The Silent Hill franchise has had a bit of a rough ride as of late. With the less than stellar Downpour and the abomination that was the Silent Hill HD Collection, fans and the franchise alike have taken a beating. Silent Hill: Book of Memories
didn't seem to be garnering the most positive of attention either. An action RPG in a franchise that has typically being a cerebral experience about the darkest places of the human mind? I counted myself among the initially skeptical, but after playing Book of Memories, I can honestly say that this was an interesting and fun take on the Silent Hill franchise.
From a gameplay standpoint, developer Wayforward has taken a huge risk in turning the game in to an action-RPG, similar to games like Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance and Champions of Norrath, and focusing more on the multi-player aspect, allowing up to four players to join in to a game. Players create a character that comes in to possession of the Book of Memories, that allows them to rewrite their past, and are consequently drawn in to the world of Silent Hill. The E3 demo was very light on story but offered a large area to explore, filled with nurses and dogs that players have come to expected in the Silent Hill universe.
Players survive by using whatever weapons they come across, be they knives, pipes, or guns. Some of the screenshots below also show some rather massive weapons that look like they belong to the likes of Pyramid Head. Some weapons that require ammo are reloaded with a simple touch of an icon on the Vita's screen, players can also repair weapons, and restore their health in a similar fashion. Combat was a simple affair, with a lock-on system and attack buttons mapped to weak and strong attacks, while guns felt like a power-up, allowing me to take out enemies from afar and with just a few quick shots.
Navigating the map from the isometric perspective was quite simple, though the map in the demo was ridiculously dark, making it difficult to tell where drawers and chests were that held critical keys and puzzle items. A simple puzzle blocked my way near the end of the demo, asking me to arrange ankhs in a specific order.
It was probably a good thing that Konami decided to hold off on releasing Silent Hill: Book of Memories. The extra time will give Wayforward a chance to really polish this game up. As it stands right now, Book of Memories is an interesting take on the Silent Hill franchise, and I'm looking forward to when it comes out in the fall.