Silent Hill: Book of Memories
|Silent Hill: Book of Memories|
|Publisher(s)||Konami Digital Entertainment|
|Artist(s)||Damon Du Bois|
|Genre(s)||Action, hack and slash|
Silent Hill: Book of Memories (サイレントヒル ブック オブ メモリーズ? Sairento Hiru Bukku obu Memorīzu) is an action hack and slash video game developed by WayForward Technologies for the PlayStation Vita. A spin-off of the Silent Hill video game series, it is the first game in the series to feature role-playing elements and an option for co-operative gameplay. It was published by Konami worldwide, beginning in mid-October 2012 with North America.
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 dexterity than the other types. Items to improve the character's statistics can be equipped.
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.
The main character finds a mysterious book waiting for them on their birthday, known as the Book of Memories; it is revealed that the main character's entire life is written within its pages, and that if they change the text within the book, the outcome of their life changes accordingly. The main character uses the power of the book to attempt to change their life for the better, with unforeseen and often unfavorable consequences, while occasionally sliding into distinct Otherworlds in accordance with major characters affected by the Book's powers.
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. Silent Hill: Book of Memories was published on October 16, 2012, in North America, on November 2, 2012, in Europe, and on November 8, 2012, in Australia.
Review aggregator website Metacritic displays a weighted 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." 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 an interesting story will find not only the most addicting multiplayer Vita game to date, but the best Silent Hill in recent memory."
The plot received a range of reactions. Giancarlo Saldana of GamesRadar enjoyed the story, writing: "The game itself isn’t scary, but what your character is ultimately doing--changing his past at the cost of others--is quite twisted." Eurogamer's Simon Parkin described the story as "light" and not intruding on the gameplay; he felt that the "conceit of working through the metaphysical rooms of a troubled mind" worked with themes of the series and the dungeon-crawler genre. IGN, in contrast, wrote that the plot was nonsensical and badly executed.
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