Silent Hill: Book of Memories
||This article is incomplete. (August 2013)|
|Silent Hill: Book of Memories|
|Publisher(s)||Konami Digital Entertainment|
|Artist(s)||Damon Du Bois|
|Release date(s)||NA October 16, 2012
|Genre(s)||Action, hack and slash|
|Distribution||PS Vita game card|
Silent Hill: Book of Memories is a hack and slash video game developed by WayForward Technologies and published by Konami Digital Entertainment for the PlayStation Vita. It is the first game in the Silent Hill franchise to feature role-playing elements and co-operative gameplay. Book of Memories met with mixed critical reception.
The objective of Silent Hill: Book of Memories is to guide the player character from an overhead perspective through a series of monster-filled dungeons. The player can choose from five character classes (bookworm, goth, jock, preppy, and rocker) for his or her player character, which can be customized to a degree. The player character receives experience points for defeating the various monsters; after enough experience points are obtained, the character levels up, allowing the player to improve the character's statistics ("strength, dexterity, agility, intelligence, mind, and vitality"). Each type of character prefers certain statistics; for example, a jock will have greater strength and dexerity than the other types. Items to improve the character's statistics can be equipped. Additionally, Book of Memories contains an option for online multiplayer gameplay for up to four players.
The goal of each area (called zones) is to collect the required amount of puzzle pieces to solve that area's puzzle and then proceed to the next zone. Each zone contains a save point and a shop run by a non-player character, where the character may purchase items with memory residue, the in-game currency. At the beginning of each zone, another non-player character, Valtiel, offers the player character an optional side quest. Puzzle pieces can be found in rooms with challenge orbs; breaking the orb results in the appearance of monsters, all of whom must be defeated to obtain the puzzle piece. Various traps can be present in the rooms. Certain rooms called Forsaken Rooms contain a ghost; the player's actions towards it result in a positive, negative, or neutral outcome, which, in turn, affects the ending of the game.
For combat, the player character can find a variety of melee and ranged weapons, ammunition, and items to restore lost "health. Melee weapons take damage and eventually break from being used, although items to repair the damage can be found. In the beginning, the character is limited to a carrying capacity of two weapons. Additionally, the game features an alignment system: Blood, Steel, and Light. Collecting the karma left behind by a defeated enemy shifts the character's alignment towards either the Light or Blood end of the karma meter, depending on the monster. Each alignment features different abilities, and affects the ending of the game. The creatures present in Book of Memories have appeared in previous Silent Hill games, such as Silent Hill 2's Pyramid Head and the ghosts from Silent Hill 4: The Room.
Development of Silent Hill: Book of Memories began in summer 2010; major guidelines were " 'Vita-centric Silent Hill', 'Not traditional', and 'Different every time you play.' " Game developer WayForward began work on the game in September 2010, with a proof of concept for the PC produced two months later: it used the third-person view found in the previous Silent Hill installments. A prototype was begun in mid-December, which used the game engine Infernal Engine. Originally, the game was intended to be more puzzle-based, where the camera would switch between an isometric view for the puzzles and an over-the-shoulder view for combat. WayForward decided the approach was not feasible, because assets would have to be created from two different perspectives.
Konami announced Book of Memories for the PlayStation Vita at the 2011 Electronic Entertainment Expo. Unique to Book of Memories was the option for multiplayer gameplay, as previous Silent Hill games featured single-player gameplay. The idea of including multiplayer gameplay had been mulled over for the eighth Silent Hill installment during its beginning stages of development, but ultimately rejected out of worry that it would feel out of place and added on.
Review aggregator website Metacritic displays an average score of 58/100 for Book of Memories, indicating "mixed or average reviews." Official PlayStation Magazine wrote: "Book of Memories feels odd, as though a Diablo has murdered a Silent Hill, and is traipsing about wearing its skin." Greg Miller of IGN expressed mixed feelings towards the game: "If you just want dungeons to crawl through and couldn't care less about polished menus and engaging stories, great. Everyone else, don't feel bad if you skip Silent Hill: Book of Memories." According to Giancarlo Saldana of GamesRadar, "With or without the Silent Hill name behind it, Book of Memories had the potential to be the next great Vita title, but it suffers from an identity crisis. It looks like a dungeon crawler but plays like an action RPG, yet it doesn’t provide enough variety to make you want to come back for more." Conversely, Hardcore Gamer's Steve Hannley enjoyed the game, stating: "While survival horror purists may balk at the concept, anyone a fan of top-down action/RPGs, deep gameplay and a interesting story will find not only the most addicting multiplayer Vita game to date, but the best Silent Hill in recent memory."
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