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Silent Hill

Silent Hills photo
Silent Hills

Do you love P.T. enough to pay £1000 for it?

Because, really, that's what someone's selling it for
Apr 29
// Vikki Blake
As many/some/none of you may know, I'm survival horror survivalist. I'm a rubbish one - I scream and shout and lose my shizzle when anything remotely spider-like comes on the screen - but I'm a huge fan of horror games. And o...
Shout out to P.T. photo
Shout out to P.T.

P.T. scared me more than any other videogame

Don't look upstairs
Apr 28
// Jordan Devore
There was a moment in P.T. that terrified me. I mean truly terrified me. Between the endlessly looping hallway and the haunting cries of a disfigured fetus in a sink, I knew strange things were afoot. It's a disorienting game...
P.T. photo

PSA: This is your last day to download P.T., the playable teaser for Silent Hills

For free
Apr 28
// Chris Carter
P.T. was one of the most entertaining games I played in 2014. Even though it was just a demo, the "playable teaser" for Silent Hills was a perfect horror experience, nailing a lot of elements that current horror games complet...
Forgotten Memories Stream photo
Forgotten Memories Stream

Can a game on mobile fill the gap left in our hearts by Silent Hills?

Let's find out together!
Apr 27
// Jed Whitaker
Forgotten Memories recently released for iOS devices, and looks genuinely creepy. The game clearly takes a lot of influence from the Silent Hill series, going as far as including voice actors from Silent Hill 2, but can a gam...
Silent Hills, loud tears photo
Silent Hills, loud tears

I can't stop crying about the cancellation of Silent Hills

RIP sweet prince
Apr 27
// Jed Whitaker
I often film myself at random times during the day just in case anything cool happens -- like a funny joke or catching a ghost on film. Yesterday, I found out live on camera that Silent Hills was cancelled, and boy has it hi...
Silent Hills photo
Silent Hills

Konami talks Silent Hills and it's not good news

Looks like the game we were pitched has had its throat slit
Apr 27
// Laura Kate Dale
[Update: It looks like the game has been outright canceled, but there's this tidbit -- "In terms of Kojima and Del Toro being involved, discussions on future Silent Hill projects are currently underway, and please stay tuned ...
P.T. story photo
P.T. story

P.T.'s puzzling story explained in depth

That freaking fridge
Apr 07
// Jordan Devore
The timing on this video could not be better. As a new PlayStation 4 owner, one of the first games I knew I had to download was P.T., a playable teaser lead-in to Silent Hills. It's a weird game -- "experimental," if you lik...
Forgotten Memories photo
Forgotten Memories

Forgotten Memories iOS debut on April 23, watch the launch trailer now!

Wii U, Vita, Android, and PC will have to wait an ickle bit longer
Mar 30
// Stephen Turner
As you may recall, Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities came out of near-nowhere with its Silent Hill 2 cast additions, after several years off the development grid. If you're still wondering what Guy Cihi's delightf...

Tomm Hulett's unified Mario Timeline Theory

Mar 04 // Jonathan Holmes
If you're not in a position to look at this truly luxurious and expansive image at the moment, here are a few words from Tomm about the timeline: "This chronology begins with the Magikoopa Kamek attacking a stork carrying the Mario Brothers, causing the events of Yoshi's Island. It splits immediately, with one timeline depicting the events that follow Yoshi's rescue of Baby Luigi, and the other charting his failure. "Similar branches follow each Yoshi title to create three separate realities based on Mario's parents: Blue Collar Hero, Action Hero, and Storied Hero -- the latter of which creates two new sub-realities surrounding the babies in Partners in Time being left in the adult world: the Babies Era, where Wario and Waluigi replace the heroes, and the Adult Era, where the babies grow up to live lives of their own. Additionally, the timeline branches after Donkey Kong and any game that involves dreaming. Finally, the Action and Storied Hero timelines merge via the resolution of Mario Galaxy, leading directly to Super Mario 3D World." Brilliant stuff, Tomm. I wonder what Miyamoto and company would think of it?
Mario Timeline photo
The mighty multi-Marioverse explained
Game director Tomm Hulett has been working in the industry since he was a kid, starting with a job testing NES games. Since then he's worked on everything from Persona, Contra, Silent Hill, and Adventure T...

