The Japanese Horror Game Fans Have Been Waiting For For 15 Years

Ruka turns her back on a ghost in Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse.

picture: koei tecmo

An updated version of the 2008 survival horror Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse hits PCs and consoles tomorrow and places it in the palm of the non-Japanese world for the first time, with the game first official English translation and a supposedly refined player experience. This must be a huge event for us. Japanese horror fansall those vengeful spirits whose hair swayed long and heavy like seaweed and deadly frame Devotees who have been waiting for beluga whales to swim past for 15 years. IT should It will, but I’m not sure it will. The game is so silly.

For most of its existence, lunar eclipse mask it was a work of art that was sent to a strange medium, namely the Wii. And even though it’s the fourth follow up international popular deadly frame (where is the serial kawaii girls destroy ghosts by photographing them or what I call “creepy camera game”) and directed by horror writer Goichi Sudawas only available in Japan.

This insurmountable gave a mysterious thrill to opening the game on my Switch. I was ready to mix some of the secrets of 2008 with the salt and pepper grainy Wii graphics.

It’s like the hugely popular genre of Japanese horror movies circulating at least a decade later. 1998s ringu, lunar eclipse mask‘s story is thought-provoking and complex. Misaki, the forgetful 17-year-old, Madoka and Ruka arrive on the uninhabited Rougetsu Island. They were abducted from a sanatorium there ten years ago, and although detective Chōshirō Kirishima saved them and the other two stolen girls, the other girls are now dead. “They lost their lives,” Misaki told Madoka. The mystery of what happened to them and why it tormented the survivors, so they return to the sanatorium.

Welcome to Rougetsu Island

The first thing I noticed when I entered Rougetsu is the feathers. Everything in this game fits under the dusty grain that helps disguise some of the irregularities of the 15-year-old textures against the finer character models.

While the game is definitely more vibrant (relatively—everything in it is black, gray, or twilight blue) original shapeThe graphics update isn’t quite as impressive as one of the many other recent video game remasters, including the one below. Metroid Prime Remastered, dead spaceor Kirby’s Return to Dream Land Deluxe.

It doesn’t bother me though. Grain enhances the sullen atmosphere of the game. When the ghosts’ waxy faces turn as if someone had put his hand in a pond, the protagonist Ruka heard a chalky sound from a phone that wasn’t supposed to work, when disjointed memories of a failed ritual flashed back in her mind – all this enriched with flea-sized particles, making everything seem ready to crumble. like watching disturbing I found images or by American artist Francesca Woodman spectral, black and white self-portraits for a long time.

What bothers me is how bad this game is to actually play. Despite being in a haunted house full of dead girls, the protagonists walk unbearably slow, as if they’ve just discovered how to do it, and their ability to “run” is a marginally faster, crooked-legged movement.

Ok, I’ll take my time illuminating the dark corners, which is my flashlight (“stop shaking me/like/I’m a/toy” alarming) that brings out glowing items, including diary pieces, some pretty poetic note pieces from other girls, scribble from Madoka says) and red and blue crystal upgrade currency that you can add to your inventory. You can cash out the latter to improve your camera’s damage capacity and quality of life features like reload time.

While my flashlight is adept at revealing these objects, the game’s camera is less savvy. I position the Ruka just in front of the object at an angle that I believe is a perfectly reasonable capture angle, just for the game to immediately stop prompting to pick it up. As this continues to happen, the blue bar on my HUD that lights up whenever I’m near something that needs investigation seems to be teasing me.

After moving the camera to finally find exactly the preferred pickup point, I hold down A to begin the beleaguered effort to acquire an item. Releasing A takes Ruka out of the slow grab animation with a jagged camera pull. The same goes for the moments after you push open a door, pull the doorknob, or exit any cutscene; like a rubber band you will be back to the normal game. It makes interacting with the environment feel jarring and unnatural, especially since all the animations are deadly slow. As I progressed through the first episode, I came to believe that Ruka had taken an overdose of cough syrup.

Entering one of the game’s battles proves to me that it doesn’t, the game’s controls just suck the demonic ghost tool.

Potential starts to slip

Like deadly frame previous titles, Maskwithout the occult Camera Obscura, whose eyes are black and wide as dominoes, scaring with every flash. While most of the game unfolds in third-person with spinning heroes (I only get to Madoka and Ruka in my game time), using the Camera Obscura will shift you into first-person.

From the camera’s viewfinder, a red flash at the top of the screen indicates where a ghost is located. A blue circular indicator appears as your movie reloads, showing you how much damage you’re currently dealing if you capture the spirit in a photo. While there are more damaging film and camera attachments available to take as items (if you have the patience) around the sanatorium, what you really want to do is catch an attacking ghost in a “deadly frame” with a more deadly shot. indicated by veiny-looking blue spikes around the circular meter.

A ghost is captured in Camera Obscura.

A not-so-lethal framework.
picture: koei tecmo

The concept is simple enough, but the game’s choppy camera and clumsy-moving ghosts make it feel impossible, with ghosts that suddenly appear behind you and drain your health for as long as they can touch you. I scream as I face Ruka’s foes, not because I’m terribly scared – I report with some embarrassment – because I’m the type to let go of anger and want to stab my Switch with a knife.

I also didn’t have much fun, including the game’s cosmetic extras. totally mismatched belly dancer themed bikini You can put your young heroes. For example what? Do I need to comment on how strange this is?

It is strange. I quit the game, disappointed. Themed bikini aside, there’s a lot about lunar eclipse mask reminds me of horror movies that mostly end with female cult followers, like Jennifer’s body, Avalancheand a 1960 French film about beauty and disfigurement, Faceless EyesI also think it shares a lot of visual and thematic elements. Mask.

like those movies Mask not too busy with the idea of ​​having a virile, virgin last girl. She lets her heroines wear frilly dresses while seriously dealing with the emotional scars of their pasts, and doesn’t feel like she’s making fun of them for being soft or painful, according to my playtime. It can be a strong, subtly feminist horror, here femininity not a cause for traumaor the product of trauma is just another neutral aspect of humanity and spirituality. It’s the potential that I drew that got me excited about launching it in the first place, and I see this shimmer in the artistic design and atmosphere of the game. But the almost unplayable controls and unnecessary bikinis make me feel like they’ll never reach me.



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