Forbidden Siren Reader Review
I'll keep this review brief.
'Forbidden Siren' is a fantastic concept - the website, the back story, graphics and overbearing creepiness are works of art in their own right. Plus the inclusion of 'Sightjacking' is a stroke of genius, from a playability angle, as well as providing a tense atmosphere. But there's a major playability element that's missing here, which mars the entire experience.
After repeated attempts to replay the game in a more benign light (over the course of two years, I might add), I've found myself growing ever more frustrated by a needlessly unintuitive control system that, for the most part, seems to leave the protagonists' fate entirely out of the player's hands. This is where equally atmospheric titles, such as 'Manhunt' and 'Silent Hill', win out - when you die it's invariably your fault; the same cannot be said for 'Forbidden Siren'. For example, the lack of an auto lock-on for the rifle led to numerous replays of Akira Shimura's first episode and an eventual awitching off of my PS2; the quick turnaround (tapping the left analogue stick back) doesn't always work, resulting in characters dawdling in the face of an angry Shibhito and the character's unnecessary demise; the camera angles can suddenly change, causing the player to lose control of the characters momentarily - doesn't sound like much but, when a couple of bullets will kill a character, it's an awful inconvenience.
And that closing phrase sums the game up - an awful inconvenience. I did not feel as though I was playing a revloutionary horror title or a cult classic; I just felt as though I had been banging my head against a brick wall trying to enjoy a story that did not progress with any pace as people died or I had to replay a mission without any explanation, only to realise I had to find something like a flannel.
In short, games with compelling stories are great - but the stories will only unfold as the game is played. If part of the game doesn't work, I'm afraid the story won't either.
I just hope that the second game in the series does a better job.
2 / 10