Silent Hill: Alchemilla photo
Silent Hill: Alchemilla

Fan-made Silent Hill game looks like a disturbing delight

Who could ever get tired of spooky hospitals?
Jan 19
// Nic Rowen
If you're looking for something spooky to hold you over between P.T and the full release of Silent Hills, you may be interested in this new, free, fan-made Source mod, Silent Hill: Alchemilla. For a fan effort, Alchemilla lo...
Promoted Blog photo
Promoted Blog

Fangs for the Memories: Silent Hill 3

Promoted from our Community Blogs!
Oct 26
// RainsOpacity
[Dtoid community blogger RainsOpacity talks about how for a horror game fan who has seen it all, sometimes the Devil in the details is the most memorable scare there is.  Want to see your own stuff appear on the fro...

Is classic Survival Horror considered old fashioned now?

Oct 15 // Dale North
[embed]282542:55979:0[/embed] Survival horror games aren't that old. I did enjoy several of the early graphical adventures that had scary themes. Clicking around haunted houses wasn't nearly as interactive as, say, Resident Evil, but the chance for creepiness was still there and that was worthy of a play for this thrill seeker. Alone in the Dark still holds up, I'd say. Back in the PlayStation/Saturn era, the genre was still shaping up. Resident Evil got us rolling, Silent Hill started a sick craving, and games like Clock Tower and D served as a sort of bridge between games that gave us the creeps and ones that would actually make us jump out of our seats. The scares were there, but some of the stronger hooks that were soon to draw so many fans in were still budding. When we really got going, back in the early 2000s, you could find legitimate scares in games. I look back at those times fondly. Between the prior console generation's titles I missed and the new ones coming out, I had a steady IV drip of freaky experiences to work through. I played them all, too. The big ones like Clock Tower and Resident Evil weren't any more important to me than the less popular ones, like Dreamcast games Carrier and the not-so-hot Blue Stinger. Remember Haunting Ground? Rule of Rose? Both the Fatal Frame and Silent Hill franchises had my heart. And, oh man, Siren.  [embed]282542:55980:0[/embed] Recent talk about how survival horror is dying and giving way to scary action games scares me. Yes, tastes change, gamers change, and sales results speak. But I'd love to believe that there's a number of fans out there that still crave checking fifty doors to eventually find that one that has gruel-covered, multi-limbed baddies behind it. I'd love to believe that there is a group of fans that think that we need to get back to basics. That being helplessly lost in the fog is a million times better than shooting aliens with an overgrown nail gun.  I blame Resident Evil 4. But before you come after me with your "muerte" chants and sharp implements, know that I love this game as much as you do. I don't need to tell you how well it balanced the scares and combat equally, or how it launched a thousand memes. Hell of a game. But the problem was that it sold so well that Capcom began chasing sales numbers over scares. And then, like a flashlight flipped on in the dark, all the other game-making ghouls came out for a juicy hunk of their own. The genre hasn't been the same since. I'm not out to write the same piece Jim Sterling shared some years back as he did a fine job then. But has the situation continued to decline since then? Fatal Frame—the first game—hasn't aged well, I've just found. Neither have its early sequels, actually. Not on a technical level. Not to this games professional that has spent most of the last year with his face in shiny, polished, high-definition games. But nostalgia goes a long way, as do dark, gritty textures. The low-res murk of the earlier survival games are my puffy Nintendo clouds and dancing trees. Good feels. Great memories.  So I've been screaming at night this past week during my replaying of these games, waiting for The Evil Within to come out. I'm usually playing late at night when everything is quiet and dark. It doesn't matter that these games are old and haven't aged well or that I've played them many times before. I'm still quietly giggling at myself when I get wrapped up in exploring the too-dark hallways or when the echo-y sound effects catch me off guard. I've wondered on several occasions this past week if I'm going to enjoy The Evil Within as much as I'm enjoying replaying these old PS2 games.  You can blame the market, or lazy developers, or disconnected management, but we've also changed. It feels like gamers are less open to being freaked out these days. I guess it's hard to ask players to come off their super powers, air strikes, and unlimited ammo and start playing something where your only defense is a camera. Or running away. I felt like the only person who liked Silent Hill: Shattered Memories back in 2009. While I was singing its praises, others were downplaying it for having no combat, or worse, for being on the Wii. Who cares?! I have fond memories of sweating, running (virtually) scared for my life. For me, that makes for an outstanding survival horror. I feel like a few bad eggs have people writing off modern-day horror games. Not-scary games, or scary-for-the-wrong-reasons re-releases. Resident Evil 5 was one of the biggest disappointments of the genre for me. Fun game? I guess. But not even close to scary. Nothing's scary about a co-op buddyfest. And that probably bummed out a lot of fellow survival horror fans off expecting another Resident Evil 4. But this doesn't make Silent Hill: Homecoming a bad game, does it? Amnesia: The Dark Descent is still brilliant, right?  It's a mindset thing, too. That inverted movement system from the older top-down games would be called broken or at least cumbersome by today's gamer. For me, the challenging movement added to the tension. And it's the same for the slushy and slow combat systems of some of the PS2 survival horror games. Some may have hated it. I thought that it made perfect sense that these grotesque horrors from the underworld would be that difficult to take down. That low-res grit? That's an asset, not a tech problem!  I sometimes worry that our reviews and feedback from those old games we loved served as nails in the classic survival horror games coffin. Aside from the change in focus or mechanics, maybe it's just  that current-day horror games are less scary. There are lots of reasons why, too. Remember how every room in Fatal Frame 2 had its own camera angle? What you couldn't see made you just as nervous as any monster would. It just felt lovingly crafted. Regardless of how you felt about Silent Hill 4: The Room, you had to at least give it that they went above and beyond in making it feel really fucked up. Even now, this many years later, that game had some of the most disturbing imagery I've seen in a game.  [embed]282542:55981:0[/embed] There was a nice bunch of independent horror games that hit recently that give this old-fashioned gamer hope. Outlast and Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs filled voids that those action-y games didn't. Even Slender did something for me. This year hasn't been the worst. If Alien: Isolation doesn't make you feel like you're going to piss yourself, I don't know what will. The jury is mixed on brand new Mikami release The Evil Within (review coming soon!), but it's something, right? But I'm holding out for something a lot like the survival horror classics. The next Silent Hill 2, if you will. Something with the spirit of Fatal Frame 2. Something that's not scared to go weaponless/powerless. Maybe we can revisit Japanese horror a bit more. How about way less action and way more fucked-up storylines about horrible orphanages. Try an openness to there being gamers out there who loved walking down a seemingly endless staircase for five minutes. Have some faith, game makers. Ditch the guns and the HUDs. Get with the wiggly mannequins.  [embed]282542:55978:0[/embed] Don't let me down, P.T. I got more out of that "interactive trailer" than I have with any other full horror game as of late. Until then, I'll go on with the late night replays of all of my favorites, continuing to milk them for all their scares until another good fix comes along. It's less about being stuck in the past and more about just needing more of what I love so much. Scare me, someone. Please.
Is Survival Horror dead? photo
Not scary anymore
I like to be scared. I'm not some kind of dark-obsessed weirdo, though. I just really enjoy the feeling of being tense or terrified, so much so that I used to think that there was something wrong with me. Maybe there is. A fe...

