Silent Hill: Book of Memories is to be the series' first foray into the PlayStation Vita, and its dramatic departure from traditional survival horror is proving to be quite controversial. You see, Book of Memories is a top-down dungeon crawler, and fans are not very happy about it.
While trawling Youtube for footage of the game, I began to notice just how much hate there is for it. Check out any uploaded trailer for Book of Memories, and you'll find it buried under an avalanche of "dislikes," with months of furious comments backing them up. People are still raging at these trailers to this very day, despite them being around since August of last year.
Something tells me Silent Hill: Book of Memories isn't very popular.
Konami hasn't fostered much love for the Silent Hill series over the years. Opinions are divided over the quality of recent efforts such as Homecoming and Shattered Memories, but the general consensus among fans is that everything went downhill after Team Silent disbanded. This upcoming PS Vita game appears to have been a very grave misstep in the eyes of fans who just want the series to go back to its roots.
Fans aren't just angry at Book of Memories. They're thoroughly confused.
While others simply see this as a slap in the face, and the latest bit of proof that Konami does not give a damn anymore. Even those who aren't very angry still don't understand why the game is so vastly different.
Of course, every devil has an advocate, and while many fans are furious, some are holding out hope.
While others are simply enjoying the show.
Survival Horror games, more than any other genre, struggle with the pressures of modernization. Many will argue that old fashioned game mechanics and outdated design ideas are what made horror games so scary. They limited the player, made things more awkward and thus more frantic. Of course, we're in an age where games aren't supposed to be inconvenient anymore, so some element of refinement is necessary. Finding the delicate balance between scaring a player and providing a satisfactory user experience is incredibly difficult.
This, however, seems to be something totally out of left field, and not what anybody could have expected. I love Silent Hill, and while I am prepared to give this game a chance, I really have to wonder who Konami thought it would appeal to. Even in Book of Memories' gameplay video above, the producer introducing the footage is noticeably awkward as he addresses fans. Just watch him when he tries to persuade us not to worry about the game's survival horror elements. That's a man with fear in his eyes. A man who knew he'd be the face of resentment.
If you know people are going to hate something ... why are you making it?
Silent Hill: Origins on the PSP may not have been the best Silent Hill game, but I still maintain it was one of the creepiest releases in a long time, and surprisingly effective at providing some portable scares. It shocks me that Konami would not want to replicate that on the Vita, instead going for something that looks like it could have easily been on a less advanced system. As the comment above says, it looks like an iOS game. It's like Dungeon Hunter. Why isn't it taking advantage of what the Vita can do?
Konami is a confusing company that makes many bizarre decisions. This latest is one that the fans have most certainly noticed, and the message they've taken away is that Konami does not understand why its customers ever supported it.
That's not a message I think Konami wants out there.