Fatal Frame 2
Game Info
Platform(s)
PS2
Publisher
Tecmo
Developer
Tecmo
Genre
Survival Horror
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Blood, Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Awesomely detailed gameworld
• Exceptionally creepy audio
• Excellent story

The Bad

• Running animation too slow
• Ghost theme may not work for everyone
• May need to invest in adult diapers

 
Grade
A-

Set in a different time period as the original game, Fatal Frame 2 starts as twin sisters Mio and Mayu Amakure wander into the haunted village, All God's Village. Because Mayu is sensitive to the paranormal, she runs off, leaving Mio to search for her amidst the mystery and restless spirits. Lucikly, she's located the Camera Obscura, a supernaturally powered camera that can be used to take photographic clues and even damage hostile spirits. As the story progresses, those familiar with the first game will find many similar themes, including the shrine maidens and the sacrificial rituals. Since the game is very much of Japanese influence and theme, it's not hard to see the mark that the movie The Ring (or Ringu in Japan) has left on the game.

As with most titles in the genre, the core gameplay behind Fatal Frame 2 is exploration for items and clues, puzzle solving and monster combat. In FF2, though, you're given a magical camera to defeat the enemies. As you walk around, the filament will glow, letting you know when you need to break out the camera. When it glows blue, there is either a clue-based photo you need to take or a ghost that is bound to a location. At times, ghosts will appear for but a few seconds. Being quick on the draw will allow you to snap pictures of them for points. When the filament grows orange, you'll be faced with hostile spirits. Ready the camera and let the Capture Circle charge up. The more the camera charges, the more damage you do and the more points each shot will earn you.

The camera comes with abilities of its own, including the power to Slow or Stun a ghost. Throughout the game, you'll find Spirit Orbs, which can be equipped to certain aspects of the camera, including Range, Accumulation, Sensitivity or the powerup lenses. Once equipped, players can spend points earned from their photos to activate these powerups. Players will also gain special functions for the camera, which you can choose to equip, including the ability to see their health gauge. You also gain the Instant Function, which can detect a Fatal Frame shot, where you can take high damaging shots that also allow to take a second shot for a combo. As with the previous game, players will find different types of film which can be equipped with varying degrees of damage that they can inflict.

While the game controls with the left analog stick relative to the camera (Devil May Cry), once you switch into camera mode, the control setup is a little different. The left analog stick controls the camera, while you can move, albeit slowly, with the right analog stick. The in-game camera is often set at certain angles but will move along to follow the character in certain locations. And since you can look around with the camera, most of the issues with the limited camera angles found in other games doesn't exist here.

I have to give the guys at Tecmo some credit for pulling together an excellently horrific story and really pushing the audio and visual aspects that make this game so intense. To make matters more creepy, you can likewise find crystals along the way the can be played in a Spirit Radio you find. These crystals help give players snippets about the story and work on making the game feel more creepy.

While the first game looked pretty good, Tecmo has really stepped it up a notch. The gameworld for Fatal Frame 2 is extremely detailed with a lot of effort to make it as lifelike as possible. The village exhibits a lot of touches that play the run-down, haunted aspect convincingly. Some finely-detailed texture maps and spectacular lighting make the dark world quite terrifying even without ghosts. The ghosts themselves range from pretty normal human-like entities to some horrific monstrosities that move in inhuman manners. The human character models are well detailed, but a little stiff in animation. CG and real-time cutscenes are wonderfully realized devices that drive the story well.

The audio portion of the game goes to great lengths to drive the spooky atmosphere home. Sound effects and spiritual voices rattle at the nerves. You will often find yourself walking by a locked door, hearing voices carry on conversations or haunting laughter. While not outstanding, voice acting is pretty solid, especially the voice samples used for the Spirit Radio. Music is composed of dark ambient elements

Much like in the first title, the controllable character runs WAY TOO SLOW. Her running pace (which requires you to hold a button to run) is comparable to most other games' walking pace. This makes any backtracking a slow process. Probably the biggest thing that may not draw people in is the heavy ghost-based theme. People who find movies like The Ring boring will want to pass on this one as it bases its draw on the same kind of horror. Also, as with many of its ilk, the game doesn't add too many new elements, so you may find the gameplay pretty similar to the first game.

When it comes to scaring the crap out of players, Fatal Frame 2 can't be beat. For those looking to shoot up a ton of monsters or zombies, this may not be your cup of tea. For players looking for a terrifying tale that's swmped with ambience, look no further.

- - Kinderfeld

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