I’m not a fan of horror games. I get scared really easy. I play these games at daylight, with the door open, because I’m a pretty pussy. This was an example of that. This game was played in various times on the day, including midnight… but mostly at daylight. But what is Fatal Frame? Small spoilers will be included.
Fatal Frame is a franchise of horror games that started on the Ps2. I haven’t played any others (although I already have a patched translated version of the 4th to play as soon as the weekend comes around), but… okay, the setting is pretty simple and intriguing. You play as Mio, a girl with no backstory. One day, wandering aloud with your older twin sister, you end up in this village and can’t get out of it. The village is apparently a gatekeeper to hell, where ever since primordial times, they have been forcing twin couple to a terrible predicament: the elder sister has to killer the other sister. And since your twin sister goes cuckoo on cocoa puffs, she starts to think she’s the twin sister and runs at every single circumstance she can that would be unwise to do so. On this village, you see a lot of ghosts that try to kill you and your twin sister, and your only weapon is an antique foldable camera called the Camera Obscura. Usually it takes from 4 to 5 shots to get any ghost killed, unless you use the scarce good film that the game presents. There are also a lot of ghosts that doesn’t require a battle: with one shot, you get points and that’s it. But if you take too much time, the ghost wanes away.
This game sucks horribly. I had to play it because my girlfriend wanted to see the end, and she was scared of the game. I get scared easily with every single movie. For crying out loud, when I first watched The Ring, I had to wait till morning to go a sleep. The freaking Ring. But you know what doesn’t scare me? Ghosts. Why? Because they are silly. So, the entire 10 hours I played this game, I was bored out of my skull, while my girlfriend kept asking me to play a bit more and a bit more, while she got tenser and tenser and I kept laughing. At one point, I was humming the theme of Ghostbusters while capturing a ghost. And by the end of the 10 hour stretch, not even she was getting a kick out of the game.
But why? Why doesn’t this game work? Because no matter how good the story is, and believe me it’s good, it will get you wondering what will be happening next and there’s a cool plot twist near the end of it, if the gameplay sucks ass the game isn’t good. Now, I haven’t played the ps2 version, but reception in general to the Wii remake shows that the gameplay was upgraded, although the controls, that critics said were bad, weren’t really that bad of an issue for me.
What happens when you meet an unfriendly ghost? Well, at first, your radar freaking warns you beforehand. It would be like, in a Halloween movie, having freaking Navi from Ocarina of Time shouting at every corner: “Mike Myers to the left!”. Okay, you see the ghost. If it’s not the broke necked woman, you’re going to have a boring ass time. I say that because the broke necked women is stupid, and if she could hear me laughing, she would just go away. The gameplay mechanics make it that the closer shots take more damage. And when she goes too far away… she reappears looking at you, straight on, through the camera, just asking to “TAKE A PHOTOGRAPH, PLEASE!”. I have to admit, the first time I turned off the camera and ran away, the second to thousandth time, I just took a shot of her, and as she backed away as recoil of the damage, I laughed as she disappeared and tried that stunt again. Where was I? Oh yeah, the ghost appears. The ghost will start going after you, you have to wait for the film to be ready and a circle be filled so that you can give maximum damage… but let’s say you’re cornered. The ghost will hurt you if it gets you. So what you do? Well… you turn off the camera and pass right through it. Although the ghost appears to be this huge damage block, it has a damaging cycle: if it’s not on its damaging cycle, it’s just a useless blob. So, with enough timing and smarts, you can just go through her and not break a sweat. There are some ghost with one hit deaths, but that is more annoying that scary, because you have to redo a part of the game multiple times.
The game has multiple endings… and people at home thinking of doing multiple endings games: PLAY THIS GAME. This game is a perfect example of HOW NOT TO DO MULTIPLE ENDINGS. You have two endings on each difficulty: the ending where you go alone through a fence and flee from the village, without your twin sister, or the one you try to get your twin sister, and flee with her. The ending where you go alone is the same no matter what difficulty you play it in, but the second ending is completely different in each difficulty, no matter how you play the game. So, you know those games where the ending makes sense depending on how you play it? Not the case here. In fact, on the normal difficulty, which was the one I played through, the ending simply didn’t make sense considering the character that was presented to me on those 10 hours of gameplay… just a giant “fuck you” from the game developers.
Now, I’m not one to go out without a better recommendation. What would be a better horror game on the Wii? Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. Now, I will go on a limb and say to you already that it shouldn’t be considered a Silent Hill and probably got that name because “people wouldn’t buy a game called only Shattered Memories”, so the title was probably just a sells booster. Nevertheless, it’s a really good psychological thriller survival horror like game. But this one… is just boring. This is JotaKa, signing off.