If you score a “Fatal Frame” attack, you can chain up to two more attacks, this is great if you’ve got some film to spare or need to move a ghost back to make room for other ghosts who are closing in. The ghost AI for the most part is rock solid, although the simple villagers who wield torches, sickles, and staves are dumber than mud. Thankfully there are also no more wacky teleporting every five second ghosts which plagued the first game, instead you’ve got a lot of ghosts who share a lot of the properties of Sadako/Sumara of Ringu/The Ring and are every bit as creepy. Granted there are really no terrifying moments like I was hoping, but you’ll spend most of the game sitting anxiously waiting for ghosts to appear.
Sound has to be the second most important aspect of this game behind the story. Without the atmospheric sound of this game there is very little that makes Crimson Butterfly scary, the ambience of the houses hearing all the little creaks or the trees swishing in the wind or even the moans and music that accompanies the ghosts are absolutely integral to this game. Playing this game with the proper audio set up will be money well spent and even if you can’t afford a big sound system you can use a pair of headphones and still hear the source of static coming from the ghosts. The only down side to the audio is the piercing sound that can be heard when fighting ghosts, although it really isn’t major, just don’t listen to this on too high a volume. Once you beat the game and watch the credits you are also treated to an awesome song courtesy of Tsukiko Amano, which seems to fit this game perfectly.
Of course this game looks absolutely fantastic. I’m not trying to downplay how this game looks in the slightest. In game graphics and FMV look absolutely stunning, and the ghosts and locales have an eerie realism to them that looks like it was recorded off a video camera. Color is also a factor in the game, for the most part it is very drab aside from the color of the save lanterns and the bows on each of the girls’ outfits.
In addition to having excellent gameplay there is also a ton of unlockable features, which, include some video content, art content, and a slew of hidden outfits. You also get a mission mode where there are 25 goals that must be completed; doing so will unlock more features. I managed to play through this game four times and have still not unlocked everything, but it certainly is worth the effort to do it. While the difficulty of these missions are at times high, overall the game is not that hard, this is thanks in part to being able to carry over items from previous playthroughs, but Nightmare mode can be quite difficult if you’re coming straight off a game on Hard mode. I wound up using every last bit of special film I had and had to resort to using lowly 14 Type film making the last boss battle a grueling match of endurance, and it didn’t help that the boss can kill you in a single hit and negate a stone mirror effect.
All in all, if you played the first Fatal Frame and enjoyed it then there is no reason to miss this game. And if you played the original game and didn’t like it then be sure to give this game a shot regardless. A lot of refinements have been made that make this game perfect for the survival horror fan. Be sure to get this game before it becomes a rarity like the first game.
This is a near perfect horror game and something you'll want in your game library even if you didn't play the first one.
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