Developed by: SCE Studios Japan
Classification: R16 Contains horror scenes. Contains violence.
The Japanese sure know how to do one thing exceptionally well in their video games - scare the living daylights out of you! Siren: Blood Curse follows a similar formula to previous titles in the series with a creepy and macabre atmosphere, eerie music and extremely graphic violence. Rated R16 and jam-packed with bloodletting and profanity, Siren: Blood Curse is definitely not one for the kiddies. It is, however, Japanese horror at its finest.
Siren: Blood Curse is separated into 12 episodes that you can download from the PlayStation Network - the first three episodes of which are available to preview. Episodes play out as if you are watching a TV show; one episode leads to the next and you are given a taste of what’s to come as soon as you complete each episode. The background story behind Blood Curse focuses on an island and its cursed inhabitants, beginning with an American film crew who are investigating strange occurrences on the island.
Although the gameplay is quite linear (meaning you can’t deviate much from the objectives), the action sequences more than make up for this. You start out controlling Howard Wright, a student who is visiting the island. Your first objective is to find your way past a police officer. The hitch is that the police officer is more like a psychotic zombie than a human being and his sole purpose is to kill you! At this point, you’re not quite sure why people on the island are behaving so strangely and it’s where things really start to get interesting.
Your objectives are clearly listed in order so that you know what is required to get to the next checkpoint. Some of the objectives may seem simple - such as locating a weapon - but can easily be complicated by random attacks of villagers (called ‘Shibito’).
The storylines and character development of Siren games are always extremely well executed. Because you can play several different characters in the story, you can experience the terror from many different points of view. Eventually you’ll play the game through the eyes of the film crew.
Keeping to Siren tradition, we see the return of ‘Sight Jacking’. This is the ability to use another character’s view instead of your own, and is useful for getting around the island much faster. Just be prepared for a bit of frustration as far as the controls go. To be able to Sightjack successfully, you must hold down the L2 button whilst tapping L1 or R1 to change view. Easy in theory, but it takes some practice to master.
Graphically, I wasn’t that impressed by Siren: Blood Curse. I was definitely expecting the game to look a lot smoother on the PS3. The first few episodes are played out in darkness (which makes it extremely difficult to see, even with the brightness setting turned right up) and this can often lead to a rather untimely death for your character. In fact, dying is a common occurrence, so if you’re new to the Siren franchise, be prepared to die - and often.
The creepy atmosphere is what truly brings to life the horror sequences – right down to the disturbing whimpers in the music. The proud tradition of Japanese horror is evident in all its refined glory in Siren: Blood Curse. This looks set to be another top title for gamers who enjoy their horror with a dash of action and a little supernatural freakiness. The episodic gameplay is a brilliant approach that should keep fans of the franchise on the edge of their seats. If you can’t wait to be scared all over again, Siren: Blood Curse won’t disappoint.