on November 15, 2004
I bought this game on a whim because of the cute anime-style girls featured in the ad. I have never particularily enjoyed Survival-Horror, because I find most games in the genre hard to control and I'm usually dead before I know what's going on. (Heh...typical girl, huh?) This game was totally different than anything I have ever experienced.
The voice acting was tolerable, but the fright factor is incredible. If you are scared by the atmosphere of Japanese movies like 'Ringu' or 'Ju-On' - this is the game for you. I tried playing in the dark alone and had to turn it off after 5 minutes. Through *all* the Silent Hill games only *one* moment frightened me, so it's not like I'm scared of everything.
The controls are easy. Aim at a ghost and shoot camera - a lot more exciting than it sounds. Ghosts move slowly toward you sometimes and you have to wait until the appropriate moment to snap the best shot - yikes. Some ghost charge at you with inhuman (*giggles*) speed, some teleport. The graphics and cutscenes are amazing.
Creative, unique, scary, and a welcome break from RPGs and FPSs-you really want to invest in this game. It is my favourite on the PS2 (sorry Final Fantasy...) because the story stayed with me well after putting down the controller. I've finished it 4 times - and I only wish I had an Xbox to play the Director's Cut.
on June 14, 2004
That is all.
No, seriously, folks, nothing at all could have prepared me for the beauty and artistry and downright good old-fashioned terror that I experienced while playing 'Fatal Frame 2'. It's a magnificent, magnificent game and really deserving of prize place on your games top shelf.
You play the part of Mio, a para-psychic girl who, along with her deeply psychic sister Mayu, get lost and trapped in All God's Village, a deserted town in the middle of a forest, some days before the sinister 'Crimson Butterfly Ritual' is to take place. Mayu, intermittently under the control of the spirits that haunt All God's, disappears, and Mio must find her and stop the mysterious 'Sacrifice' before it's too late.
Firstly, what's new?
Well, as with any competent sequel, there is an overall feel of things being 'tighter' - presentation, graphics, and in-game explanations of things are all much more accessible and beautiful now than they were before - and the game feels a lot more professionally done than the still-excellent original.
Sound is a huge improvement - not even in the Silent Hill series has sound been employed to make such a huge difference in the tension and atmosphere - and the manual is most definitely to be believed when it tells you 'This game is best played through headphones'. Try it in a dark room. Trust me :-)
The controls are excellent, the Camera Obscura (your weapon) is now far less complicated to use and a lot more satisfying to have as your primary weapon. The inclusion of the 'Spirit Radio' may seem a little overdone, but it's a nice touch nevertheless.
What really marks 'Fatal Frame 2' out as a Standard-Bearing game is the sense of real, palpable terror it inspires. The ghosts are horrific in their simplicity and all feels very much like classic Japanese horrors like 'Ringu' and 'Dark Water'. The innocence of the girls and some of the spirits' human personalities is drawn in stark contrast to the violent and shocking methods by which they attack. The game is also full of wonderful aural and visual vignettes, adding more atmosphere than I can say.
An excellent title, current King of Survival Horror (and I've got through 'The Suffering' and 'Siren' in the last two months) and a definite must-have, I can't rave about this game enough.
Get it now.
on May 21, 2004
Fatal Frame 2 is a slick and atmosphere-laden game full of great graphics and spooky sounds. Sadly, it gets all of these great attributes by copying them from the highly effective first game, and not by adding anything new itself. Impressive games have often been followed by equally impressive sequels, so why did I find this one less effective than it could have been?
Well, to start with, the haunted mansion of the first game was foreboding and terrifying, a deathtrap that oozed menace from every corner. Collapsed masonry and rotten furnishings gave a realistic air of paranormal inhabitance. The second game uses an entire deserted village as its location, but a lot of it is quite drab and empty, and the sense of claustophobia is drastically diluted when you go outside, as you are meandering through streets and open areas instead of confined corridors and annexes. The other reason I felt less afraid was that the ghosts just didn't cause the goosebumps I got in the first game, which featured apparitions of people who suffered traumatic deaths like the girl with the broken back, or the woman with her eyes ripped out, as well as totally evil prescences like the man with the unnaturally long arms. The ghosts in FF2 often just look like real people, sometimes attacking you with sabres or flaming torches like any other survival horror enemies, so you don't feel the chill of having to battle a tortured soul who is crying in pain. In fact one set of ghosts in the sequel is a bunch of children who surround you and play "tag" with you...hmmm, I'm getting nostalgic for the first game just writing this. There are plenty of hidden and vanishing ghosts to test your reflexes on, so at least that provides the same level of fun. Sadly, the control system is also still the same, and it's still awful. Mio and Mayu are devishly hard to control because every camera angle change means you lose the direction you are going in and bump into everything (which led to much screaming from me when trying to run towards some of the valuable "miss 'em and they're gone" ghosts). But luckily the Options screen does give you the choice between this and the Resident Evil-style of movement, so if you can't make this one work, you can switch to that one, which is a definite plus. But, once again the "run" mode is nothing more than a dainty trot which looks far too twee coming from characters who are supposedly fighting for their lives.
