Siren: Blood Curse
‘Do not play this at night’ they should have put at the back of the cover. Eventhough it’s quite obvious that you would play a stealth horror game at night, I won’t advise it. After a couple of hours of playing paranoia will strike, making you pauze the game multiple times to see whether nobody’s hiding behind that closet in your room.
Siren: Blood Curse is set in the Japanese village of Hanuda, where an American TV crew arrives to meet an old ritual which involves human sacrifice. Once there they quickly find out that something’s wrong with he local “inhabitants”. You can best subscribe the locals, also known as Shibitos, as smart zombies that will be a pain in your ass. You mission is simple: save the reamining people and lift the curse that plagues the village.
Survival, that’s what it’s all about. Silently sneaking behind zombies, hid in closets or take your chance and bash heads with primitive weapons. In the game there’s all kinds of weaponry but don’t expect stuff like rocket launchers or shotguns, instead a steel pipe or some gardening tools will have to do. Impressive are the combos that you get to see when killing zombies. After each fight a short movie is shown where you get to see yourself giving the final and quite gruesome blow.
Siren: Blood Curse is divided into different chapters and episodes and can be compared to a TV series like Lost or Heroes where you get to see a short replay of the previous part and a preview of what’s coming. There’s four main chapters that are available separately or bundled together in the Playstation Store and those are further divided into episodes and scenes. Due to this extraordinary setup it seems like you can influence the way the game goes and you’ll each time be anxious to start on the next episode.
A very interesting addition is that of the sightjacking system. With these “powers” you get the possibility to watch through the eyes of other humans and zombies, which is necessary if you want to sneak past patrolling Shibitos. The screen gets split in two so that on the left side you see yourself in action, while on the right you look through the eyes of the one you’ve chosen. In total you can allocate three points of view to different buttons which allows you to have a good view on everything.
Graphically the game looks decent, especially when knowing that we’re talking about a downloadable title, but still some higher quality graphics and textures wouldn’t have hurt. Eventhough a 720p resolution is supported, the characters look vividless, the moves are chunky and the zombies could have used a bit more gore. But still, the graphics usually do what they’re supposed to. Like the mist that’s usually present and often surprises you when zombies suddenly attack, and the rough, grainy textures give you a feeling as if you’ve landed in a true world of horror.
The sound can easily be called excellent! A magnificent voice-acting that never goes over the top and which makes the game sound more like a TV show is present. To heighten the tension you’ll hear your heartbeat and the gurgling sounds of the Shibitos. Especially with horror games the music is extremely important and the makers have put more than enough effort in this.
The game keeps you on a tight leash. Your objectives are constantly renewed so that you know what to do. Each of the twelve episodes will keep you busy for 30 minutes to an hour which makes a total of about ten hours. Those that want to get to the bottom of the storyline can also go looking for the fifty hidden items in the game that give more information on the villange and its inhabitants.
The low amount of villagers, the relatively short lifespan and the wooden movement of the characters would have been fatal for the quality of other games, but with Siren: Blood Curse these downpoints are masked by subliminal sound, the nice sight-jacking system and the fact that you can buy this game from your seat. All in all I had a positive feeling after playing and if you’re still in doubt, then just try out one episode for €9,99 and see for yourself how it plays.