P.T. photo

Is P.T. a work of art, or a pixel-hunting exercise in frustration?

I side partially on the former
Aug 25
// Chris Carter
When P.T. was announced at gamescom a few weeks back, no one really jumped for joy. Billed as a "playable teaser," the interactive trailer was very much a game, and come to find out -- it had many elements of old school ...

Is Silent Hills about aliens? Swedish radio segment references War of the Worlds

If so, yikes
Aug 21
// Dale North
I love the Silent Hill franchise, and am glad that it's in new hands now. And it may be going in a new direction. If the translation of a Swedish radio broadcast tucked deep with in the P.T. interactive trailer means anythin...

These Japanese ladies playing P.T. are the best

That face
Aug 15
// Dale North
Check out these Japanese ladies playing the P.T. "interactive trailer" that was released this week at gamescom. I think they're all hilarious but I love the face the one lady makes at 0:46. She's like, oh sh*t. Then, oh SH*T. And then there's the one lady later on that gives no f*cks at all. She's also great.

PSP versions of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and Origins coming to PSN?

At least in Europe
Apr 17
// Dale North
[Update: Err...gross price alert. Look at this: They want $29.99 apiece for these two!] Konami said that a re-release of the PSP versions of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and Silent Hill: Origins will come to the PlayS...

These Silent Hill nurses sure are great dancers

And yes it's pretty freaky
Nov 08
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Silent Hill nurses? Pretty freaky. Silent Hill nurses performing a well choreographed dance number that's also a burlesque number? Awesome, yet still pretty freaky. (Via Topless Robot)

WayForward shows off their Silent Hill DS game concept

I want these
Oct 11
// Dale North
Jump to about the 5:30 mark in this WayForwardTV stream capture to hear about Wayforward's ne'er released Silent Hill game.  WayForward says that this work pre-dates Contra 4, from 2006 They put it together because...