Actually, the two sisters are far less engaging characters than Miku in the first game, who looked and acted a bit feistier, and had some really horrific events to contend with. Although the plot in the sequel does gradually reveal some interesting twists and fateful turns of events for our heroines, the atmosphere never gets as dark as it could due to the fact that this pair are drawn like two big eyed, cute-faced girlies with doll-like expressions that barely change, so they did not get my sympathy or interest, and were just too drippy, especially Mayu, who spends 90% of the game as your computer controlled partner and just gets in the way all the time.
So, even though a sequel that simply refines it's predecessor can result in a better game, that hasn't happened here in my opinion. For anyone that is a newcomer, and likes the sound of this type of game, go and get the first one immediately. The whole camera sytem and the power ups that can be earned for it, the ghost attacks and the horrific explanation behind the unfiolding events work perfectly and effectively in that one, producing an all-round classic game. This one is a simple retread with two lead characters instead of one, and a re-hashed but less gripping plot. Plus, the explanation of why taking pictures of ghosts will actually defeat them is mostly just glossed over here, whereas in the first game, Miku had a personal connection to the mysterious camera, which made its supernatural abilities a bit clearer.
I'll balance this rather negative list with a few pros; namely that the game seems a fair bit longer than the first, with more chapters and more places to go. And at some points along the way (just a few), the ghost encounters prove exceptionally difficult. The battles are still fun, though. Plenty of tactical planning is needed, as well as nerves of steel because once again, the most effective photos can only be taken the moment before a ghost moves in for the kill. But in conclusion, I have to say that although the whole package is well delivered, and probably above average for a "survival-chiller" game, this time I just don't feel the hairs on my neck standing up.
on May 10, 2004
I've never played the original "Fatal Frame," nor have I really played the "Silent Hills" beyond a few token rounds at friends' houses. I usually go for faster-paced action/shooter games. But I wanted to try something in the horror category, and I heard and read a lot of good things about "Fatal Frame 2." Understand that when I bought it I had just come off "Shinobi." The awkward and defenseless adolescent girls of "Frame" are definitely an acquired taste if you're accustomed to ninjas with superhuman powers and weapons. But I stuck it out, even though I found it REALLY frustrating at first, and I wound up with a certain appreciation for it. And I have to admit - this game IS creepy. It's like the Japanese "Blair Witch" - in fact, it borrows heavily from the general atmosphere of that film. Two young twin girls, one with a bum leg, wander into an abandoned village and find that they can't get out. Turns out it's haunted by rather hostile and aggressive spirits, damn the luck, and guess what - pairs of twin girls appear to have played a prominent role in its bloody history. Fortunately the present set finds a magical "camera obscura" that allows them to weaken and capture the spirits Ghostbuster-style. Still, that's hardly a weapon, and the girls are anything but agile. "Fatal Frame" is well-described as a game of "survival strategy," with the emphasis more on avoiding getting killed than killing - in fact you don't kill anything; your enemies are already dead! The excitement is generated by the spooky visuals, the sense of suspense between "battles," and of course the battles themselves, which are accompanied by the mock-heartbeat pulsing of the controller. You can make fun of it all you want with your friends, but you probably will get just a LITTLE freaked out if you play this game alone in the dark in surround sound for the first time. The woman crawling out of the chest scared the hell out of me...lol. I was never quite "obsessed" with "Fatal Frame" the way I have been with other games, but I was interested enough to finish it. In short, I don't know how real heads of this genre rate this game, but I had some fun!
on May 5, 2004
This is, in my not so humble opinion, one of the best survival-horror games to date. The fixed camera angles cost me my life on more than one occasion, but other than that the controls are all relatively fluid and intuative. The viewfinder mode (a first-person mode used to combat spirits) can be a little confusing at first, and I wasted a lot of film when I first acquired the camera.
