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If you can’t tell, JU-ON: The Grudge is a frustrating experience. There is a lot of potential here that goes unrealized through underdeveloped design and some very poor controls. It looks good, it sounds good, and it certainly delivers some good thrills. But when all is said and done, it’s a shallow game with too many issues and shortcomings to recommend.
Unfortunately, Ju-on can be finished in mere hours, but if the characters could actually run, I’d reckon it could be completed in around twenty minutes. In other words, it’s way too short to warrant the price tag. Even if this game does sound interesting to you (and really it shouldn’t unless you adore the franchise), wait for a price drop because it’s not an experience you will ever care to revisit.
Ju-On: The Grudge proves that sometimes being different doesn't necessarily mean being good. The graphics and sound may be great for the system, but the poor controls and slow, plodding pace of the story episodes greatly hinder the game's enjoyment. Couple that with a short overall story mode and a practically useless multiplayer mode, and you have the trappings of something more acceptable as a downloadable title than a retail disc release. Only die-hard fans of the movies should rent the title, since the experience will last about as long as the movies on which the game is based. It's also a good idea to rent the title if you plan on playing it with a group of friends, since the scares translate better with multiple people experiencing it simultaneously. All others should wait for future horror titles to come out on the Wii console.
You’ll encounter a few substandard thrills while The Grudge lasts, but its clumsy controls and one-dimensional mechanics are more likely to send you running than its ghastly fiends are. Even Ju-On film fans will probably want to look elsewhere for this season's festive frights.
I think I've ripped this game apart long enough for you to get the point. JU-ON: The Grudge is a waste of your time and your money.
In the end, it’s a game of such dubious quality I find it difficult to recommend even to fans of the films. Instead I recommend it swiftly being hidden beneath better garbage in a bargain bin, or, better yet, a normal, everyday, trash bin.
To be fair to publisher Rising Star, it does deserve tremendous credit for regularly bringing unheralded, obscure Asian titles to Europe. More often than not it picks up outstanding games, like Little King's Story, which demonstrate its admirable passion for leftfield offerings that other publishers ignore. Sadly though, in the case of Ju-On: The Grudge, it has picked probably the most excruciatingly leaden survival-horror game of all time, and that took some doing.
But most folks don’t for whatever reason, and neither myself nor anyone else is very likely to find “ghost children” particularly terrifying (which was a major failing of the source material – the adult ghost, and the houses themselves, were frightening enough, but little Toshio was just some fat naked kid running around covered in clown paint. OOH, SCARY!) If we’re to take FeelPlus at their word and call this game a “haunted house simulator”, then I’m sorry, I’m just not scared of ghosts. Further, a “haunted house simulator”, if that’s what this is to be considered as, is nothing like, and nothing in comparison to, a survival horror game, which is what I would expect from a game based on the JU-ON/Grudge franchise. Instead of another Silent Hill or Fatal Frame, we’ve been given a poor excuse for a game, a truly lame exploration paradigm where you can’t actually interact with anything. Even point and click computer games like the Nancy Drew series have it all over this one.