Lots of new Silent Hill soundtracks are available now

Origins, Homecoming, Shattered Memories, and more
Oct 04
// Dale North
Sumthing Else Music Works has just released a whole bunch of Silent Hill series soundtracks, just in time for Halloween. We're talking soundtracks from the more recent series games, including Origins, Homecoming, Downpour, Sh...

Movie Defense Force: Silent Hill

I'm burning
Aug 16
// Jim Sterling
My movie review show, Movie Defense Force, has another videogame-based film on the block this week, so I am sharing it here for your delicious viewing. I'm talking about the 2006 Silent Hill movie -- maligned by all when it first came out, but probably one of the better adaptations out there.  Of course, defending the sequel would be way more challenging ... and I plan on doing that, too!

Rhymedown Spectacular: House on the Hill

The brains behind Jimquisition and Zero Punctuation get lyrical
Aug 01
// Jim Sterling
It's time for your best friends, Yahtzee and Jim, to talk about things with rhyming and stuff. This week, Yahtzee buys a new house that's not all it's cracked up to be, while yours truly hides out in Hyrule and does some things.  Oh, what delightful fun!
Dr. Seuss photo
Dr. Seuss

These Dr. Seuss game-to-book parodies are delightful

Would you kindly in a box? Would you kindly with a fox?
Apr 06
// Tony Ponce
Watch out, Ashley Davis! You are not the only one capable of turning violent videogames into adorable children's entertainment! Aussie artist DrFaustusAU has a talent for emulating the distinctive style of Dr. Seuss book cove...

Silent Hill: Book of Memories DLC and patch hits today

Here's what you can get in WayForward's horror dungeon crawler
Mar 19
// Jim Sterling
Silent Hill: Book of Memories is today getting a patch, making substantial improvements to the way the game plays. Based on player feedback, WayForward is hoping to make its PS Vita dungeon crawler a "kinder" experience by re...

Co-op and horror don't work together in Dead Space 3

Feb 18 // Taylor Stein
With the admittance of co-op functionality within the horror genre, it begs the question, is it possible to produce an authentic fear-driven experience while playing a game with two players? How scary can a dark room, narrow hallway, or eerie mansion be when you've got a geared-up teammate watching your back? Many of the recent horror titles such as Resident Evil 6, Aliens: Colonial Marines, and Dead Space 3 have embraced the action-driven narrative, but adding co-op might just tip the scale in determining whether we're left with a true horror game or just another third-person-shooter. Let's take a trip down memory lane to explore how the videogames of old, the grandmasters of horror, were able to convey terror in the simplest of ways.The titles that put the horror genre on the map, Resident Evil and Silent Hill just to name a few, carved a unique space within the videogame gamut. Without the use of high-def visuals or stellar controls, the early horror installments were able to successfully embody the atmosphere of trepidation. Fear was derived from the fact that the odds were not often in your favor. Fighting a deformed nightmare monster with a baseball bat almost always ended in getting your ass kicked. Run out of bullets? Kiss your sweet life goodbye.Survival was the overarching sentiment, not guns-a-blazing battle. With a combination of fixed camera angles, few health packs, invulnerable enemies and ineffective weaponry, terror tactics of the past were brought to fruition by making the player as vulnerable as possible. It wasn't about how many necromorphs or zombies you could kill, rather, how you could get from point A to point B without running into a giant monster that would instantly reduce you to a bloody pile of mush. Nowadays, it seems like people just like to shoot stuff. Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski shared similar concerns about the fate of the horror genre in his blog. Within the current gaming market, Bleszinski predicts that horror games will be unable to flourish; instead, he points to indie and PC titles as the next step for the genre. He states, "When we’re fully digital we’ll see more true horror games coming back. Look at Amnesia and Slenderman on PC."Action is one potential strike against the effectiveness of in-game apprehension, strike two and possibly the icing on the cake, is co-op. Gun battles and explosions are welcomed inclusions to any shooter, but it's arguably difficult to maintain the same level of nail-biting suspense or edge-of-your-seat anxiety when you're equipped with weapons galore and a buddy who is ready to lay any ferocious creatures to waste. Dead Space 3 is the most recent title to deviate from its single-player, nightmare entrenched roots. With a friend, players are able to explore the frozen wasteland of Tau Volantis and the decrepit remnants of derelict space vessels together. While two heads are definitely better than one, two guns make all the difference. Taking on a horde of necromorphs with an added set of autonomous weaponry highlights each room as a tactician's dream. Quelling waves of resistance is as easy as positioning your character relative to your squad mate to cover all avenues of attack. If an enemy unsuspectingly emerges from an overhead air duct, my partner has my back. While tag team monster annihilation is amazingly entertaining, the last thing I would describe the experience as, is frightful.The shift within the genre from perseverance to action, from defense to offense, was one that reflected the popularization of shooters within the gaming landscape. Horror developers are forced to adapt, and what we are left with, is an attempt to maintain the same level of suspense captured during the golden age of scary gaming, while providing room for the mechanics that represent the current trends within the mainstream industry. The reality is, the vision of crafting an insanely scary experience is often lost when combined with multiplayer features, over-the-top action, and shooting elements. The good news is, Dead Space 3 allows players to complete the campaign alone OR with a friend, so thrill-seekers have the option of pursuing the story in the scariest way possible. Unfortunately, minus a few jumps here and there, I haven't found the two-player gameplay to be the least bit intimidating on a horror level. The co-op functionality enhances the playability of the game by welcoming a shared experience between two players, yet it adds nothing to make the title more suspenseful or daring besides adding a bit of character back story via co-op side missions.  This is not a discussion about whether Dead Space 3 is a good or bad game, even though I quite enjoyed it personally. It's not a debate about which genre is better, action or horror. This article serves to ask a simple question, does combining action with the comforting appeal of 2-player support create an authentic horror experience?What is your impression of the complicated relationship between co-op and horror? If you played Dead Space 3 with a friend, did you find the game to be as nerve-wracking as the previous installments? Sound off in the comments below.
When co-op meets horror photo
Action plus co-op is fun, but scary? I'm not so sure
The room is dark, cold, and unusually calm. The once bare walkways are now riddled with blood and severed limbs. In the distance, a faint hum can be heard echoing throughout the metal encampment. Its repetition is a solid rem...

