Review by SMuffinMan
"Creepy and innovative"
Let me start by saying that this is my first Fatal Frame game, and soon I'll be starting the other ones when given the chance. I found the gameplay really immersive and fun. In fact once I picked it up I just couldn't stop playing it until I beat it, and I've started a new file on Hard mode and ready to go through it all again. Which is funny, considering I used to bash the series upon seeing other people playing it, hah. But I found one of my friends playing it recently and it actually looked fun, so I ended up picking it up and I'm very glad I did. It's a shame this game won't be getting an American release.
Gameplay:10/10-I had to list this first because wow. This game makes great use of the Wiimote, which really helps with the immersion. To look around with the flashlight you'll find yourself pointing the Wiimote in whatever direction you want. You also have to find some items looking around with the flashlight, as some don't appear until you do so. If your filament is glowing blue you'll have to look in that direction, but sometimes you have to look up or down depending on where the item is scripted to appear. Your filament works like a compass at the top of the screen. It will glow blue for certain items and non-aggressive ghosts. Most items however are indicated by another filament in the bottom right corner which will glow blue, but doesn't act like a compass.
Should you encounter an aggressive spirit, the filament compass at the top will glow red in one of the four directions. You can flick the Wiimote to do a quick turnaround if needed, which it often is. Once you get a certain function, you'll be able to avoid attacks by shaking the Wiimote, which you'll also have to do once a ghost grabs you and starts doing damage, forcing you to shake them off. This really helps with the immersion, as it forces you to be active, or proactive (the latter for when it comes to avoiding attacks). Sometimes you'll go to grab an item and a ghost hand will appear and grab you, which you'll have to shake off.
Like in the previous games, you have to take pictures off the ghosts to defeat them. Healing items and film can be purchased at save points. As you go up in difficulty, less and less items will be available to purchase. On Nightmare mode, you can't buy anything. You purchase said items with the points that you get from taking the pictures of ghosts. When the shutter is pressed just at the right time, you can execute a fatal frame, which will do massive damage and land you a ton of points. Keep pressing the shutter at the right time and you can execute a fatal frame combo that is sure to exercise these angry, vengeful spirits.
As mentioned before, you'll encounter some non-aggressive ghosts to fill up your ghost list. Unfortunately, due to a bug, not all of the ghosts can be captured. It's a relatively small amount, but since it can't be completed, you won't be getting the Festival function for your camera.
Upon beating the game, costumes, a gallery, and a mission mode will be unlocked. Completing missions helps unlock more costumes in addition to taking pictures of the dolls. One of the characters even has a Luigi costumes, and another character gets Samus' Zero Suit. Some of the costumes are very Japanese-themed too, such as Kimonos. You can also purchase glasses and hair accessories to deck out your characters.
Story: 10/10-This game has a fully original story in some ways, not so much in others. The characters, their backstories, and the settings are all new. But like the previous games, it heavily involves a ritual gone wrong as the main plot device. You'll find yourself playing as multiple characters, one of whom doesn't use the Camera Obscura, but a flashlight instead. The story moves along at just the perfect pace for each character, slowly drawing closer to the epic finale. I won't spoil too much of the story here in the hopes that whoever's reading this might one day get a hold of this game and play it for themselves.
Sound: 10/10-There's not much music in this game. The soundtrack is centered more around ambient noises and sounds. The voice actors all did a fantastic job as well. The music that is in this game is fantastic though. Tsukiko Amano once again lends her voice and talent to the series, helping flesh out the emotions in the ending CG sequence.
Graphics: 10/10-The graphics in the game are great, slightly better than PS2 graphics. I don't focus much energy in this area when it comes to games though. And I don't see the point in comparing this console's graphics to the other graphics. But the graphics in this game are pretty good. The textures are great and it's very detailed, helping to pull you into the game a bit more, helping with the atmosphere. There is one tiny bug when it comes to opening doors in that the framerate slows down a bit, but it's only worth mentioning for an objective standpoint. It's there, but personally it's not that big of a deal.
Overall: 10/10-This game is downright addictive and fun. It has tons of unlockables that adds to the replay value. It's immersive and fun, and a darn shame that this game won't be coming stateside. Here's hoping for Fatal Frame 5!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 02/19/10
Game Release: Zero: Tsukihami no Kamen (JP, 07/31/08)
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