50 of 57 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I am in love with the Ju-On and Grudge films, there is just something about them that draws me to them more than any other horror movie. I have watched both Ju-On films, The Grudge 1, and 2 films many times, and just watched the recently released Grudge 3 and was very impressed with that one too. Even though I have the films almost memorized, and I know when all the scares are going to happen, they still manage to creep me out. So, when I heard that a game based on the movies was coming out, I was both excited, and skeptical. How would they make a game out of movies that do not have a happy ending? Where the characters have no weapons to fight, and no matter what they do, will always get killed. Would you get some mystical weapon to fight the ghosts with, would there be other ghosts other than Kayoko, and Toshio? I mean, how much could you do in a game with just two ghosts? I knew if the game had weapons or other ghosts to fight, it just wouldn't be faithful to the films.
All of these questions ran through my head, and reading previews didn't help much because a lot of the previewers seemed confused about what kind of game this was. Some previews said the game was on rails, others say it controls like a first person shooter. Some claimed you couldn't die and therefore the game wasn't scary, and on, and on. I really didn't know what to expect until I popped the game in my Wii and had at it. Well, I just beat it and to be honest folks, coming from a die hard fan of the films, I couldn't be more pleased. Lets see why.
Story: There isn't really a story to the game, it's just about a tragedy that strikes a Japanese family, and you as the player live the tragedy through the eyes of each of the family's four members, the mom, dad, son, and daughter. That is pretty much it. You won't have any journals to read, or story cinematics to watch.
Controls: The controls couldn't be simpler. You only use the Wii remote. The entire game is played from the first person perspective. Each of the characters have a flashlight and you use the remote to control the flashlight and for looking up, down, right, and left. The B trigger is used to walk, so you just point to where you want to go, and press and hold the B trigger. You use the A button for interacting and picking up objects, and pushing down on the directional pad lets you walk backwards. You cannot strafe, and instead either have to stop, and turn when you want to change directions, or steer yourself left or right while walking. I guess you could say the characters control like a tank. The controls work well for the most part, though I'd like it if they felt a little smoother when you are looking around. Fortunately, during the games quick time events, more on those later, the controls are 100% spot on in my experience.
Graphics: The graphics are fantastic with great lighting and shadow effects. The ghosts, especially the woman, have a lot of detail on them, right down to their eyeballs. The environments, combined with the flashlight effects are creepy as hell. Whether you are walking through the rusty and dirty abandoned factory, exploring the halls of the abandoned hospital, or trying to shake off Kayoko as she gets right up in your face, with her eyeballs rolling up in her head, the graphics never failed to impress.
Sound: Wow, the sound is just as good as the graphics. There isn't much music in the game, used only during the menus, QTEs, and during scares, but what is there is good. It's the sound effects that truly shine. While you won't hear much music, you are always hearing something, whether it is the trademark Kayoko throat sounds, Toshio's feet slapping on the floor as he runs by, your own footsteps, which change depending on the surface, or just the strange noises you'll hear, the sound effects also never failed to impress.
Gameplay: Okay, first and foremost, this is not an on-rails game like House of the Dead, or even Killer 7. No, you walk around just like you would in any first person shooter. You can walk, look up and down, and examine every nook and cranny. NO RAILS. Now that thats out of the way, on to the gameplay proper. There are five episodes to play, with each one taking place in a different location, and with a different family member, except the fifth, which has you playing as an earlier family member. The locations are the Abandoned Factory, Abandoned Hospital, Derelict Apartement Building, Beauty School, and the house, which is replicated perfectly. Each family member plays the exact same, and the goal of each episode is to escape the area with your life. You explore each area with a flashlight that you have to find batteries for. The flashlight is like your health meter. The battery life slowly dwindles away, and when the flashlight is all out of juice, its game over. Fortunately, it is easy to find batteries, and I never had a problem with this. Still, it brings an urgency to the situation as you can explore, but you have to keep an eye on the battery life, and for extra batteries.
As you explore the levels, you'll find keys to open locked doors, no puzzle solving here, look for batteries, get scared silly, and survive quick time events. I've always like quick time events, and these are fun and I was surprised by how action packed some of them are. Usually what will happen is one of the ghosts will jump out and you'll have to shake them off, and evade them using on screen waggle prompts, like shaking your remote left and right, or up and down. As I said earlier, the controls are spot on when these events occur, and I never died from the game not recognizing my motions. Also, you'll have to be quick when the QTEs happen, because if you mess up, it's game over. So, contrary to what some previewers said, you can die, either from your battery running out in your flashlight, or losing a QTE. If you die, you have to play the level over again, no checkpoints, but the levels are short so if you do die, it won't take you long to get back to the spot you died in.