Like a Motley Crue video, except awesome
There was a time when my highest aspiration in life was to draw my own 2D fighting game. As I got older, I discovered that without the utmost talent, patience, and dedication, it was never going to happen (which is why it ha...


Sup Holmes is horrorified with WayForward's Adam Tierney

Director of Aliens and Silent Hill answers questions live
Nov 18
// Jonathan Holmes
[Destructoid's Director of Communications Hamza Aziz asked Jonathan Holmes to make a show called 'Sup, Holmes?' so that Destructoid could later sell a t-shirt that says 'Sup, Holmes?' on it. This is that show. Subscribe...

Jimquisition: Scare Tactics

Jimquisition happens every Monday!
Oct 29
// Jim Sterling
Dr. Jonathan Crane accepts an invite to give the Jimquisition a lesson in fear. It's the Halloween special, and while your ol' pal Sterling confronts his greatest nightmares, a long-hated horror trope is discussed, defended,...

Flixist reviewed Silent Hill: Revelations 3D!

Go see what our movie-watching cousins think
Oct 26
// Jim Sterling
Matthew Razak was scheduled to promote the review for Silent Hill: Revelations 3D over on Flixist, but apparently his stupid office has Destructoid blocked. Can't think why! In any case, it falls to me to do the cross-pollina...