The plot is incredible in its complexity. I don't want to say too much about it, since it's simply more fun to piece it together for yourself. I will say that some of the items you use to uncover the story, such as photographs and film reels, are very eerie. In one film reel, which was supposed to have been filmed many years ago, you can see the main character with her camera for a split-second before it cuts to a Ringu-esque scene of a woman crawling out of a box.
The sound design is one of the places where this game truly shines. The distorted sound effects of ghosts are simply creepy, particularly with the ghosts who are speaking but are so garbled that they're unintelligable.
Why did I not give this game five stars? Because it did its job too well. This is the first game to have ever scared me beyond the startle-factor (where monsters, in this case spirits, jump out at you). I found it difficult to play the game for more than half an hour or so at one sitting. That is a personal thing, however, and others might find it to be less scary than I did. I still highly recommend it because it is, as I said at the beginning, one of the best survival-horror games to date.
on May 2, 2004
This game is the sequel to the scariest game on earth, and frankly after playing Fatal Frame i didn't think that Tecmo could pull off a game scarier then that. But Tecmo pulled it off and believe me...this game will keep you awake in the night and make you feel that maybe we aren't alone. In this game you vanquish ghosts using a one weapon combat system: a "Camera Obscura"...an old camera that uses exorcismal film to kill ghosts. And no...one picture won't kill a ghost, you have to take multiple shots. And what's even scarier is that you cannot see the ghosts without looking through the viewfinder...you're only clue is the camera filament that glows red when a violent ghost is in front of you and blue when a clue or non-violent ghost is in front of you. The graphics in this game are so realistic (e.g. The two main characters look as if you could touch them). And unlike other games like Resident Evil (not that i don't love the RE games but Fatal Frame II makes them seem like Disneyland) the characters act rational when a ghost appears...in games like Resident Evil, the characters never act scared or even show ANY emotions. In this game you take control of a young girl named Mio, she also has a twin sister, Mayu, who trails along. While you can't control Mayu, she has an extreme 6th sense and can lead you to clues.
Scare Factor: 10/10
Overall: Worth the $50...11/10
on April 25, 2004
Fatal Frame series have been evolutionized to a new level compared to other survival horror series like Alone in the Dark, Resident Evil and Silent Hill. The sequel messes up your entire being like no other. It comes as no surprise, as the Fatal Frame series shies away from stereotypical Western imaginery of Romero films, and novels from H.P Lovecraft and Clive Barker. It's main inspiration are from Japanese urban legends and folklores.
In Fatal Frame 2, CGs have black and white reel features with noise grains, I think inspired from Ringu or The Ring movies. The psychological horror is also strongly reminiscent of Ju-On series, where at times it is too dark to see anything, and spirits appear out of extraordinary in their own bizarre way. Spirits might creep out of closets, from above, below, or simply drop down like a mangled corpse. If you think Nemesis of Resident Evil is frightening, wait until you encounter Falling Woman or girl in Crimson Kimono.
Fatal Frame 2 also does more item fetching and backtracking more feverishly than other games I know of. While in other games, it is tedious and monotonous, it becomes a hellish experience to venture back and forth into familiar places because there are spirits that you dread to meet again and you'll never know what you'll meet. At times, you're stuck and nowhere to go and you venture around keep looking for clues while paranoid of freaky spirits.
Graphically-wise, Fatal Frame 2 is stunning. No aliasing glitches, stunning wall textures, and simply too many things to admire in beauty. Some spirits give out trembling aura, and you see tripply motion blur. These blurs lag the game sometimes when two or three spirits surround you. The passage to the caves and shrine is hauntingly beautiful if you look at the trees, these are simply stunning moments of Fatal Frame 2. Soundwise, there are occational hiccups where some voice acting are laughable and at other times it sends shiver down your spines. Replay value is quite good, with missions to unlock and costumes to be unlocked after completing each difficulty from normal to nightmare modes. Hard and Nightmare modes can only be unlocked after completing Normal mode.
