"A pure marvel of suspense, mystery, and unbridled terror..."

To call something beautiful is not necessarily a compliment to those who search for an essence.
Such a thought comes to mind with this game.

The essence of this game is, the main attraction here.

Everyone should try this game. But don't get it expecting the best game ever. You will almost always be let down that way.
Also, don't get it and try not to be scared.
It's best if you just turn off the lights, crank the sound, and let the game take you to another place.
Create the best atmosphere for the morbid ambience of this game. Most of the time however, it somehow seems to create the atmosphere for you...

This game is very artistic, and very well made.

The graphics are very good. There are better on PS2 but Fatal Frame is up there. They look just as they should.
From the subtle and realistic coloring to the shadowing and lighting that seem to create the perfect mood. The look might remind you of 'Silent Hill 2'. Give or take a few on the quality factor.

The story is very well told and very involving.
But there are countless hints about parts of the story that are not told directly in the unfolding of events. Here is where you become the detective and can solve the untold stories. I can't think of anything that the story relates to. It seemed to have a slight feeling of 'The Blair Witch Project'. But with far more quality and taste.

The gameplay value is very good. It's easy to pick up all the controls quickly. The camera you use will be the toughest thing to get used to but it's not hard. You will waste a lot of film in the beginning though. But you can always get more low-grade film at any save point, so no worries. To sum it up, this is not the type of game you will need to start over on because it took you a few hours to figure out that you were doing the wrong thing.

Some complain about the control, but I think it was well done. Your character is slow, but so are the enemies...and if it were fast, I think it would just be harder to fight the enemies cause they would be faster also. So the control is fine. A similar type of movement control was used in 'Devil May Cry', and feels just right...unlike that of 'Resident Evil'.

The loading between rooms is awesome. Very well done. It loads as you open the door and then you have control and can walk/run through or go back with no extra loading. This is how 'Resident Evil' should be.

Some say the difficulty is too hard or too easy. Which comes out to be just right. For those who think it's too hard, this may be a good thing. I find that I get far more involved if I feel I'm truly in danger. You can always drop the controller and run if it becomes too much for you... *smiles*
For those who think it's too easy, you get a nightmare mode after beating it. Plus you can always make it harder for yourself by not using powerful items or healing.

The sound is very good. It sounds exactly as it should. I would suggest using some nice headphones with the bass way up and the vibration for the controller on. This game sounds better in stereo then is does in surround, that's why I suggest the headphones. The only place I really noticed great surround sound was when I listened to the audio tapes in the game.

My only complaint would be the amount of memory this game takes up on your memory card. Almost 1.5mb just to save. Then the same for each album you make. You don't have to keep one or more albums, but they are very cool. I keep 3 albums. (note: be sure to read the manual about making albums. Many people become confused about this.)
I suggest you get a 16mb or a 32mb memory card if you keep more then one album. You can get a 16mb or 32mb on the Internet for around $20 these days.

I suggest you purchase this game. I think renting it would take a lot away from the enjoyment factor.
You see, when most people play this game they find themselves only being able to play for a short time because you get so involved that it wipes you out.

So all in all...
When/if you get this game, don't expect to be marveled by powerful warriors, firepower or witchcraft...but rather, the sound of the floor beneath your feet...The shadows cast by your flashlight, making the room seem to come alive...or the feeling of being watched everywhere you go...and most of the time...knowing it.

When it all comes down to it, it's just you...your camera...and the hope of finding Miku's brother before you are consumed by these forces that seem to twist and weaken your grip on reality with every creaking footstep...every photo taken...and every heartbeat felt...of what might seem like an eternity, in Himuro Mansion.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 04/24/02, Updated 04/24/02

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