Strange and scary, friends. The most recent, and to date, fifth installment of the legendary Japanese Horror franchise Fatal Frame has finally arrived on the major home consoles, for instance, the Nintendo Switch, and is released to the world for the very first time via PC. We’re sharing our thoughts on the game’s port.
- Producer: KOEI TECMO
- Publisher: KOEI TECMO
- Please note: On October 28, 2021
Let’s begin by stating the fact that Fatal Frame and Project Zero are not two separate franchises that share a shared universe, but a similar series of games have been released under the various name in different regions of the West as well as the East. I’ll be using an American Fatal Frame V in my review for convenience of reference, even though it is the name prefixed with Maiden of Black Water belongs to the Japanese version of Project Zero, which officially was released with only three numbers.
That’s right; Fatal Frame V is an iconic horror game set with suffocatingly dark shades of sinister Japanese folklore. The game came out in the year 2015, but there was no way for everyone to join following the release of Fatal Frame III: The Tormented multi-console project, it was made an exclusive Wii and for which they created Mask of The Lunar Eclipse (Fatal Frame IV) and re-released Fatal Frame II and, in actuality, the game was released as Maiden of Black Water.
The franchise will reach twenty years old on the 13th of December 2021. On this day, Koei Tecmo decided to splurge in bringing their latest game to a larger population. However, it is worth noting that the fifth game isn’t much better than the previous ones among the games, and even the games which are considered to be iconic are a lot older, meaning they’d be more challenging to play, and we’re not really in the place to “puff up,” are we?
The game’s events focus on the notoriously cursed Mount Hikami, which was once a sacred place that was desecrated through gruesome rituals that involved sacrifices. There are numerous sites of pilgrimage and shrines in the area; however, recently, suicides have been taking place frequently. The motives behind the people who commit suicide are not always clear. For example, a thoughtful but extremely active person went for an excursion in the gorgeous area, and on the next day, they discovered his broken body, a result of an accident at a high point.
Three of us play characters that are 17 years old: Hinasaki Miu (daughter of the protagonist in the first and third installments of the series) Kozukata Yuri, 19 years old (who can read spirits’ memory) as well as 23 year-old Hojo Ren. Ren is a novelist with a specialization in folklore. He tries to comprehend the events at the top of Mount Hikami.
They were instigated by Kurosawa Hisoki, who was endowed with the ability to predict the coming future for the proprietor of a small antique shop, The boy’s aid in tracking missing persons. In cases where the police are powerless, their unique abilities and expertise enable them to locate clues, and if they are not in this universe and then in another. At some point, Hisoka goes to the mountain at the request of one of the clients. However, she disappears. it’s then that her assistant Yuri is appointed to take over.
Hicam is filled with various spirits at sunset – tranquil, wandering through a tangle of near-death images and a tensely agitated. These are handled via the camera obscure, which is the most prominent aspect of Hicam. Instead of a gun, there’s a lens in place of ammo; you can find a variety of kinds of films.
Protagonists don’t simply take pictures of ghosts, but they attempt to capture the most effective position to inflict more damage by continuously shifting the camera around and changing the distance to locate the target areas. The principles of Fatal Frame are a snapshot of the spirit during an important moment, right before it slams directly at you.
Battles aren’t very dynamic. However, you need to react quickly, avoid attacks, change lenses, film the scene, and be careful not to get drowned in black water. this is the special mechanic that is the basis of Maiden of Black Water, which is similar to poison that continuously robs the player’s vitality.
The heroes are awarded photo points when they’re successfully captured and can then use to buy upgrades for Obscura, in addition to consumables as well as new costumes in between episodes. The wardrobe in the port version is also more luxurious featuring new outfits and jewelry for the three characters.
In addition, there is also the possibility of earning points in other areas besides combat. On Obscura, you can take pictures of the ghosts of the past that only show up in front of the eyes of the user for a short time before he can capture them. Sometimes, they appear in the form of “silent screaming screamers.” The spirit behind images conceals a creepy unnoticed detail.
Despite not being new, the game is good and highly frightening: chilling video clips with VHS-filters, a dark, hypnotic atmosphere in dark and narrow hallways. It’s also deceiving, nearly unaffected by quiet. There isn’t a lot of screaming, but the tension constantly builds with clues that are discovered or frightening encounters. There’s no way to guarantee that a tranquil spirit, viewed to you by your eyes as shadows, will not strike in the most unexpected moment.
The overall effect is detracted by the sexual overtones accompanied by stereotypical heroines dressed in shocking clothes. The camera continuously picks sharp angles and reveals glamorous girls’ stunning shapes, captures close-ups of necklines in thin, wet blouses, and highlights gorgeous legs and short skirts. What is effective in Shonen is a bit odd in Japanese horror.
However, did the developers steal their models and designs from Dead or Alive with their stunning physics-based hypnotic female breasts to make a profit? To appreciate this beauty will aid an additional feature of the port called Snap Mode (or Photomod) that game developers specially designed to mark the occasion of the Fatal Frame V release on PC and consoles of the future.
Sure, the setting in the game won’t inspire you to take pictures of everything and share it with all the digital photographers; however, the ominous setting creates some horrifying photos. What makes Snap Mode unique is that apart from the usual tools available, it can add characters to the frame that are playable or non-playable characters and highly collateral even spirits!
Unfortunately, Snap Mode just refuses to function in a large variety of locations. It simply says, “Not available at this specific location. As a matter of luck, I’d like to make use of it the most frequently at these locations.
If we leave aside the aging, weak spots, and the improvement of the game’s features, then from the disadvantages, I’d like to criticize a little, excluding the controls. The game has not been designed to work with a keyboard and mouse and the gamepad’s button; spirits are summoned (this can be described as local wayfinding) for some reason is considered the game to be the interactive key. As a result, there are some uncomfortable scenarios.
If you’re not a fan of J-Horror in any way, as well as the first Ringer and Curse appear dull when compared to American remakes, Fatal Framework or The Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water will not be a good fit for you. This isn’t Evil Within, not Silent Hill, and certainly not Siren. The entire game is interspersed with slow, drawn-out dialogue and very slow-paced gameplay, without screaming monsters and screams.
If you don’t own an electronic gamepad, you won’t be in a position to play Fatal Frame V usually. The game doesn’t have localization for Russian as well, as, without the fundamental knowledge of English, I’m afraid that you’re not going to have much fun this time – the intricate details of the Fatal Frame V storyline are vital to be able to understand and experience. The game is always an exclusive game, but I’m sure that fans will enjoy it. Perhaps not immediately; however, you’ll be frightened. Particularly if, in denial of the claims, you permit yourself to sink into dark waters by lowering your head.