Best played in the dark with surround on, because I know no other game that can give you a much surreal experience than that...except maybe Eternal Darkness.
on April 24, 2004
Truly a frightful masterpiece, Fatal Fame II leaves you in another world of survival horror with only a camera to defend yourself. At first glance you might think �gWhat a stupid idea�h or �gwhere is the hand gun? Steel Pipe? And or rocket launcher with infinite ammunition!?�h but I think that feeling of defenselessness just adds to the fear. Sure this is no normal camera (The camera has different lenses which act as different attacks) but it�fs still a camera, can you really have a sense of security holding a camera? The Japanese style level design is superb and is only out done with their character/ghost design. You�fll really come to appreciate the ghost design since you don�ft have a high powered focus on your camera. I don�ft want to spoil too much but the �gbattles�h you have to the ghosts are terrifying but the encounters which lead up to the �gbattles�h could cause you to wet your pants.
I always have a problem with English voice acting in games. I�fll admit it�fs tolerable in this game but I still think leaving the option of using the original Japanese voices would have made this game so much better.
As a big fan of survival horror games I was drawn to Fatal Frame but the thought of simply taking pictures of ghosts didn�ft appeal to me, boy was I wrong. With all the survival horror games I�fve played this game still scares me even when I replay through. If you're a survival horror fan you will not be dissapointed.
on March 25, 2004
Ok the only thing that can sum up this game is as follows: Psychologically Damaging. I must say I've never been this afraid of a game. I've played all the Resident Evil games and I must say they were cake walks compared to this one (although I must say after a half-hour, RE lost its ability to scare me... even alone in my apartment with the lights off).
The big difference here is that in RE is dealing with corporeal things... sure they may be around corners or jump at you suddenly from the ceiling/window/grave/etc, but they are still just zombies. In the end they still have to come at you and you've got a nice arsenal of weapons waiting for them.
Fatal Frame is much different in that regard. In FF you deal with the ethereal, things that can appear and disappear at whim, and don't need to open a door to go through it. The worst part is that all you have to defend yourself with is a camera... which means in order to take out one of these specters, you have to stare the thing directly in the face first.
If you are looking for something to make you jump out of your pants, this probably isn't the game you're looking for. This game has a much meaner style to it. It simply heaps on the psychological trauma gradually, so that when you are done playing a session you feel emotionally drained, and not in any kind of condition to go to bed.
Aside from the high horror factor this game totes, it's also beautifully done. The ambient music and sounds set the mood perfectly, and the scenery is masterful. The setting of an old Japanese village is well picked, and the rendering of the village itself is superb. The only problem is that sometimes doors are a little hard to see, but that is mostly because I wasn't used to looking for sliding doors. Plus had there been western style doors, the setting would not have looked authentic.
The big hiccup for this game is the dual character setup. While you can move at a mild pace, not fast mind you, your partner takes up the rear with a horrible limp and no speed to go with it.
So all in all I would recommend this game. But for those of you expecting Resident Evil, I suggest you rent it first. This game is obviously not for everyone.
on February 26, 2004
Alright, first off, understand that I am a big fan of the original Fatal Frame. When FF2 finally came out, I was phsyced - but a little skeptical. How could Tecmo pull this off? How would it even remotely relate to the first? Well, I have to say, I'm very pleased with the outcome.
Fatal Frame 2: Crimson Butterfly takes place in a haunted village, known as All God's Village, thrown into eternal night, forced to relive the night on which the Repentance occured.
Mio and Mayu Amakura are two twin sisters who have a keen phsycic ability, though Mio's is a bit weaker than her older sister's. Mayu, though, has a bit of a limp, from accidentally falling down a hill years ago while chasing after Mio. Mio, in turn, now feels guilty and is very protective of her sister. So, anyway, they return to this place of their childhood years, that's soon to be swallowed up because of All God's Dam that will be built here. After coming out of her thoughts, Mio looks up to see that Mayu is gone, and she sees her sister limping off after a fluttering crimson butterfly. Mio chases after her, and finds herself atop a hill overlooking a village, the sky now black, save for the full moon above. Thus sets the story for the game.
Mio and Mayu must live through the nightmare, discovering the past of the village and it's Crimson Sacrifice Ritual, and learning of past twins who have participated in the ritual - the Kurosawa twins, the Tachibana twins, and the Kiryu twins. (Of course, there are many more, but they arent' went into in detail in the game.)
A question that comes up often is, "Is this game's story related in any way to the first? If so, is it a sequel?" Yes, the stories are connected, but it isn't thrown at you in your face - you have to pay attention to understand how they're connected, and the game is not a sequel, but actually a prequel, taking place 20 - 30 years before the original.
The game is superb visual-wise, and greatly horrific. Fans of the first game, or fans of survival-horror in general should definately go pick this game up.