|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: SCE Japan Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SCEA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 24, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Controls in this title work extremely well and benefit from their remarkable simplicity. As you might expect, you'll use the left and right control stick to look and run around. You'll use the control pad for character specific actions (like yelling and turning on a flashlight or flare), and the X button will be your catch-all action button. Weapons are used with the R1 or square button, and guns use an auto aim that can be triggered via a quick tap of L1. L2, however, is probably your most important button, as this triggers the Sight Jacking mechanism. The game also uses the Sixaxis motion controls, and you can give your controller a quick shake to either reload or get away from enemies. And in case you despise motion controls, don't stress because there are button alternatives.
Graphics in Siren: Blood Curse are very good, especially considering it is a downloadable title. Characters have a very sharp amount of detail, and animations are extremely fluid. However, one thing you will notice about this game's overall look is that it is very dark. In fact, this game is so dark it is basically impossible to play if there are any lights on in your house (or visible windows if it is daylight.) I can recall one situation in the first episode of the game when I couldn't find a pathway just because I had a lava lamp on behind me. That is how dark this game is.
But if you've turned out all the lights, then you should be warned, this game not only looks incredibly creepy, it sounds creepy too. The level music uses some foreboding melodies, and then the signature high-pitched violin will come in when you're exploring unknown areas. The game also gives you audio clues when you are in danger or a Shibito is near. These generally take the form of a racing heartbeat or louder violin music. In addition to the music, the voiceover is also excellent. All the characters are fully voiced, and the actors do an excellent job of conveying emotion, which is actually a bit rare in modern survival horror games (think Resident Evil.) Since characters are Japanese and American, both Japanese and English are spoken, and it's actually quite nice to have a game where people don't all just speak English.
Overall, Siren: Blood Curse is a pretty awesome horror game. The game's focus on story and substance rather than just shooting zombies really makes this one worth picking up if you are getting a little bored with your run-of-the-mill horror shooters. Plus, its episodic nature really keeps you on the edge of your seat and helps pace your gameplay. And with twelve episodes, each with about 1-2 hours of gameplay, maybe your Thursday night sitcom just became your Thursday night horror!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer