Siren : Blood curse


posted 10/31/2008 by Matt Mirkovich
other articles by Matt Mirkovich
One Page Platforms: PS2
The game allows you to save at a checkpoint, but if you load any other episodes then your save will be lost, so beware trying to back track and make sense of the story. One of the things I did like however is that if you feel like you're having too much trouble with a particular episode, you can just load up one of the future episodes and skip ahead. Granted you've missed a bit of story and gameplay, but it helps to ease the frustration.

The story, like the previous Siren game is about a group of people caught up in rural Japan during an incident that turns all the villagers in to murderous zombies, and when someone is killed by them, they will join their ranks. Some people involved belong to an ancient cult, some know more than they let on, and others are just in a bad place at a bad time. Completing episodes and individual chapters will unlock objects in the archive that can be viewed from the main menu. These little bits of information help to fill in some of the gaps and come in the form of text, images, audio, and even video which do a fairly good job of immersing the player in the world of Siren, even if the gameplay is trying very hard to push them out.

Graphically this game is fair, the character models look pretty good, the dingy locales are fitting, though the game suffers from next-gen brown-in and has a tendency to wash everything out. Dark areas are ridiculously dark without the aide of a flashlight. The shibito are quite frightening, and some of them can fly now, making them all the more deadly and terrifying. Unfortunately the game doesn't take a whole lot of advantage of the PS3 as it only broadcasts in a 720p resolution. Audio fares a lot better this time around. Gone are the British actors, and now the user is given a proper mix of English and Japanese actors who all fit the game quite well. The shibito's broken and maniacal Japanese along with their constant cackling helps add to the tension. An interesting option for those who have powerful surround sound systems is the “Midnight mode” which heightens the audio for more natural sounds.

Being a Playstation Network title, this game is quite a hassle to pick up, there are twelve individual episodes to grab, each taking up between five hundred megabytes to a little over one gigabyte. Downloading the entire game over my cable connection took almost ten hours. Then comes the fun part of installing each episode which adds another twenty minute wait per episode. The only upside to this is being allowed to start from any episode you desire, so if you wanted to you could potentially just jump to the final episode.

Siren: Blood Curse is sadly a game I hate to hate. I love the premise behind the game, and the characters seem very interesting, but I had a very hard time feeling compelled to follow through the story because the game play was just too stifling and required a pristine playthrough far too early to allow me to really get in to the game. I became frustrated as early as the third episode and skipped ahead until I felt like I wanted to go back. The graphics are hardly impressive on a console that is nearly two years old, and the delivery method is cumbersome at best. You'd have to be really dedicated to this franchise or horror games in general. And while it's not much better, I enjoyed Silent Hill: Homecoming a lot more than Siren: Blood Curse and with Dead Space now available it makes it even harder to recommend this game. If you're really hard up for a scare, you're better off going with something other than Siren: Blood Curse.

Siren: Blood Curse remains largely unchanged after four years time. If you avoided it then, avoid it now as well. This title is really only for the horror hardcore.

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