Written by: J.H. Longman
Now that everyone else is done having their say regarding Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water (Fatal Frame), here at Miketendo 64 fancy our turn. Published by Nintendo, developed by Koei Tecmo, Maiden of Dark Water is the fifth instalment in the Project Zero survival horror series and after already being available in Japan since September 2014, it only took until October 2015 for the rest of the world to catch up. So let’s dive in to a world of ghosts, suicides and a lot of picture taking.
Just like in the previous games, players are equipped with the Camera Obscura, a must have equip that can be customized and upgraded throughout the game, with different films, with different uses to be used and your only means of successfully battling and winning against the hostile ghosts you are bound to come up against when out navigating, playing your way through the game and as for its story, here we go. Set on the fictional Hikami Mountain, the story focuses on three protagonists who, for their own reasons, are all drawn to the mountain, thanks to supernatural events that all revolve around the area. One of the events includes an ancient ritual meant to seal away the malevolent Yomi, a dark force that can corrupt all surrounding spirits.
Now this is the part where I have to be brutally honest, gameplay is easy and as genius as the mechanics are for using the gamepad to defeat ghosts is, it’s nothing new and reminds me of using the Genesis in Resident Evil: Revelations, although instead of using the Genesis to battle the infected, you can use an array of weapons to gun down the infected, which I’ve got to say, even as a photographer, I prefer using the gamepad to shoot my enemies.
This is a game of stunning visuals, intriguing cut screens and a game where in the original Japanese version, you could unlock two skimpy and revealing outfits to go ghostbusting in. But because the outfits were deemed too revealing, the outfits were swapped out for more welcomed Nintendo ones. An unlockable Zero Suit Samus outfit and Princess Zelda’s Dress and despite all of that, the game just falls flat on its face. The English dubbed dialogue seems lacking, the fear factor just isn’t want it wants to be, which for a horror game, is something of critical importance and it just got too repetitive way to soon. Oh and then there are the constant life items that can be found everywhere, it is as if they game doesn’t want you to die, but to live. (Now where’s the fun in that?)
But yeah, I was heavily disappointed with how badly this game didn’t make me jump, make me want to say, “I’m not going that way again,” or have me diving under my bedsheets. It has a sinister edge, but the edge felt dulled, even with the music, the lighting and the surroundings. For me every time I felt like I should be afraid, I wasn’t and I was already charging my camera up, just as another ghost crawled out from the forest floor and made its move. Still at least the flashbacks and the various suicide scenes, were tastefully done, filled with suspense and dread, something you could feel but the shock factor just wasn’t what it should have been.
For me, this game really is a hard one, I like the look of it, the story, which flows perfectly and doesn’t skip a beat, but as much as I want and will myself to like it, there’s just too much about it that nags at me, screaming this game is by far one of the best horror games of this ear, but with all it had going for it, it’s older games were a level beyond this and with that said, it is time to bust out my list of Pros & Cons:
-Compelling story, stunning graphics, spectacular cut-scenes and music that complimented the gameplay, just a shame the action dragged it down.
-The use of the gamepad was clever and really added to the overall experience of the game.
-Multiple endings are always cool.
-Even when playing as another protagonist, the story’s progression never faltered and carried on rather smoothly and each experience and angle, only further added to the overall game.
-As a horror game, it didn’t do all that well to live up to its genre.
-Got too repetitive way too early in the game.
The English language dub felt lacking, as if there was a whole lot that was being missed out.
-Death just didn’t feel like it was an option and you’re not living (or gaming) unless you’re running around afraid, worried you might die come your next encounter.
-Great use of the gamepad but just not enough of it.
Not every game is a great one and with such a heavy price tag, I’m sorry but this game just isn’t worth it and that is why it only delivers a 7.4/10.0 in this horror show photography competition. For a game of dread, use of the gamepad and unsettling action, you would be better off purchasing a copy if Resident Evil: Revelations instead and at a much cheaper price, it is a bargain buy. Revelations has been most satisfactory for me and is an easy 8.7/10.0 infected carcases, and its got Jill Valentine, who doesn’t like a bit of Jill?
But as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of my own and it is encouraged for you to make your own.