Siren: Blood Curse Review
- Posted August 5th, 2008 at 15:12 EDT by Michael Harradence
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Siren: Blood Curse is a compelling, if slightly flawed experience that serves as an excellent introduction to the PS3's growing library of survival horror adventure titles.
- The excellent audiovisual presentation
- The compelling storyline
- The intriguing Sight Jacking system
- The clunky controls
- That some episodes are extremely short lived
Developed by Sony Computer Entertainment Japan’s internal studio, the release of Siren: Blood Curse signals the influx of several horror-theme outings on PS3 in 2008, preceding forthcoming entries such as Silent Hill: Homecoming and Electronic Arts’ forthcoming Dead Space. More than just a mere doppelganger however, Blood Curse’s decidedly stealthier approach to the traditional survival horror experience excels in scares and implements some unique ideas to create one of the most memorable horror outings in recent years.
Essentially, Blood Curse is an Americanized reworking of the original Siren title released on the PlayStation 2 back in 2003. The game takes place in August 2007, and focuses on the efforts of a TV crew investigating the mysterious Japanese village of Hanuda, also known as the “Vanished Village." This village is said to have played host to human sacrifice some 30 years ago. Inevitably, things go awry not long after the crew arrive, and the group soon becomes embroiled in all manner of horrific events involving insane cults, zombified inhabitants, human sacrifice and a nefarious, intricate plot line.
At its heart, Siren functions as the quintessential survival horror adventure. Players will have to guide several characters across a series of highly atmospheric locations while completing various objectives along the way. Users will also be facing off against numerous undead foes, known as the “Shibito.” Your overall objective will differ depending on the character you are playing as at the time. On one hand, as a reckless young highschool student, you may be forced to evade a pursuing Shibito, requiring you to locate an adequate hiding space before looking for a means of escaping the surrounding area. At the other end of the spectrum, however, you may be tasked with finding your way out of a local hospital as a defenceless ten-year old girl, forcing you to utilize stealth in order to accomplish your mission, as opposed to brute force.
As you progress through the story you’ll also have to pick up the usual assortment of key items and complete various other tasks in order to finish your objective. Although they hardly challenge any of the pre-conceived ideas of traditional adventure games, they’re well integrated and ultimately varied enough to ensure that the core experience doesn’t become monotonous over time. Elsewhere, you can also obtain various documents and other items to flesh out the game’s archive component, giving you an intriguing insight into the background of the story, weapons and characters throughout the game. Concurrently, this also extends the games’ replay value by a substantial margin, as there are literally dozens of hidden items to collect.
As mentioned previously, the game relies more on stealth than outright combat, despite the fact you have over 50 different melee weapons available throughout the course of the game, in addition to a handful of assorted firearms. However, Blood Curse encourages you to avoid confrontation wherever possible, sneaking past your foes in an effort to get by unscathed. Alternatively, you can sneak up to a foe, weapon in hand, before knocking them out with a single, powerful strike to the back of the head (just make sure you don’t attempt to achieve this with a lacklustre weapon such as a frying pan, as my character regretted rather painfully). Naturally, though, there are times when your foes greatly outnumber you, which, combined with the claustrophobic nature of the game’s environments, can be exceedingly difficult to circumvent without simply battling your way through.
A key strategic component in evading your foes comes in the form of the Sight Jacking system. As with the first game, this intriguing feature allows you to ‘hijack’ your enemy’s vision, giving you precious information in regards to the area in which your foe is located. This not only allows you to see where they are in relation to your position, but you can also track their movements, affording you ample opportunity to sneak past while their back is turned. Additionally, you can also utilize Sight Jacking to locate a missing partner that you’ve somehow been separated from. Overall, this feature is incredibly satisfying and adds a compelling dimension to an otherwise tired and tested formula, though it must be said that dispatching or evading foes by more conventional means can be just as effective in the ... (continued on next page) ----
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