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'Silent Hill: Book of Memories' is the strangest departure for the series yet

Silent Hill: Book of Memories E3
Silent Hill: Book of Memories E3

What happens when you cross Konami's creepy Silent Hill with an old-school dungeon crawler? Find out!

Silent Hill has a spotty history if we're being generous. Konami has never nailed down a gameplay formula that works at all times in this otherworldly town. At the very least, though, it can't be faulted for constantly trying zany new ideas. The latest off-the-wall interpretation of Silent Hill comes in the form of Silent Hill: Book of Memories, a Vita-exclusive spin-off that sprinkles a little bit of the series' traditional slow-paced psychological horror onto a dungeon crawler.

While hardcore Silent Hill fans have been understandably dismissive of Book of Memories, my time with the game at E3 revealed that there could very well be a worthwhile experience here if you're willing to set aside the expectations that come with the name.

At the beginning of the game your created character finds the titular Book of Memories, a supernatural item that recounts the character's life story. When he or she tries to rewrite that history, they find themselves trapped in the nightmarish world of Silent Hill.

In many Silent Hill games, running away from confrontation is a better solution than standing toe to toe with evil creatures. In Book of Memories, you'll want to fight everything you see. Slain enemies provide experience and money, which in turn helps you fight bigger monsters with better weapons.

Though you'll be digging through desks and filing cabinets for new gear, the weapons that I saw actually fit comfortably within the Silent Hill framework. Your character can wield knives, crowbars, wooden planks and a pistol if you stumble upon some ammunition. They can even dual wield melee weapons.

Combat itself isn't particularly deep you can swing wildly or take time to ready more powerful blows, but most of the encounters I had came down to button-mashing until the hellish beast in front of me disintegrated. Characters move much faster and hit harder than in previous Silent Hill games, as well, which allows you to grind through hordes of enemies before the game is over.

You'll also be able to receive help against the monsters from friends. Up to four players can run through the haunted halls of Silent Hill slicing up bad guys together. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to try multiplayer at E3.

It may not be what fans want from the series, but Silent Hill: Book of Memories certainly has an air of strangeness that is befitting of the locale. The gameplay has a more solid foundation than I expected going in, but I'd still like to see if the full game features enough intense head games in its plot to make me really feel at home. You can join me in finding out when Silent Hill: Book of Memories hits store shelves this October.

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