Silent Hill: Book of Memories
By Chad Sapieha,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Survival horror series veers off track, adds bloody action.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Silent Hill: Book of Memories wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.
The story explores notions of greed and self-interest from the player character's perspective. It doesn't promote these ideas, but instead shows how others can suffer when you always put yourself first. It also sensationalizes gory combat, offering thrills through violence.
Positive Role Models
The game's primary character -- who can be male or female depending on player preference -- is often only interested in what's best for him or her, regardless of the consequences. As a result, other characters end up missing out on promotions they deserve or sitting on the losing end of a love triangle.
Ease of Play
This game can be extremely hard, especially when playing alone. The interface -- a mix of traditional and touch screen controls -- is precise, but the difficulty level sometimes verges on extreme. And with death often meaning a trip back to the start of a dungeon to begin all over again, it can prove quite frustrating.
Violence & Scariness
Players engage in graphic combat against fantasy creatures and humanoid monsters. Weapons range from shotguns and pistols to baseball bats and meat cleavers. Crimson blood spatters with each hit and pools on the floor. Body parts occasionally fall away from defeated foes. Some creatures are suspended from the ceiling by chains in torturous boxes.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some female characters wear lightly suggestive clothing. The word "slutty" appears in the game's dialogue. One chapter is about winning a romantic interest away from another character.
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Infrequent swearing, including "s--t" and "hell."
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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.
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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?
- Platform: PlayStation Vita
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: logic, solving puzzles, strategy, Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork
- Available online?: Not available online
- Publisher: 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
- Last updated: August 26, 2016
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