When you hear the Siren, it might be too late.
Siren was first released in PlayStation 2 some years ago and it was very frustrating, and I mean, very, This was a huge turn-off for the game and it eventually made me never finish the game. Then came Siren 2 with all this fixed, now you could choose a game difficulty level and play the game the way you want it. And then Siren: Blood Curse was announced as remake of the first Siren for the PS2. If it is a straigh-up remake I can't say, I haven't played the original for a long time, but I read it was an "americanized" version of the first game. It's ok by me, it keep the whole japanese-horror-heebie-jeebies thing from the first one and yes - it has difficulty settings. Horray! Let's break it down to different parts.
The story is like the stories on those japanese horror flicks, it's weird, awesome, scary, weird, weird and confusing. In fact, for you to understand the whole thing that happens in the game, you have to get all the archives spread through-out the 12 Episodes of Siren. And it's not an easy task, but the reward is great. It starts out as an American TV crew goes to Japan, Hanuda Village to investigate the place, as it's said to have "disappeared" from night to day. Apparantly, the Show's Host and the invited scientiest are ex-husband and ex-wife, and guess what? The Ex-husband (Sam Monroe) brought their little girl (Bella Monroe) to the place because he couldn't find a babysitter. You can imagine how his ex-wife (Melissa Gale) gets pissed off right? Alone with Melissa comes Sol Jackson who is the camera operator for the show. But did they find anything to do with the supposedly "disappeared" village? Yes, but they did find a village, and it was not hidden, it was right there for them to see. Upon making their way through the woods they come across what appears to be a sacrifice. Someone is killed by the villagers and as they prepare to kill the second person, some guy comes from the woods and manages to stop them and the girl runs away. Horray for that, right? I guess? Well, apparently this disappeared village is not so gone after all, and it's villagers appear to have become blood-thristy monsters... What's happening in Hanuda Village for God's sake? Well... find out by playing it! :)
Ah! Here's where the game shines. The gameplay is straight-up an horror game 3rd person kind of gameplay. You move the character in 3rd person (you can press R3 and play the whole game in 1st person too if you want) you press X to examine stuff and pick up items or weapons, you press O to crouch down, [ ] (square) to attack (or R1), /\ (triangle) to execute special options (like pushing minning carts and stuff) and L2 to activate Sight-Jack. What's Sight-Jack you say? I see you haven't played any of the previous games if you are asking this question. Sight-Jack is the ability to see through the eyes of the enemy, the Shibito or even your partners. Very helpful for stealthing your away through the levels or for finding out where your partners are. And this comes to the different ways you can play the game. On the original Siren you almost always were forced to stealth your way for the whole levels and this made it very frustrating. On this version there are checkpoints around the level so you don't need to repeat the whole thing all over again if you mess up (you can start from the beginning of the game or from a checkpoint by your own decision by going to the START menu) and you are given a huge set of weapons you can pick up on the field and fight your way through. Of course, wether you choose to fight or to stealth your way to the end, this will affect your ending stats for the game. But this is something for you to find out when you play it to the end at least once. You are also given special weapons, like hunting traps you can place on the ground by pressing "down" on the directional buttons and see the Shibito get caught in them (it's funney lol). You can also press "up" on the direction buttons to toggle the flashlight on/off, "right" to tell your partner to either hide, follow you or stay put and "left" to yell and get the attention from the Shibito (useful to pull off a Solid Snake move and crouch behind the Shibito and hold [ ] (square) to execute a special strong attack! awesome). By pressing SELECT you go to the main menu of the game, where you can check the map and the objectives (and where some of them are in the map), your character's items, the archives and weapong list and the game's options.
I think this is where the game lacks the most. Instead of a fancy Blu-ray Disc with a nice disturbing cover and a useful manual you have to download the game from the PSN either per Episodes or download the whole thing in one buy. And if you buy the whole thing, the only thing you get different is that it's cheaper, because you still have to download all the 12 episodes, and this takes forever (almost 10GB!). Of course, you can download the in the right order and start playing Episode 1 while 2 is downloading etc... Wich is what I did. About the in-game menu, etc, I have nothing bad to talk about. It's a normal menu, normal options etc. I love the music on the menu though. I heard this would be released on Blu-ray Disc too, if it does, I will buy it. Very worth it.
As in the other Siren games, music, sound and atmosphere are very important for the "disturbing" fact. And this game pulls it off very well. You have the dark scenarios accompanied by silence where any noise the Shibito make will probably startle you. The music is very good and weird (I love the main menu theme and the ending theme, although the ending theme has nothing scary about it lol - you can download it to your hard-drive when you finish the game).
Very good graphics. love the use of darkness and light. And unlike many other horror games, here the dark is REALLY pitch black, not dark-blue where you can still see what's around you. The character models are well made, although sometimes compared to the scenario they look just ok. Scenarios are AWESOME and disturbing. I LOVE the game's visuals! The Shibito are disturbing, although the "Fly Shibitos" are more funny than scary lol... Whatever.
Well, you can finish the game in 8 hours, 8 and half like I did if you just go through it for the first time. But you will want to go again and take your time to uncover every archive so you can understand just what the hell is going on in Hanuda Village. So there's your re-playability and more gaming hours. Very worth it, although most of the episodes take place on the same 6 or 7 environments. Wich is not bad at all, I mean, you'll known them very well after playing the game for some time, and this helps you to think better about what to do, but it also makes the game look a little bit smaller. Oh well, could you expect anything more from a PSN game?
If you like horror games and japanese horror flicks or even if you played any of the other Siren games and liked them at least one bit and have an internet connection, get this game RIGHT NOW! It's what us - horror fans with PS3's - have been waiting for!
4.5 / 5.0
I took 0.5 from the score due to the presentation of the game. I would give this like 4.8, but Giant Bomb only works on .5. But you get the point, awesome game, get it now, etc.