Forbidden Siren Reader Review
This game has to be one of the more confusing Japanese games for audiences outside Japan. Stuck in the village Hanyuda surrouded by blood red water, you take control of different characters to hide from the Shibito (meaning corpse person, which they cannot die). Eventually you find the little world in Hanyuda can be quite cruel, and at times, down right frustrating.
Although I myself found this story quite compelling from the start, I was fortunate enough to have the knowledge of the Japanese language and Japanese friends to help decode the book, Siren Maniacs. When you get your first mission, it seems easy enough..escape from police officer. Well, that's about as easy as it gets for some. At the start of every mission you will be given a objective you must complete to move on, but what the game doesn't tell you is that you also must explore your surrounding area for archive items, and trigger second mission objectives. At times to trigger a second mission requires that you really use your mind, or if you can't do that, an faq. Not that I beleive anyone who cannot figure it out is not smart enough to play the game, but the game itself does not give you hints. This is one drawback, for many found it too hard: They did not want to keep playing stages over and over again to do simple tasks they could have easily completed if only a hint was given. Even for that mistake, I still find Siren to be underrated.
Too often I heard people who played it saying, "Siren's story has no detail to it, it makes no sense, they rushed through it." But it is quite the contrary. As I mentioned before, you must have read the book, Siren Maniacs, to fully understand what is going on. It lets you in on the little secrets they throw in the game, gives backstories to puzzles you may have come across and thought, "How does this fit into Siren?" I will not go into detail about them, for I do not want to ruin it for anyone who might want to play it, but it's a game that needs patience, and quite frankly, time on a game forum of people who've read the book and can tell you what's going on. Unfortunatly, the book does not come into any other language but Japanese, which I can assure you caused some very loyal fans of this game to be quite upset.
Even for all the simple things that could have made it easier to play, the graphics sure bring in that sense of doom; no matter where you turn there might be a Shibito hiding close, which you may not see through the thick fog (countless times did I run straight into one of these things). And at times you will also hear them laughing or talking if you sneak behind them, their distored voices echoing behind you while you try to find a way out. The way the characters move is more how a real person would react in the situation. You do not get machine guns to blow holes in your enemies, instead you use your mind, you use stealth. It could be as easy as distracting a Shibito into a building then running to escape where you're at, or more complex as finding a way to electrocute them (in water, of course) to steal their weapon.
This game is also dubbed over. I wished they would have given the option to listen to it in the orginal Japanese, but instead they have British actors assuming the characters' roles. Now, many people would say that is absurd, Japanese people with thick British accents? They did the best they could, and although the orginal is almost always better, the game was not affected enough by it so that it completely ruined the experience. The voices had life and vigor to them and that's what matters.
All in all, I was happy to go through all the frustration of finding my way, even if not at all times it made sense. For all it's flaws, it still does have a compelling story, and one which should be more cloesly listened to before bashing it. If you have not played Siren but are interested in it, remeber that even though it may be a game you want to throw acorss the room at times, pateince really does win in the end.
8 / 10