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Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly (Xbox)

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Written by  :  コナン (76903)
Written on  :  Jun 26, 2005
Platform  :  Xbox
Rating  :  3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

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Summary

Sweet disappointment

The Good

As a fan of horror-survival genre, I was aiming at the original title couple of times, but always found a reason not to get it. With this game, however, there was no doubt in questioning whether I'd like to play it or not, the answer was yes, of course. However, it also proves that game is not always to be judged by its trailer (or else, we'd all love Warcraft III, eh eh, and where would the world go then) because it is done just about to capture your interest to the max, I mean, you have eerie atmosphere of events that take place in the lost village (keyword "lost" here, since if Mio and Mayu didn't get lost they'd probably stay out of this painful nightmare), you have two cute little girls in, well, I'd call it a school uniforms (although after finishing the game, as in all games of the genre, outfit can be changed), and you have a story that pours in the current mystery into crossing it with the past. The recipe sounds delightful. The result, however, tasteless.

I know games generally look better on Xbox than on PS2, but I was surprised how good the graphics were, and aside from a few pre-rendered cutscenes, in-game cutscenes looked close to being the same. The lighting and fog effects were great giving a boost up to the atmosphere, and the setting was already eerie enough by itself so all you could hope for is to experience something on par with Silent Hill 2. Alas, that was nowhere near to be found. Sound effects, although good (yeah, we all know door squeeking sounds still work the cut) were not supported by a decent soundtrack (think of the original Silent Hill game where pretty much entire soundtrack sounded like sound warfare), the ending song was brilliant, at least.

The Bad

There is very little music to it. If we don't count ending song and nice melody that plays on the load/save menu, there really isn't much to find, and what you can find clasps with sound effects which only makes a confusion which should never be included in games that are part of horror-survival genre, relying on good sound scheme is crucial in games of a sort, and any melody that isn't a melody will just create an unwanted feeling of distraction.

Story itself, although very promising at start, made a very dissatisfying overture in the end. There is a pitch in the fork that lets you escape and save yourself and leave your twin sister behind which leads to nothing but a game over with additional cinematic, and a true way of coming for her and saving her from whatever evil ceremony has taken her by the hand. I really do hope there is some better ending to it (additional features prompted at three more, though) because this one is not rewarding for the player, I mean whatever made Mio and Mayu so connected to Sae and Yae, that thing is pretty unclear since they weren't trying to save the village or anything in the first place. Just being lost is not good enough to lead the story, it has to be a better reason. James had one in SH2.

The Bottom Line

Hm, an interesting game. Not sure whether to recommend it or advise against it, it's bathing in the shades of grey.