Silent Hill: Book of Memories – Review

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Memoirs hardly worth remembering.

Mainstream survival horror has been in a slump for most of this console generation. There have been some gems amongst the quagmire, bright spots like Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, but the output of the two big hitters of the genre – Resident Evil and Silent Hill – has been average at best. And so we’re left with experimentations that don’t quite work, Resident Evil 6 courting the action crowd, and now Silent Hill going after the dungeon crawler brigade with Book of Memories.

The game abandons the eerie unease that permeates the best entries in the series within a matter of minutes, throwing you into a cavalcade of dungeons that could have been ripped from the pages of any embarrassing horror novel. There’s dripping blood, gothic symbols and burnt cabins full of industrial boilers and hidden spikes traps that burst out of the floor with no warning.

You play a student, built at the start of the game from one of four archetypes – goth, rocker, bookworm, or jock. After receiving the titular book from a moon eyed postman, you realise that writing in it lets you change the past, the present, and maybe even the future. Each new scribble leads you into a hellish random dungeon to face your fears and mash buttons until your fingers are sore.

The denizens of these dungeons aren’t friendly, and you’ll need to pick up weapons to fight them off. These range from planks of wood to shotguns, lengths of pipe to giant swords imbued with mystical spells. You can dual wield smaller weapons, controlling different hands with different buttons.

Every weapon in the game degrades though, losing power until it’s smashed apart and you need to use your bare hands to battle the twisted nurses, blobs of flesh and giant cleaver hurling butchers that you encounter on your travels. You can fix your equipped weapons with repair kits, but these become rarer the further into the game you go.

A shop, staffed by the odd postman who brought you the book in the first place, can always be found somewhere in the level, letting you top up your health packs, buy new weapons, or stock up on stat boosting amulets and other trinkets.

Book of Memories is best described as a slog. The combat is sluggish and unintuitive, the backdrops to your battles repetitive, and the creatures you have to smash into gory chunks uninspired. There’s plenty of backtracking through empty rooms, and the karma metre that lets you unleash powerful moves after creating enough devastation feels like a shallow afterthought.

The game is loathe to explain some of its finer details to you as well, and while a co-operative mode adds a little more fun to proceedings – battling ghoulish beasts with a friend is always more fun – it does little to answer the problems of the single player mode.

There are nods here and there to the rest of the Silent Hill canon, and there’s a perverse enjoyment to be found in pushing your way through the narrative to try and find out what happens in the end, but ultimately this is a game that you won’t want to remember.

By Harry Slater

Score: 2/5

Format: PS Vita
Price: £29.99
Developer: WayForward Technologies
Publisher: Konami

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Client IT Account Manager

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client IT Account Manager is ...

    Recruitment Genius: Windows Server Engineer - Compute Engineer

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Compute Engineer role also ...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £13676.46 - £15864.28 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Re...

    Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line IT Support / Senior Engineer / Support Analyst

    £24000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor