Scary games aren't my usual fare, but I was coaxed into trying out Silent Hill: Book of Memories during the show. Book of Memories is a side-step to the usual Silent Hill gameplay, instead taking on an action-RPG flair with stats, skills, and plenty of action.
I jumped in at a mid-game save point and was immediately struck by how atmospheric the game is. It's dark and macabre while not missing a beat in lightning up the areas the player needs to see in order to traverse through the murky, narrow corridors. My first full room had two enemies to defeat, whom I was able to dispatch with minimal effort once I stopped panicking. The controls feel very intuitive, with the back touch screen used for special attacks so the player doesn't need to smoosh the front screen at the cost of losing track of other monsters surrounding them.
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As I played my weapon, which appeared to be a makeshift wooden bat, began to degrade. Players will need to restock their arsenal on a regular basis with weapons found around the Nightmare, or repair using a system that wasn't evident during the E3 demo. As someone unfamiliar with the Silent Hill mythos, I didn't feel like I was being left out or tossed into a situation I was expected to know, though with familiar monsters like Pyramid Head making their return, series veterans will be receiving a healthy dose of fan service.
The story is of, as the title alludes to, a Book of Memories. The player's character finds a book that tells the story of their life and begins editing portions of the story, creating a new future for themselves. However, in doing so they are also launched into a series of Nightmares, which take place inside the town of Silent Hill. The game will take about 15 hours to complete initially, though there's plenty of replay value as notes found in the game are influenced by actions both past and future. Players re-reading a note at a later period may find it to be completely different following the player's actions. Dungeons are randomly generated, though some story-related sections are static, so changing a decision doesn't mean crawling the same hallways again. This sort of re-writing gives Book of Memories multiple endings, so players will need to dig deep to find out everything they can about their character's life.
With a release planned for October, close to Hallowe'en and the new Silent Hill movie, players should be prepared to be spooked with the series trademark of "scare rooms" when Book of Memories arrives later this year.