A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Silent Hill: Book of Memories is an action horror game with plenty of gore and blood. It takes place almost entirely within the lead character's nightmares, which have a predictably dark and spooky vibe. Players spend almost all of their time bloodily hacking and slashing at creepy creatures with knives, chainsaws, and other found objects. Vague references to sex play a part in a mature story that focuses on changing history for selfish reasons at the expense of others. Parents should also be aware that this game has an online component that facilitates communication with other players, including strangers.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
SILENT HILL: BOOK OF MEMORIES, the first game in Konami's venerable horror series to arrive on PlayStation Vita, takes the franchise in a bold new direction. Players take the role of a young woman (or man) who receives a strange book on her birthday. Inside the book is written her entire life, and she discovers that changing what's written will change her own past -- assuming she can survive the nightmares that follow. Rather than a traditional survival horror experience, it offers something closer in look and feel to a dungeon-crawling role-playing game. Action is presented from a raised perspective, with players running through mazes of rooms looking for treasure, keys, and puzzle pieces, fighting hordes of weird beasts along the way. Online multiplayer and ad-hoc local wireless modes allow several players to adventure through these nightmares together, each moving forward his or her character's own story.
Is it any good?
This quirky little experiment in action horror genre is a middling success. Its narrative concerning the consequences of changing one's past -- perhaps at the expense of others -- is a bit disjointed but also fairly original and weirdly compelling. And while the maze-based action quickly grows repetitive and can be frustratingly difficult, it can also be satisfying when you're on a roll, in possession of powerful weapons, and properly managing your limited inventory of medpacks and repair tools.
But even when things are going well it's hard not to feel some disappointment that Konami has taken its beloved horror series in this strange new direction. Franchise fans will likely long for the Silent Hill games of years past, which delivered more dramatic pacing, some truly frightening sequences, and took place in extraordinarily creepy settings. Silent Hill: Book of Memories is far from terrible, but it's distant from the highs of the series' past.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about online safety. When is it OK to use voice chat in gaming forums? What sort of signs and behaviors should you be on the lookout for in order to avoid bullies and predators?
Families can also discuss the concepts of sympathy and generosity. Have you done something for someone else at great cost to yourself? How did it make you feel? Was it worth it?
- Platforms: PlayStation Vita
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: logic, solving puzzles, strategy
Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork
- Price: $39.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Konami
- Release date: October 23, 2012
- Genre: Role Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.