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

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

    Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

    £65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

    Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

    £40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...


    £400 - £401 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SSIS Administrat...

    Technical Systems Analyst

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

    Day In a Page

    Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

    The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

    What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
    Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

    Finding the names for America’s shame

    The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
    Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

    Inside a church for Born Again Christians

    As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
    Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

    Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
    Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

    Incredible survival story of David Tovey

    Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
    Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

    Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

    The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

    Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

    Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
    German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

    Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

    Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
    BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

    BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

    The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
    Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

    Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

    Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
    How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

    Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

    Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
    Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

    Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

    Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
    10 best reed diffusers

    Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

    Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

    Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

    There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
    Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

    Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

    It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little