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Silent Hill: Book Of Memories Featuring Multiplayer -- Followed By A Rant

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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.

8 Comments

I'm going to hold judgement until I see anything at all, and it's not like the Silent Hill series hasn't taken..creative directions before. (Light gun shooter in arcades?) But I think, if executed intelligently, it could present an interesting experience where two people can still partake in the same dread, and can even have some interesting plot turns within. I dunno. It's not perfect? But I think there's some potential for a truly unique horror.

Mittens said:

Consider your suspicions shared. That said, plenty of Demons Souls feels isolated, impassable, and creepy (granted, it's a stoic game more than a horrifying game) despite its ingenious multiplayer format.

NaviFairy said:

I demoed Silent Hill: Downpour yesterday at the show (which is really good), and the developer I talked with also mentioned about Silent Hill: Book of Memories being multiplayer. He said something along the lines of "It's not what you're probably expecting from a multiplayer game." To which I replied "I'm expecting a turn-based tactical game." He smirked, shrugged, and said "You never know." Though to be fair, during the whole course of the demo we were joking around a lot, so I wouldn't put too much weight in that comment. ;)

Rahzen said:

Actually, I would enjoy a 2-player co-op experience in Silent Hill. You could have both characters forced to spend time together in the beginning, forcing them to rely on each other. Then, when they get fond of each other in the second act, force them to separate more often in order to progress. Then, in the third act, throw in some revealing twists about each character that culminates in the ultimate irony, the players are forced to kill each other at the end. At least that's how I'd do it.

Exclusive to Vita? No thank you :) I'm not wasting another penny on a Sony console.

Super Swede said:

I'll undoubtedly give the multiplayer a whirl, even though i have a sneaking suspicion that it will be an experience rife with facepalms and regret. Nonetheless, i'll do my best to withhold (more, let's be honest) judgement until we see the implementation in action.

It goes without saying that Silent Hill is my favorite survival horror series (though Fatal Frame was, in my opinion, quite a bit more frightening) on account of the fact that it was a truly personal, interactive experience -- and bringing a second player into the mix, however well the experience is constructed, will dampen that critical aspect of the Silent Hill formula. We'll see. I'm all for risk, particularly with a game like Silent Hill, but i just feel that this particular kind of risk will hinder the game's core elements.

I'm sort of conflicted when it comes to our favorite spooky town these days. On the one hand, my love of the aesthetics, music, and overall experience keeps hoping for new titles. On the other hand, part of me wants to put the old boy out to pasture. I enjoyed Origins more than i had expected to, but mainly because it conformed very strictly (aside from the ridiculous "pockets made of magic" which allowed Travis to carry a safe, drip stand, and a sword at at any give time) to the Silent Hill formula. But as much as i adore the games, they have, in my mind, largely run their course. Team Silent is no more, and now with the departure of Akira Yamaoka, i don't have a whole lot of hope for future installments.

But who knows. I did enjoy Shattered Memories, mainly because of it's utterly irreverence for Silent Hill tradition -- and maybe that is what the series needs. In any event, i'll no doubt give the forthcoming games a shot, even if only as a rental. I'm curious to see what they mean by the multiplayer being "not what you're expecting;" failing a turn-based tactical game, i propose ditching that irksome running, in favorite of kart racing. Subsitute a flaurous for the blue shell, that ghastly siren for lightning, Pyramid Head's massive god d*** sword for Bullet Bill, and you're set.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes unfortunate gamers to realize that most turns lead to dead ends, and that there is in fact no finish line: just a long, inward gaze; a terrifying cacophony of half-forgotten memories and regrets, leaving the player forever treading the decrepit ruins of a life that was never yours to begin with.

...Here's to hoping!

Corpsegoddess said:

Eh. They totally lost me beginning with the fourth game. As soon as they took it away from the core lore of the game, and started introducing more complex fighting other than "hit X to whack the bejeezus out of 'HOLY SHIT WHAT IS THAT'", I lost interest---and the ability to play (I am console-controller-impared). Now I just watch sadly as the parade of SH games I can no longer play and have no interest in playing march past me. And then I go back and fire up games 1 through 3 again for the umpteenth time.

The co-op idea sounds interesting. Not sure if it sounds like the kind of thing that would work in a game designed around isolation and atmosphere. Hmmm… I’ll play it anyway! :)

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world of warcraft gold on Silent Hill: Book Of Memories Featuring Multiplayer -- Followed By A Rant: The co-op idea sounds interesting. Not sure if it sounds like the kind of thing that would work in a...

Corpsegoddess on Silent Hill: Book Of Memories Featuring Multiplayer -- Followed By A Rant: Eh. They totally lost me beginning with the fourth game. As soon as they took it away from the core...

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JustTheTrick tm on Silent Hill: Book Of Memories Featuring Multiplayer -- Followed By A Rant: Exclusive to Vita? No thank you :) I'm not wasting another penny on a Sony console....

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