This past week at Comic-Con I got a chance to check out quite a few soon-to-be-released games. To kick things off, I’d like to start with one that I've been waiting to see more on for a while; Silent Hill: Book of Memories.
Announced earlier this year, Book of Memories will be the first Silent Hill title on the PlayStation Vita. What’s crazy, is it won’t be a traditional SH title. It’s a top-down, dungeon-crawler type game that will include four-player co-op and a customizable protagonist. I know, I know, “Konami, the fuck are you thinking?” Just bare with me. The story goes, that your main character gets their hands on an odd book that contains all of their memories. With this book, they’re able to rewrite them, changing reality; and this is the basis of the adventure.
Before E3, there wasn't much known about this title. Konami was very tight-lipped; only releasing a handful of screenshots and a couple videos. On top of that, the release date has been pushed back several times. We can speculate it was due to the game not being up to par with what they wanted, a random change in direction in the middle of development or simply fear of the reaction of the community to such a drastic change in gameplay; but we honestly may never know. I believe the October 2012 date is still a placeholder.
I got to play about fifteen minutes of Book of Memories while I was in San Diego. Right from the get-go, it’s got a Diablo-esque feel. From the view to the combat, this is definitely a dungeon-crawling game. The controls were just what you’d expect from the genre. The part I got to play through - a simple one way track through a few rooms - didn't have any gimmicky Vita touch or motion controls that needed to be used; but from the look of the trailer, these are incorporated into the puzzles throughout the game.
The levels were pretty basic. The section I played was simply a corridor of rooms; walk into one, kill all the monsters to get out, walk into the next - with a switch or two thrown in here-and-there for good measure. It looked like a library of some sort [there wasn't any real story revealed in the demo]. It had a very Silent Hill ‘feel’, despite being a different genre of game. Though nothing impressive, the rooms served their purpose for setting the atmosphere you’d expect from the SH franchise.
The combat was your typical hack-and-slash with a couple of twists. The character I was playing duel-wielded pistols. Each hand was mapped to a different button [X and Triangle] and you were able to fire them in any order. Once you ran out of ammo, though, he began using them as melee weapons. Different button combinations would trigger different combos. You were able to switch between targets on the fly, though it felt like it just arbitrarily chose who to attack based, possibly, on distance. The combat felt fine; not stellar, not horrible.
For more info, check out this interview from E3:
I’m still excited about Silent Hill: Book of Memories. Yeah, I would have preferred a half-way decent attempt at an actual Silent Hill-type title that might have been good - à la Silent Hill: Origins - but this may still be good. When I think about it, I only really play my Vita when I’m out-and-about, and I doubt I’d be able to concentrate enough to play through an actual SH game. Being a standard-type dungeon-crawler in a different setting, Book of Memories may just fit in really well on the system and give me the gaming fix I need on the go, while mixed-in with some Silent Hill styling and lore. Taking something established and slapping a different coat of paint on it can work…sometime. We’ll just have to wait and see.
---Mr. Creeper ~ Co-Founder & Website Administrator