Review: Silent Hill: Book of Memories

Oct 24 // Jim Sterling
Silent Hill: Book of Memories (PlayStation Vita)Developer: WayForwardPublisher: KonamiRelease: October 16, 2012MSRP: $39.99 Silent Hill: Book of Memories is not a traditional survival horror experience, that much is quite evident. However, the bold move toward crafting a full-on hack n' slash role-playing game set in the Silent Hill universe is not only intriguing, it's got serious potential, something this title demonstrates time and time again. The potential for the concept is broad indeed. The execution, however, is not quite what it needs to be.  The premise sees your personally created character come into possession of a mysterious book by way of series harbinger Howard the Mailman. It turns out that the book is capable of pulling its user into nightmarish dreams that have the power to alter reality depending on the actions taken within them. Thus it is that players venture forth into a realm of creepy corridors and themed rooms populated by classic creatures from the main series.  [embed]237331:45546[/embed] As fan-service, Book of Memories is a well-researched and loving tribute to the series. Familiar monsters are presented rather beautifully, with unnervingly weird new sound effects. A range of weapons are culled from the entire breadth of the franchise, with steel pipes and knives joined by such macabre arms as the Great Knife, Laser Gun, and Sword of Obedience. The sinister Valtiel from Silent Hill 3 acts as quest-giver, providing a special challenge at the beginning of each level with the promise of a unique item. Even the stat-boosting relics that can be found and equipped make reference to the myriad eccentric items used in puzzles during past escapades.  Taking the form of an isometric RPG in the same vein as Diablo or Torchlight, each zone of Book of Memories plays out the same. Rooms of various size and shape are connected by maze-like corridors, and each one contains monsters, treasures, or other curiosities. One room is used as a save point, and another is Howard's store, where new items and weapons can be acquired. Some are Karma rooms, which contain vague "puzzles" to be dealt with in one of three ways. Between four and six of the rooms will contain challenge orbs that must be broken to spawn waves of enemies which, when defeated under specific conditions, will yield a puzzle piece. To clear a zone, the set number of puzzle pieces must be found and a simple size/color matching puzzle needs to be solved at the exit. It is a simple concept, and one that works pretty well at first. Combat is a fuss-free button mashing affair, with players swinging objects or firing weapons at the nearest targets. Blocking and dodging can be performed with a simple button and stick press, though the animations for doing so are slow and often fail to activate before the swift enemies can get their shots in. In fact, it's close to impossible to attack anything up close without taking damage, a problem that only becomes apparent later, when health kits become harder to find. For the most part though, there's a ton of weapon variety and the basic combat remains quite fulfilling. One grievance is that weapon durability means your favorite gear will break forever after too much use, unless fixed with a wrench. This is not a bad idea at all, but the limited carrying capacity for wrenches, coupled with the fact that every single weapon is flimsy and becomes heavily damaged after almost any single combat encounter, feels a little too much. Either more wrenches or greater durability would have been fine, but having neither makes fighting more ponderous than it ought to be.  One thing Book of Memories does that works really well is the use of a Karma system. Enemies come in several different types, the two most common being "Blood" and "Light." As Blood and Light enemies are defeated, they add to the player's Karma meter, strengthening their attack power against monsters of that type. For instance, the more you attack Blood enemies, the greater your Karma meter swings toward the Light side, making you stronger. Eventually, players gain access to the Karma Flip power move, which turns all Blood monsters in a room into Light monsters, and vice versa. By controlling the alignment of monsters, players can keep themselves dominant, and unlock special Karma abilities that are utilized using the rear touchpad to rain damage on enemies -- Blood Karma uses devastatingly damaging spells, while Light can sap small amounts of health to heal the player. The Karma system is, by and large, a fantastic way of making the game more tactical, and it's implemented incredibly well.  Book of Memories is stuffed with fine ideas and it's hard not to keep coming back to. However, as you may have already guessed, the title suffers from a huge amount of tiny, needling little annoyances that amount to an overall frustrating experience. In essence, Book of Memories is a nasty little game, designed to abuse the player, and not in the fun, Dark Souls kind of way. More in the ambushing, cheap, exhausting way.  For a start, the level design is grotesque. Corridors connecting rooms usually go one way, and often amount to intricate map layouts with no shortcuts and only one save room per level. A save room that is randomly generated, found by chance, and can only be accessed along one linear path. What's more, these levels can get huge, taking up to thirty minutes to beat, and if you die without finding the save room, you lose all progress. Keeping the game regularly saved therefore requires immense amounts of backtracking (once you find the room), as does taking divergent paths once one fork in the road has been fully explored. A lot of player time is wasted, which is one thing a portable title really ought not do. Regular saves become crucial as the game expands, because it goes from challenging to simply spiteful a few hours in. Eventually you find monsters that explode for huge health-drains when defeated, numerous invisible traps that, should you not be using a character with a high "Mind" statistic, will detonate to stab you or slow you down. Most infuriating of all are the poison traps, which take you down to one HP for a set amount of time, making the next hit fatal. You can get to a point where almost every room in the zone has a nasty little trap in it, sometimes even two. I reached the penultimate stage of the main game which used a two-hit combo of poison and spikes to kill me after I slaughtered all the monsters. Like I said, it's utterly spiteful.  