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Haunting Ground (PlayStation 2)

71
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.0
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Satsyrc (7)
Written on  :  Jul 26, 2008
Rating  :  3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars

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Summary

One of the best survival games I've played.

The Good

The graphics are pretty nice in this game, so the whole entire idea of being in a creepy mansion works out pretty well. The beginning environment of the game is pretty awesome looking and designed well, so it all fits to the situation.

The enemies in the game, at least the first two were interesting characters and I liked all of the cut scenes including them and I always wanted to re watch them.

After beating the game you unlock some of the alternate costumes, which in all honesty doesn't make you want to play all the way through the game again, but it does make a nice touch if you really want to go through it a second time.

The game kept my interest and did get harder in the later stages in the game when the areas required you to search through more rooms and backtrack to others while having less and less places to hide, which provides an always welcome challenge.

Having Hewie along for the duration of the game is a nice feature because if by yourself you don't have a very high chance of defeating the current bad guy or running away to a safe spot. Although sometimes the AI could be rather slow and not respond when you absolutely need it.

The Bad

This game shouldn't really be counted as a "survival horror". Never once did it have me frightened, though sometimes when running from the enemy my heart did race a little bit. But never once did the game "scare" or "creep" me out at all. It should be more of an action/adventure.

Since you never really know what exactly you have to do you can run around for a long period of time trying to figure it out and when you finally do and have completed a small chunk of the game you could have a random encounter to come and mess it all up. Which could become rather tiresome and boring if you have to keep running back and forth across the entire castle trying to find a key or activate something.

The random encounters can also be rather annoying at times, they can be spaced far apart, or you could have a couple of them within a small lapse of time, sometimes being caught at the wrong time, such as when you're trying to complete the current task and you have to run away and hide then go all the way back and do it again.

The AI for Hewie could be troubling at times, because there is nothing worse than when your enemy is standing over you and you need him to rescue you before the dreaded game over screen and he just stands there and doesn't respond to any of your commands.

Having items isn't really all that helpful either, unless they're the rare ones that help you restore you stamina or reduce your panic. Items that are meant to "help" you don't work very effectively because they can be hard to aim up at the enemy or even extremely useless against them.

And finally the middle and later stages of the game just felt weird, and looked weird too. It didn't seem as fun anymore with the weird architecture and room designs.

The Bottom Line

The game does have some severe setbacks that can get quite annoying over time, but the game kept my interest almost all of the time. And not knowing when you could be attacked really helped with the experience, so that you always had to memorize where a hiding spot was or where you could have enough room to fight. Overall I would recommend this game to anyone that might be interested in it, even though most other people didn't think very highly of it.