Playing survival-horror games never made me long for new underpants, although I tried to make it as exciting as possible. I’ve put out the lights, locked the door and only played in the dark, yet nothing happened. Not even Resident Evil made me look under my bed for bloodthirsty zombies. When I started playing Forbidden Siren, I sincerely hoped to play an unbelievably scary game. Would I finally shit my pants during a survival-horror game? Cause that’s what their supposed to do, don’t you agree?
Why not, everything is possible, I thought. This is the first attempt of Sony Computer Entertainment Japan to make a survival-horror game, and they might want to prove that their capable of scaring people. The story is, as predicted, very gruesome. As in “Eternal Darkness”, you have to play with a group of people (in this case, 10 shiny happy people) that are somehow connected. As the game evolves, you get to know more about some strange happenings. A Japanese town seems to be under the influence of strange powers. All the rivers are turning into red and bloody waters. Everybody who touches this will change into a bloodthirsty zombie who will then again throw other people into the river, turning them in potential murderers. If this continues, there will be nobody left to protect the villagers. But it seems that ten people are immune for this strange power.
When you start playing with the first character, you haven’t yet heard of your special abilities. A mysterious woman tells you how to use this gift. If you concentrate really hard, you can see through the eyes of other people. This comes in handy if you want to know where the zombies are hiding or when your partner has disappeared. If you forget to use this “sight-jacking”, you will surely die a slow and painful dead. You can also use it to aid your blind companion. If she can’t see you, you must use the “sight-jacking”. This way, she can feel and find you.
Am I scared yet? To be honest, I’m not really impressed by the scary aspect of the game. The environments are, on purpose or not, grey and covered in mist. It gives a nice touch of claustrophobia to the game, but we have seen these tricks over and over again, it hardly works for me. By the way: my regards for the designer of the characters. They all look fantastic until they start talking and showing expression. They all look like bad actors in a B-movie named “Toilets and used paper”. It really gets bizarre when these Japanese characters (with Japanese names) begin talking with an English accent. It’s like a ballerina with a D-Cup, you know something isn’t right.
Survival-horror games are of ill reputation because of their illogical puzzles. Sad enough, Forbidden Siren is no exception. You will have to deal with gates which won’t open unless you brake them with a hard object, a crowbar for example. Now, you have to walk half a marathon to find this crowbar, while normal people would have just jumped over the gate. Also irritating are the zombies with pistols or sniperguns. They may always bother me with wooden sticks, but I can’t appreciate zombies killing me with their double shotguns. It gets even more irritating if zombies with a snipergun kill you from a distance. The sight-jacking system helps you to avoid these unnecessary killings, but you have to get used to this system first. Until then, you will get killed by snipers, live with it. The missions are rather indistinct. You will mainly have to walk from one point to another in the environment. It could happen that you pick a wrong road, because there’s no map available. Do it again until you find your way back is the only answer. Trial and Error are well-known in Forbidden Siren.
Sony Computer Entertainment Japan has not succeeded in frightening me, though it was a nice try. Forbidden Siren can’t win against games as Resident Evil or Silent Hill because of some stupid mistakes and a lot of negligence. The atmosphere in the game is nicely done though. You must decide for yourself if you consider a nice atmosphere important enough to buy this game. It didn’t scare me, yet this could be explained by the crew meetings with my other Fragland reviewers. A half year of writing here made me immune to all kinds of horror