At the beginning of 2000-ies a series of Project Zero, better known as Fatal Framewas one of the worst in video game history. As time went on, the platform succeeded each other, there are new projects, and Fatal Frame until 2008 waiting in the wings in the shadow of eminent brethren. Exclusive system Wii fourth part, Mask of the Lunar Eclipse from Suda51, was never released outside Japan. In turn, a remake of the second part at sunset the life cycle of the system went unnoticed. Released on the Nintendo 3DS as the offshoot Spirit Camera does become a failure largely due to poor management, technical problems AR technology and the need to play in good light. And here before us is Maiden of Black Water, which promised not only to revive the lost heritage, but also to significantly shake up the stagnant genre.
The new part of the Fatal Frame not only refers to classic Japanese horror, like “Call” or “Curse”, but inspired by a very real place Aokigahara, where disillusioned with the life of the Japanese, despite all the efforts of the police, find their final resting place. However, in order not to compromise once again the symbol of Japan – Fuji, which is situated next to the spooky forest, the developers as a starting point, chose a different mountain – Hikami, which is now inhabited by ghosts and the representatives of the ancient cult.
To Maiden of Black Water , you play as one of three characters. Yuri Kozukata, which with the help of psychic abilities save for the missing residents of the town at the foot of the mountain; the author of the mystical stories of Ren HOJO and searching for long lost mother Miu Hinasaki. The characters are closely linked, that together with the numerous notes disclosing additional details, make divided into episodes of history similar to the Chinese puzzle. And although the game is quite leisurely in its development, the story of the Maiden of Black Water is capable of holding your attention from beginning to the end.
Following the tradition of Japanese cinema, Maiden of Black Water is characterized by a slow pace. The camera slowly glides over the everyday objects, focusing on details. Outside the window rain, Cup of tea breathing the steam on the carved table. Cool stillness pierces every second of this story. The characters slowly pick up objects, move around your home, slowly open the door and all also torqued forward boxes with forgotten kimono. This slowness applies to the entire narrative. You gradually explore dark forests, abandoned temples and hotels, solve puzzles… and everything is also slowly expelled the ghosts. Cautiously extending a hand to the magical character of the film or the drink can be attributed to the fear of phantom hands, which strive to pull you under the earth, but the same slowness during battles with ghosts looks at least strange.
The next problem is the overall linearity. If your time learning the game on an invisible leash is holding you to the correct route, showing all the main elements of the game, the limitations in the rest of the story is already a serious problem. Developers are not just allocated a separate button under the Ghost of Navigator that shows you the right direction, they still restrict all the other open at first glance the field of internal monologues. You want to see what is to the right of the main path? The character you will report that can’t go in that direction, just because she had to go to a hotel, home or to save someone. Restriction of freedom for a project built on research, is a serious mistake. Of course, in the last mission, the player finally give freedom of movement for all locations of the game, which was lacking from the beginning, but, in fact, all of the remaining thirteen missions, the authors really lead the player by the handle.
As if it may sound paradoxical, but the main problem of the game is that it came exactly on WiiU. Attempt to use the gyroscope, touch screen and other chips with this device ruin the gameplay, reducing it to an annoying struggle with a crooked system.
For example, some of the hidden items and objects should be photographed only under a certain angle. But in order to make the desired picture, the controller must rotate to the correct angle. During the game, WiiU–gamepad is fully discharged in 2.5 hours, and rotate the device with cord, given the required degree, is quite problematic.
But even without the cord location the system determines is not always true, frame camera jumps, and when you start the battle, where the enemy quickly moves to the side or behind, sitting on the couch to turn the sight quickly becomes a real problem. Designed to remedy the situation STIK, but it does not give the desired speed, therefore, does not solve all problems. Authors definitely should have paid more attention to the management, making it more responsive and intuitive.
But that’s not all. To change the film in the camera to use a medicine or a cleansing from the contamination of the solution, you need to break through the ranks menu. Moreover, no one warns that ending the film – you just can’t photograph. Given that the screen flashes from enemy attacks, you can decide that you are cursed (in this case, you also can’t take pictures) and drink very expensive and rare healing potion in vain.
As with all games in the series, Maiden of Black Water the main weapon against the enemies is the camera, known as Camera Obscura. Not only do you search for with it, the supernatural activity, solving puzzles, and banish ghosts, taking pictures of them during attacks and exposing weak points. Using the camera at the right time, you can cause maximum damage to the enemy – Fatal Frame. However, the ghosts actively resist the expulsion, dissolving into the air and attacking from all sides, trying to destroy your character.
You may also avoid attacks, but it is not much help in the battle with the bosses. In addition to the endless film, there are four kinds of negatives, which differ in cost and inflicted damage. New cartridges you can buy for points, finding the area or to discourage ghosts. In addition, units of illusory experience can be used for leveling the camera, making it most effective against bosses and random spirits.
After long-awaited victory over a Ghost or group of ghosts, each of them can be touched and see their last thoughts and feelings in the form of video inserts, which then can be reviewed in the menu. As to the new features is Wetness Meter, the meaning of which is the gradual “soaking” of the player from the attacks of ghosts and weather conditions. Completely wet the character deals more damage, but more often subjected to attacks by ghosts and invasions of phantom hands. The controversial solutions include the abandonment of traditional Ghost List, consisting of photographs of vanishing and hidden ghosts, and the addition of the integer part about Ayane from Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden. The authors tried to force the gamer to exercise in hide-and-seek with ghosts, but this initiative was not successful because stealth is practically impossible due to improper control character.
Maiden of Black Water differs from the previous games, primarily the General tranquility of the place, no mortal danger for the player. Do you not feel re-experienced the massacre that took place in ancient times, you is not running crazed Ghost with a bloody weapon in his hands. The game is really atmospheric, it has a few scary scenes and moments, come across a good screamer, but to call it chilling or frightening to needles is quite difficult. Sometimes it is unpleasant, repulsive, sometimes nasty, overwhelming assaults. People by cutting his throat, hanging, corpses falling from the waterfall, the hair, dragging you into the dark waters, ritual murder, blood and cults – it’s all there, but no paralyzing fear. Although, of course, this moment may be unique to each.
Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water – this game is old school, which thanks to the miracle appeared in 2015 passed the position of the platform. The failure of management, linearity and backtracking could put an end to this project, but the dense atmosphere, well developed characters and the plot are able to deliver the desired pleasure. Just keep in mind that the game has some topics that are contraindicated for minors and people with weak nerves.