As those who have been following recent news may be aware, Book of Memories, a brand spankin' new chapter in the Silent Hill saga, will be coming to the Playstation Vita. The title was announced some days ago, but as I was scouring the internet today I came across a startling, and all things considering, rather disconcerting bit of news: Book of Memories will be the first Silent Hill title to feature multiplayer - yes, multiplayer. Kotaku quotes Tomm Hulett, one of the brains behind the new installment in the Silent Hill saga, as saying that "we had to have the right idea. We wanted to do something that felt like satisfying multiplayer and felt like it was in the Silent Hill universe." At the risk of going on a tangent, I feel this has absolutely no place in a Silent Hill game.
Read more after the jump!
I love the idea of co-op in a game like Resident Evil or Left 4 Dead, but these are the kinds of games I play for fun - good old zombie blasting fun. Silent Hill has always been, at its core, game dependent on its immersive, intimate experience. It is a solitary journey through the mind of the protagonist, and unlike the aforementioned titles (strictly for me, mind you), it is most certainly note a "fun" game. It's certainly enjoyable - I've played through the first three games more times than I'd care to admit - but it most certainly is not "fun" in the traditional sense.
Whether co-op or competitive, I simply cannot see Silent Hill's prospective multiplayer mode falling somewhere between absurd and obnoxiously absurd. If we're talking about co-op play, the the flow of the game finds itself continually interrupted. One of the most compelling aspects of Silent Hill has always been the juxtaposition of intense isolation with the creeping dread. You are alone in this unsettling atmosphere - very much alone indeed, save for the occasional NPC - focusing on the decayed surroundings, the ambient, industrial drones, and ghastly, spine-chilling sounds. Bringing a buddy along for the ride somehow strikes me as an easy way to undermine that very Silent Hill style of horror. As for competitive multiplayer, all the worse - never mind that I have never in my nerd life heard any fellow Silent Hill enthusiast, even in a state of extreme intoxication, utter the words, "You know what Silent Hill 3 needed? Deathmatch mode." Hopefully the developers, armed with the bare minimum of sense required to keep one alive through day-,to-day will opt not to go the competitive multiplayer route. Still, stranger and more asinine things have happened.
It may seem like a petty quarrel, and the obvious solution would be to simply forgo any multiplayer mode, but it does inspire a bit of annoyance on the ground that implementing this takes time and money - both of which could be better spent on adding more content to, or simply improving, the single-player experience.
Nonetheless, I harbor a faintly giddy at the fact that a new Silent Hill title is coming to the Vita. Shattered Memories proved that, against my most pessimistic expectations, non-Team Silent endeavors can transcend the twelve kind of horrible that one would expect them to deliver. Here's to hoping, and if I must, I will endure the multiplayer aspect in the interest of visiting everyone's favorite gateway to hell once again.
What a trooper.