You unlock each level after beating the previous one, but the fifth and final level has to be unlocked by finding well hidden items in the first four levels. This would have been annoying if there wasn't some helpful people on the Gamefaqs message board, because the items are hidden a bit too well in my opinion. If you play through the four levels, but do not find all the items in each stage, you'll have to replay them. I didn't mind this simply because going back through a second time, I encountered scares that I missed the first time around. Also as I said, the levels are short and won't take you long to get through, especially when you know what you have to do. The whole game is short actually, you could, if you know where all the hidden items are, beat the game in one sitting, I would have if I didn't have to go back to find the hidden items. The shortness of the game could be a turn off for some people, but I think for the kind of game it is, the length is perfect. Of course an extra level or two wouldn't have hurt. Another thing some people have a problem with is the speed with which the characters walk. You cannot run, just walk slowly. I liked the slow walk because it added to the uneasy feeling I had while playing, but that is just me.
There is a two player mode using two remotes. One player plays the game like normal, while the other pushes buttons on the second remote to trigger scares. I didn't try out this mode so I'm not sure how well it works, or how much fun it is.
Closing: So the game is short, a bit on the easy side, and the characters can't run or strafe. No puzzles to solve, no weapons to use, and instant level restart if you fail a QTE. The game doesn't sound very good does it? Well think again, I had a blast with the game because it delivered exactly what I wanted: An authentic, scary, and atmospheric Grudge horror game experience, that plays a little differently than other games. The scares in the game are done well, and I jumped in my seat more than a few times. The scares are of the "Boo!" variety, but the game keeps you feeling uneasy while you are walking around thanks to the well designed,moody levels, and creepy sounds you hear. As soon as the game started I was sucked in and was literally on the edge of my seat the entire time I was playing it. For the price of the game, I was more than satisfied. If you are a fan of the films, or horror games in general, than give this a try. I'll probably bust this out every Halloween and play it. Thanks for reading my review, and I hope it was helpful.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
JU-ON: The Grudge for Wii is definitely not the "thrill-a-minute" scare-fest that some would have you think it is. But while this is not a very good game for serious gamers, it does fill a certain niche. If you are having a party, this can be a funny way to pass an hour or two. It's not going to scare everybody in the traditional sense, but it will startle you with the ghosts jumping out at you.
This game has different levels, all based on the point of view of a different member of a family. However, the object of the game is to guide yourself through each stage and figure it out. The first level is simple: your dog runs into a factory so your object is to get him back. Other levels have different settings, such as a hospital, a spooky house, and so on.
As you guide yourself with your flashlight, you have to keep finding batteries to keep your light lit. If you run out of battery power without finishing the level, you're dead meat. You also have to find keys to access different rooms. There are also a bunch of smaller random objects that play into each level.
Sometimes you will find a flashlight, but the game sees those as batteries too. It's one of the things that was definitely not as thought out as it could have been.
THE GAME PLAY
First and foremost, this game is not an open world game in the sense that most FPS games are. It is true that you get to walk around the levels to find things. However, there are predefined limits that mature and experienced gamers will notice right away. There are also no realistic physics to govern how you interact with your envinment. You don't have to worry about falling over the edge of a railing when you're up on a metal cat-walk. And if you see something on top of a pile of crates there is no way to climb and see if there is something up there.
Perhaps most frustrating is the slow pace at which you walk. No matter how hard you press the button you can't move faster. When the specters pop out to grab you, you have to shake the controller in order to start an "escape" where you finally speed up a little. But you cannot consciously speed up how fast you walk, which is annoying.
Game play is a huge weakness here for single-player mode. It's also the reason this game is more suited for kids. The slow pace and idiot-proof physics of the game add to the eeriness and make it easier for younger kids to make it through. But sooner or later everybody will notice how annoying it is that there's no way to fast-forward through going up those long stairs or walking back through that hallway again.
THE GRAPHICS AND SOUND
The graphics are average when compared to most video games. They are not bad, but they are not mind-blowing. The sparse dark visuals do help make the game a little spookier. It needs any help it can get.
If you look closely, as you explore the various levels you will see spooky evidence of the supernatural even when you don't see the ghosts. Fingerprints show up on windows and images of the ghosts are imprinted on various surfaces. Those images will disappear so you will miss them if you don't pay attention.
None of that is ground-breaking but they clearly did invest some time in the visual details of the game. If you like picking those things out it will at least help you enjoy the slower moments.
