Truly horrific (in a good way)
The battle mechanics of this game will test your patience but what will keep you coming back is the great atmosphere and sound as this games compels you to forge ahead. Yes, the power of Fatal Frame compels you.... the power of Fatal Frame compels you...
Gameplay: You wander around the haunted mansion trying to piece together the events that lead to your brothers disappearance. Along the way you will see apparitions, listen to creepy audio tapes, collect dozens of pictures, and read notebooks filled with folklore and the occult. You will also spend a lot of time dealing with spirits that want to steal your soul and even worse, your health . Battling the spirits involves the use of a mystically powered camera that not only takes pictures, it capture spirits.
Often, the battles are tense and invigorating. Often, they are pull your hair out, throw your controller through the TV, frustrating. They're are a number of reasons for this including the fact that your character gets caught on every nook and cranny and you find yourself stuck. The other frustrating aspect is the pure randomness of the spirits and their ability to "teleport" anywhere without notice. Lets say you run a few yards, you've got a bead on the ghost so you stop and turn. Knowing the ghost will be in your sites you get ready to snap a picture and BAMM; its gone invisible and as quick as that, its lunging at your from behind doing loads of damage. That is the worst of it, I swear.
If you can deal with that level of frustration and stick with it, you will be able to cope with and win the battle system. The game just makes you pay a little too much to get there. Once you do, it can be quiet a thrill to nail a snapshot of a ghost for 9000 points which was a "Double, Zero, Special-Shot". Its also nice to see a horror game that uses a camera as apposed to a gun to deal with the ghosts. After all, what good would a gun be against a class 5 full roaming vapor.
Graphics: Although the textures are not as high in quality as many Xbox titles, they come together perfectly in this game. The artwork of the mansion, the ghosts, Miku (your character), and the environments (literally smoke and mirrors) are all top n otch. Not as good as GC Resident evil (1+0) but close in many respects.
Sound: Simply unbelievable. If you have a decent 5.1 system your are in for a treat. The sound of this game is simply the best survival horror sound ever. The soundtrack and effects are so eerie you will turn it down because you though you heard something and you want to make sure its the game and not in your house. I would say that you can not fully appreciate this game without Dolby Digital sound. This game should be used to demonstrate digital sound for the Xbox.
Simply speaking, Fatal Frame is still the scariest game I have ever played. Perhaps System Shock II would give it a run for the top spot. Either way, I dare you to play this in an empty house and not get the willies and need to turn it off. If you enjoy being scared by video games, you owe it to yourself to check out this classic on Xbox, 360 (bc) or PS2.