riostarwind's Fatal Frame III: The Tormented (PS2 Classics) (PlayStation Network (PS3)) review

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While this feels like a bit of a rehash in some ways it does enough to make it worth playing.

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Having played the first two FF games a while ago I finally got around to playing through this one. Fighting ghosts with the power of taking their picture has always been a pretty cool idea to me. Time to see if this improves on what the previous game did so well.

Some ghost encounters are kinda tough thanks to the layout of the room.
Some ghost encounters are kinda tough thanks to the layout of the room.

This tale begins with Reika and Miku deciding to head to a worn out shrine that was reported to be haunted. While they were taking photos Reika ends of seeing a vision of her dead boyfriend. Once she gets home strange dreams of a broken down house with a tattooed woman start to happen.. It soon becomes apparent that she has been cursed and it is a race against time to figure out what is going on.

Much of what goes on with the plot feels very regimented. Most of the game is spent exploring the dream mansion with some mini sections within Reika’s house between dreams. Thus you see a thing in the mansion then it gets some text afterward once you do something in the real world. Half the time you don’t even see the truth till later and that really feels like they were trying to extend this game a lot. Plus I was constantly wondering why no one ever talks to each other even though it is obvious that they are all sharing the same nightmare.

It is also possible to combo ghosts by timing follow up shots perfectly.
It is also possible to combo ghosts by timing follow up shots perfectly.

While the narrative doesn’t hold up busting some ghosts with the camera obscura retains all it’s good points. These ghosts may not frighten me anymore but having to look at the thing your afraid of is a compelling idea. Additionally timing attacks to hurt them the most while avoiding them was fun. From my memories nothing new was added to the camera other than maybe some new special attacks that I very rarely used. Most ether slow or damage the ghost more if you use some spirit orbs. Even though you will be using tank controls they were set up with fixed cameras in mind so unless you hate that style it works very well here.

Exploring the mansion on the other hand was delightfully creepy at first. Going through a old style mansion that never truly feels like a real place goes well with what is going on. Yet once the game constantly made me have to back track to other areas with vague hints I started to not enjoy wandering the halls anymore. Sure it introduces new areas yet it constantly keeps thinking up new macguffins for me to search for throughout the 11 hour adventure. Certainly the previous games had some backtracking too yet I never felt it was as big of a issue before. Likely cause they were shorter experiences.

Each of the 3 playable characters have a power. Kei really has the most useless one of them all. He can hide.
Each of the 3 playable characters have a power. Kei really has the most useless one of them all. He can hide.

Overall this game tries to conclude the trilogy by wrapping up the threads from the first game apparently. Yet these elements felt forced since they don’t even lead to a new conclusion for Mika. The stuff they started in this game was handled well and I haven’t really thought of this series as something other than stand alone stories up to this point. Still they tried to mix it up with multiple protagonists and a much better sad story for the start of the curse. I think this has more in common with the first game thanks to the small environments yet battling ghosts was still the highlight. Still worth checking out but the second game is the one to play if you want to see the best of this series.

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