The sound is somewhat repetitive: every time you turn a knob the same sound chimes in. The sound effects associated with scares are more intricate.
THE MULTI-PLAYER MODE
While silly at times, the multi-player mode is fun for a party. The second player basically gets the ability to launch *scare* events to startle player 1. You have to press the B button in combination with one of the *panic* buttons (1, 2, +, -, A, control pad) - basically any button other than 'home.' You have to wait 15 seconds before repeating the same event. While they can be repetitive, they are also funny when well timed. It doesn't take long to memorize the *scares* in one-player mode, so the second player adds a much needed element of surprise. It won't keep you entertained indefinitely, but for an hour or two it's worth a few laughs.
THE ESRB RATING
This game's rating, M for mature, meaning 17 or older, seems overly strict. There is nothing in this game that would make me think that teenagers can't play it. Trust me, they've seen worse than this on network television. At first I made a point of trying to limit this game to the older kids in my family. Once we played it, it became obvious that most teens have played games with worse content than this. Actually, this game isn't really designed to be appealing to most people older than 17, unless they are novice gamers.
THE PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
The product description claims that "unlike any other product on Wii, this game foregoes slow-paced story elements to offer immediate gratification with scare after scare." That's so untrue that it's laughable. There's nothing wrong with a slow pace in a role-playing game or mystery solving game, which is what this is. But they have over-sold this game, and that's why people will be disappointed.
Unless you are a die-hard fan of the original Ju-on movie or The Grudge remakes, you may want to rent this title before buying. I haven't played Silent Hill: Shattered Memories or Obscure: The Aftermath yet but I will be checking those out soon to see if they are a little scarier.
This game picks up a star because I think it's worth a few laughs for a teen's birthday party or a Halloween get-together. Just be sure to turn down the lights, and don't spoil the scares for those who haven't played it yet.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I love horror games, and most of all, I loved watching all the Ju-On movies, both in English in Japanese. I love video games and horror movies, but this is sort of a let down. This game is really short, considering there's only like... 4 or 5 different levels to it. I guess that's why it only cost about $20. You get what you pay for.
As for the gameplay, there were some good and bad parts to it.
One thing I didnt like was that when you're moving around the game, your character moves REALLY slow. That's something that really annoyed me. But, one pro to that is that it's part of the game for you to go nice and slow, to experience the game and really observe your surroundings more, rather than to just breeze right through everything. The only thing you have, is a flashlight to go around with, and throughout the game you need to collect random batteries lying around, or else it's game over when your battery power runs out.
I admit, I did get surprised and scared at some parts, but others, they were just things you can expect to happen.
I guess when you first start the game out and dont know what's going on or what to do, the first few scares and surprises can really scare you. But as you progress through the game, you kind of get used to what's going on, and nothing really bothers you anymore.
Basically, in the game, you go around certain areas as different characters and collect some kind of remnants, and if you collect what you needed to, you pass that level and a new one will unlock. If you don't, you'll have to start that level all over again until you do. That would be fine with me, however, with the slow movement in the game, it gets annoying and redundant when you know EXACTLY what's going to happen and what you need to do, but you're forced to move at a slow pace. After you've collected everything, a final and secret level will unlock for you to go through and finish the game. All throughout the game, you will see lots of pop-ups and creepy stuff happen with that vengeful ghost (forget her name) and the little boy. Sometimes she'll grab you or chase after you, which is when you need to use your Wiimote for swift direction action to escape her, according to the arrows indicated on the screen. If you fail to follow the arrows, then you die and have to start the level over. (***WARNING, SPOILER***)But, at the end of every level, you end up dying no matter what, which is what I find kind of ironic.
This game was kind of a disappointment for a franchise that was doing so well. But then again, was there any movie-based game that was actually good?
As a haunted house simulator, I'd say it isn't that bad. If you want to play a game for a small scare for the heck of it, I'd recommend this game. If you want something to enjoy while you have a group of friends over, I recommend this game, especially cuz it can also be two player, where the second player can make more things pop up, and it's just fun to get scared or make fun of the game with your close buddies. If you plan to play this game alone, I recommend playing it in a room with the lights off at night, with the curtains closed.
Overall, this game isn't that bad, but it's not really good either. I feel like the producers didn't put that much effort into making it really good.
Would this be a game I play again? Most likely not. After finishing it, there's not really any point to go around again. However, if you find a level that you enjoy going through, then this might be something you would want to purchase. I may even play it again for fun with friends on Halloween or something, but that's it.