The digital delights of Sony’s scrumptious PlayStation Network service know no bounds. Aside from letting punters compete in online gaming, stream films, browse the Internet and more, its premier attraction rests in the copious supply of downloadable games ripe for the picking. From PSN exclusives to PSOne Classics, minis and plain old add-on content, Sony’s online space is chock full of goodies battling it out for your hard-earned digital dollars.
Welcome back to another installment of Inside PlayStation Network, where every Monday – Friday we’ll pluck a PSN release—be it new or old—and put it in the spotlight for a thorough dissection. Fancy getting a new PSN game but don’t know what one to plump for? Perhaps this feature will help. Didn’t realize that a game was available in your region until now? We’ve got you covered. Or, perhaps you were musing over what those lucky Japanese folk were tucking into over in the Land of the Rising Sun? You can be sure our coverage will extend to those rare regional exclusives as much as those firmly embedded on the public consciousness.
Today’s entry sees us packing a fresh pair of underpants as we gear up for Sony Japan’s fright fest, Siren: Blood Curse.
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Developer: Sony Japan Studio
Region(s) available: North America, Europe, Japan
The year 2008 saw a much-needed resurgence in the Survival Horror gaming space, with games like Dead Space giving the fledgling genre the sofa-soiling shot in the arm it had been craving for some time. Indeed, while it’s easy to heap all the praise on EA’s spooky sci-fi spectacle for reviving Survival Horror’s mainstream appeal, we think some of the donkey work had already been done thanks to Siren: Blood Curse. Sure, it wasn’t the commercial and critical darling that its contemporaries achieved, but in terms of execution, the Sony Japan-developed horror romp ticks all boxes in the proverbial pant-wetting checklist. Up for grabs in 12 episodic adventures, this bite-sized blood fest is a quintessentially Japanese horror romp ripe with equal helpings of stealth, exploration and compelling storytelling. Essentially a remake of the PS2 iteration, it offers a welcome introduction to the series without the need to acquaint yourselves with the original source material.
Blood Curse follows an overly inquisitive TV crew as they snoop about a sleepy, picturesque Japanese village that has a rather alarming penchant for ritualistic sacrifice. To make a long story short, sirens quickly start to blare, undead crash the party, the group is separated, and it’s a long slog through the rain-drenched night to survive. Players hop in to the shoes of a varied bunch of have-a-go-heroes, including head boy Howard Wright, courageous father Sam Monroe, gun-toting Seigo Saiga and 10-year-old trembling ankle-biter, Bella Monroe. Chapters contain a number of diverse, character-specific objectives to tackle, taking you to locations ranging from a dilapidated hospital, a spooky forest, to the village itself. Although stealth remains an underlying focus, with characters encouraged to venture about in a surreptitious manner, combat still rears its head as a necessary component from time to time. There’s no Lara Croft-esque arsenal here, however. Instead, players have to make deadly use of bog standard items ranging from kitchen utensils, planks of wood, iron bars, and other innocuous-looking objects. Firearms also make an appearance, though they’re a little fidgety to use and take a backseat to the melee-based mauling.
Paramount to your survival, however, is the intriguing sight-jack system. As the name implies, this allows you to hijack and enemy’s vision and see things through their blurry, blood-stained stare. Not only does this allow you to twig where you foes are lurking — enabling you circumvent any threat in the process — it also proves handy for exploration purposes, giving you the skinny on what lies ahead. Just as well too, as there’s a myriad of monstrosities — dubbed Shibitos — baying for your blood, including the standard variety, slithery spider-Shibitos, hulking maggot Shibots and other such ugly blighters. Aesthetically Blood Curse shares many similarities with Silent Hill, going for a grimy, dark palette drenched with an ample splodge of claret, rust and disarray.
As you’d expect, the game isn’t short on scares, with some nifty lighting and shadow effects working in unison to ensure a perennial sense of dread and foreboding as you tiptoe about the place. Sure, the game’s somewhat archaic controls may not resonate so seamlessly with everyone, but for a quintessential slice of old school survival horror, you’d be hard pressed to find something more rewarding than Siren: Blood Curse. Just make sure you come prepared: you’re bound to bake a few trouser brownies before the night is up. Check out our review here for more details.
Tune in again same time tomorrow when we take another gander Inside PlayStation Network.