rooms with spooky scenes that add narrative to the game, changing the camera to a third-person perspective in the process. One example that we encounter was of a girl crying in her bedroom. Walking over to her caused her to disappear and we gave chase, finding her in various locations in the room. Later on we met Howard the Mailman (of Downpour fame), who explained that such rooms will have different outcomes depending on your actions, which raises the possibility of invoked memories or even alternate endings. It also seems to be implied through the game that the titular Book of Memories can be rewritten to change your character’s past.

Needless to say, Book of Memories looks like a huge leap from what gamers are used to when the hear the name Silent Hill. So far, the game looks to be a standard dungeon crawler with a Silent Hill skin, and seems to be all about packing in fanservice rather than actual actual scares. Don’t be surprised if Pyramid Head makes an appearance. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see what the final product will be like, especially in regards to different memories for your character. It just needs to get more compelling too.