|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Hudson Soft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Hudson Soft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 9, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
This wouldn't be that big of a deal if it were a small part of the game, but it's practically the whole game. Whereas Ju-On took you on a ride from one scare to another and stopped after a couple hours, Calling takes roughly the same amount of material and drags the experience out, primarily by making you roam around opening things in search of phone numbers. There are few genuinely interesting puzzles; instead, you simply walk from item to item, loading time to loading time, and cutscene to cutscene, your eyes glazing over as the gameplay wears thin and the plot becomes increasingly ridiculous.
Depending on how often you get stuck (and whether you resort to the official Hudson walkthrough that's available online when you do), the ten episodes take somewhere around an hour each, but it feels like a lot more. If you follow the walkthrough the entire time, things will go much more quickly, but that defeats the purpose of an exploration-heavy game like this. Also, in the unlikely event you don't have anything better to do, you can replay the game to unlock various bonuses.
The sound and graphics are rather threadbare. Good horror movies manipulate the viewer with sound effects, but the crazed cackles and sparse orchestration on offer here never make you tense. Similarly, great graphics can make a setting look haunted, even on last-generation hardware (remember Resident Evil 4, anyone?), but aside from a few of the better-done locations, Calling looks far blander than it should.
It's tough to pull off a survival horror game that doesn't feature much combat, but that's no excuse for making navigation a chore and boring us to death. Wii owners who love pointing their flashlights around in the dark should stick with Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, or visit their local cemeteries after midnight.
CCC Freelance Writer