It takes a long time to level up, there's no ability to re-spec your character, and these factors combined with the weapon durability and Godawful map design make for a game that can easily become an exhausting grind. It's mentally tiring to play Book of Memories, as you desperately search for save rooms to not lose twenty minutes of your life, backtrack through empty rooms, and get kicked up the ass repeatedly by cheaply obscured little traps. Then there are enemies that deal damage-per-second when attacked, or power through your attacks to repeatedly knock you to the ground. Think of a cheap way in which designers artificially bump up a game's difficulty, and you can bet Book of Memories has tried it.  The fact that I still keep going back to it, however, is high praise indeed for how well the core concept actually works. When the stars align and you get a level that tones down the bullshit, Book of Memories is a pleasant, even exciting, experience. The simple act of saving up money to buy my own Pyramid helmet or a Robbie the Rabbit mask for my character is joyous in its own perverse way, and when you start really dominating monsters, it feels incredibly gratifying. Book of Memories comes across as a game that doesn't want to be liked, that actively hates its players and will do anything to fight them when they try to have fun. It doesn't always succeed, however, and every time it fails in its mission to turn gamers away, the results are most entertaining.  Multiplayer is a big part of the experience, with up to four players able to team up online. This dramatically reduces the amount of problems found in single-player, not least for the fact that dying is penalized with a drop of recoverable items and a respawn, rather than the total eradication of all progress. Rolling into a zone with other players and laying the smackdown is most rewarding, and one can even hop into a high-level player's game to take on advanced dungeons early and gain a nice XP boost.  Of course, as seems to be Book of Memories' modus operandi, the online component is not free of multiple small annoyances. For one thing, keys for locked doors are carried by the person who picked it up, and nobody knows who has what if they're not communicating. Dropping keys upon death can also make them tricky to find. Even worse, players can't share loot, or even use the item shop at the same time, making players essentially line up and take turns to sell or buy gear. The zones can also be cleared by anybody regardless of everyone being ready. I almost lost my Great Knife pickup from Valtiel because someone was solving the end puzzle and I was trying to book it to the exit to pick up my loot in time.  Graphically, this is a beautiful looking title. Avoiding the washed-out look that many PS Vita games seem to be afflicted by, there's a great sense of color and contrast, with some terrific lighting effects. Easily one of the most gorgeous looking handheld titles released to date, there naturally has to be one negative caveat -- levels take an excruciatingly long time to load, even upon death. The joy of dying, only to be punished further with a lengthy reload time. Classic.  Control-wise, WayForward mostly makes judicious use of the PS Vita's input options. The touchscreen controls are almost entirely relegated to virtual buttons, conveniently placed at the edge of the screen, while the touchpad Karma powers are sporadic and make sense. My only criticism here is that picking up items requires awkwardly touching them in the center of the screen, something that several hybrid-controlled Vita games do, and I still can't work out why any developer thinks it's a good idea.  Book of Memories presents a fantastic idea and hours of fun content, then surrounds it with bear traps, barbed wire and shotgun-wielding farmers who dare you to take one step towards it. Yet, even as I write this, I'm still in the midst of playing it, and I want to keep playing it. I love it, but I despise it. I'm addicted to it, but after every zone, I need to switch off and walk away drained.  Is Silent Hill: Book of Memories good? I'm not sure I even know. It's compelling, it's engrossing, but at the same time its venomous and repellent. Like the town of Silent Hill itself, it draws players in with a promise, before cruelly punishing them on a capricious whim. It commits sins that are simply not forgivable, while performing feats that cannot go without praise.  What I do know is that the game's issues are issues of design, not concept. The core premise of Book of Memories is not only solid, it's openly brilliant. I want there to be more Silent Hill games like this -- I just want them with decent map design, a more balanced approach to combat, and maybe a bit less of a hateful attitude toward anybody trying to enjoy them.  It's a solid start for a game capable of excellence, but so frequently squanders the credit it earns on frankly confusing design. I can only hope WayForward gets a second chance to truly build on what it's begun. 
Survival bother
Silent Hill: Book of Memories has been a controversial release, despised almost from the outset by fans who viewed it as a betrayal of the series, an abandonment of the survival horror trappings that apparently must be reflec...


Konami explains Silent Hill: Book of Memories delays

Release timing more a factor of convergence than completion
Oct 15
// Harry Monogenis
Silent Hill: Book of Memories, the first Silent Hill title for the PlayStation Vita, has seen its fair share of delays during the course of its development; first being delayed by a month from February to March...

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