Reviews - Games

Videogame: Haunting Ground

Good Doggo

Today I am writing to talk to you about a videogame called Haunting Ground, or Demento if you happened to pick up a copy in Japan.

The game was published by Capcom in 2005 for the PlayStation 2.

Summary

The story starts with Fiona, an 18-year-old girl, waking up in a castle dungeon, having recently suffered a car accident with her father, who doesn’t survive. She doesn’t remember much and finds her cage to be unlocked. Fiona has to explore the castle with the aid of Hewi, a German Shepard.

Through exploration and unravelling the mystery of the castle, Fiona learns that she carried an alchemic element called Azoth. Riccardo, the master of the castle, wants that element.

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Obscure Horror

Obscure Horror: Forbidden Siren 

Resist the Call

Today I am writing to tell you about Forbidden Siren or just Siren, depending on where you are. Siren is a videogame. A stealth/survival game where your characters have the ability to see and hear what other characters can see and hear.

Siren was released in 2003 on the PlayStation 2 and developed by Keiichiro Toyama. I’m talking about it under the heading of Obscure horror as the game isn’t well known and is more of a cult classic, though it did get some sequels and even a movie.   

Summary

Photo by Evgeny Tchebotarev on Pexels.com

The story centres around a group of people surviving a supernatural disaster in a small rural village in Japan. The story is told in a non-linear style with parts of the plot being told out of sequence.

The group first believe the disaster to be an earthquake but the truth is revealed quickly that it was no ordinary disaster and the majority of the population has effectively become zombies. They are hostile, with low brain function and almost impervious to harm.

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Reviews - Games

Review: Fatal Frame 2

When rituals go wrong

Today I am writing to you about Fatal Frame, in particular Fatal Frame 2. 

The reason I’m talking to you about the second game in the series and not the first is simply because the games storylines are not related and the story in the second game is better than the first one. It was designed to be a more interesting story purposefully due to people not finishing the first game (it was too frightening to finish lol, so a more compelling story was crafted, or so the rumour goes). 

Fatal frame is a survival horror game made by Tecmo and released on the PlayStation in 2003 and is widely considered to be among the scariest games ever made. 

The game follows twin sisters Mio and Mayu as they explore an abandoned village and experience encounters with the paranormal. 

During the game the player controls the protagonist Mio and must use a camera to defeat enemies and uncover the secrets of the village. There are two modes of gameplay, field mode and viewfinder mode. When in field mode, the player can examine items and search areas for clues. But when the camera is used, the game enters viewfinder mode, from where pictures of ghosts and scenery can be taken. 

I was hoping to talk about this game without spoiling anything major but found that it was impossible to talk in depth without ruining the game story wise. So, this is your warning, here be spoilers. 

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Katie Recommends

Katie Recommends: The Suicide of Rachel Foster

Scratching an itch

I feel like I’ve been giving you a disproportionate amount of recommendations lately, but honestly, I can’t help it. I find something awesome and want to talk about it and share it. Sometimes I do this in the form of reviewing and other times I don’t want to spoil stories or put ideas in peoples heads when the best way to experience things is via your own lens.

Besides, one of the reasons I created this blog was so I could gush about awesome stuff. I was tired of seeing reviews that were primarily negative, even if they were fun. I’m a fan of looking for positives and enjoying things, enthusiasm rocks!

That justification aside, today I want to talk to you about the Suicide of Rachel Foster.

I love video games, they are one of my top three ways to relax and experience a good story. I think games are a fantastic medium for the horror genre as they are immersive and effective in a way that books and movies can’t always be. You can do things in a game that you simply can’t do with a less interactive medium.

I’ve been replaying a lot of the Dark Pictures Anthology lately (another recommendation if you’re interested) and they have gotten me hooked on the photo-realistic, story-based games. Honestly, the walking-simulator type games are my favourite kind of games in the horror genre. They really let you experience feelings of powerlessness and thus tighten the ‘horror’ aspect. I get frustrated when you play a ‘horror’ game but you play as a badass, just putting me against horror-themed enemies does a horror game make.

Looking to scratch my photo-realistic story-based game itch, I picked up a copy of The Suicide of Rachel Foster and really enjoyed it. Check it out on Steam.

Reviews - Games

Review: Pathologic

An amazing but also terrible game

Today I am writing to you about a game, it is a divisive game. A game that has been praised to hell and back by those that like it and pretty much outright ignored by the rest of the world. 

Rock paper shotgun has called it the best game you’ve never played. 

Yup, today I want to talk about Pathologic.

Pathologic is a 2005 survival game developed by Russian studio Ice-Pick Lodge. It was released in Russia in June 2005 to a strong positive response. It was then released to English audiences in 2006 to a less positive response, in large part due to a poor translation. A re-release with a new translation took place in October 2015 and currently a remake is in progress, with part of it being released in 2019. 

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Reviews - Games

Review: Misao

Spooky school kids are spooky

Today I want to write to you about a plot-heavy RPG Maker game called Misao.

Misao is a survival horror and puzzle game developed by Sen and Miscreant’s Room released in May 2011. A remastered version was later released on Steam in October 2017.

Overall, my feelings towards this game are mixed. While I was playing it, I enjoyed it. It is mysterious and fun with effective jump scares and a gripping plot. There are also lots of scares that are not jump scares, it is creepy as hell in places, violent in others and tricky in some.

However, when I started writing this blog and got thinking about this game, I started to remember certain things about it that I was not a fan of.  There is a weakness in some of the characters and the game has a few moments that feel unnecessary and gratuitous, at least to me.

As I said above this is a plot-heavy game, it also has multiple endings and I will be discussing this below, as it is exceedingly difficult to talk about what makes this a fun and interesting horror title without discussing the plot fully. Because the epilogue is considered the ‘true’ or ‘good’ ending.

So, if you have not played the game through then this is your warning, stop here and avoid spoilers.

I also want to put a trigger warning here, this game involves sexual assault and rape of high school students, not to mention a lot of violence. 

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Reviews - Games

Review: Rule of Rose

Disempowering

Today I am writing to talk to you about the Rule of Rose, a survival horror game by Punchline. It came out on the PlayStation 2 and was first released in 2006 by Sony Computer Entertainment in Japan, by Atlus in America and by 505 games in Europe.

The game is set in England in 1930, and revolves around Jennifer who becomes trapped in a world ruled by young girls. The game director describes the game as an interactive movie, which should give you an idea on the gameplay.

In a nutshell this game is wonderfully creepy, getting the balance of story and disempowerment just right to keep you on the edge of your seat. The aesthetic and setting are powerful, giving the game both atmosphere and tension. The character’s, both the player character and the side characters you interact with are wonderfully developed and nuanced.

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Reviews, Reviews - Games

Videogames: Layers of Fear

Jump Scares with a Story

Once again, my letters return to the realm of horror videogames, an awesome immersive experience designed to suck you in, chew you up and spit you out.

The game I want to talk about today is Layers of Fear.

Layers of Fear was released in February 2016, and was developed by Bloober Team. It is an amazing horror game, it’s an exploration of the human psyche, which is chilling and likely to leave you uncomfortable. 

I did some research before playing this game and wasn’t sure I would ever end up playing it much less writing about it, as it sounded like something that relied on jump scares in order to be scary which is not my favourite kind of horror game. However, I am very glad that I gave it the benefit of the doubt as while jump scares are present its the slow burn story that is the truly terrifying aspect of the game.

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