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Friday | December 9, 2016
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Siren Blood Curse: PS3

Siren Blood Curse: PS3

The horror survival genre has always had a certain group of gamers following it, in fact you might even say it has a cult following (no pun intended!). After reviewing the abysmal Alone In The Dark recently I had hoped that Siren: Blood Curse might go some way to redeeming my faith in this somewhat stale sector of the gaming market.

Siren: Blood Curse is offered as Episodic content (you can buy all 12 episodes in one bundle as well) on the Playstation 3 store and is a retelling of the original title which was released on the Playstation 2 around four years ago. Obviously with this remake there comes a new game engine as well as new characters, all of who are normal people placed into a bizarre and horrifying situation.

The story starts with an American TV crew (for a paranormal expose show) travelling to the mountain of Japan looking for the remains of Hanuda Village, a location which was rumoured to have disappeared in a mudslide. The crew arrive here with hopes for a good show … after all this location was documented to be a prime location for human sacrifice rituals. True to fashion, they soon stumble upon people being killed in an occult sacrifice and find themselves being chased and running for their lives. This starts the adventure and fight for survival as they make battle with supernatural creatures of the night. The TV crew also get involved with a high school student who was unfortunately in the wrong place at the wrong time.

To be fair to Siren: Blood Curse it doesn’t follow the tried and trusted routine of following one character from the start to the end. Like the original PS2 version, you take control of various characters as they basically try to stay alive. Most of the characters have a similar control system, for example, you attack with the square button, strafe with the L1 button and can crouch with the circle button. Equally so, the directional pad gives access to the flashlight,  flares and traps as well as allowing your character to yell to distract the monsters (not a good idea for staying alive generally!).
You can perform sight jacking, which is the ability to take over another human’s vision (goes into split screen) or you can even do the same with one of your foes, who are called the Shibito. You do this by holding down the L2 button and entering a trancelike status and honing in on the being of choice. By tapping L1 or R1 you can change from person to person which allows you to see through their eyes, this is a good way to work out their locations. Additionally you can lock to these views, assigning each to a face button so you can quickly move back and forward between them.

The Shibito look and act like zombies but unfortunately they are much more resilient. You can shoot them, hack them until they fall, but after a while they get back up again, regardless of what you do. Even head shots from close range with a pistol, just temporarily slows them down. You can lift almost anything from garden rakes, to crowbars and axes. There are over 50 weapons available throughout the game, including the aforementioned guns, and each one of these has a different effectiveness rating. Even if you are lumbered with a terrible weapon you can sneak up behind a creature and perform a finishing move which lets you knock it out for longer than normal.

As I mentioned earlier, the game is split into 12 episodes which you can buy in one game pack or individually. Each of these chapters are broken up into introductions, gameplay chapters and cutscenes, so when you play them in order they follow in logical story-like sequence. Episodes 1 and 2 concerned me because they were so short I felt the value for money aspect was poor. Episode one in particular is more like an introduction rather than a episode! You take control of a college student who has to deal with a police officer who is clearly under the influence of Satan, and as he manically tries to kill you, it is your job to escape. This however serves as a good introduction to the movements and actions, and thankfully the other episodes are more value as they last longer.

I could detail each episode and I know many other sites do this, however I hate ruining the game for potential gamers and we carefully try to word our reviews on GamingHeaven!

Earlier on the game is weaker and Episode 2 is a somewhat monotonous section however it introduces you to the tedious escort style missions which reoccur throughout the game. It wouldn’t be so bad if your companions actually tried to help, but most times they just stand around like a prize melon, waiting to be gutted.

Episode 3 picks up the pace a little and finally the gamer starts to feel as if the title is worthy of purchase with some great and tense moments set to get the heart pumping. As you are controlling a young child in this level you feel even more protective and cautious as she is defenceless to the beasts that are roaming the hospital. It is also claustrophobic by design which heightens the feeling of menace.

By now we begin to realise that there is little hope for these characters, as the deities cannot be killed and the best we can hope for is escape.

One of my favourite chapters was Episode 5 which introduces you to new creature with high levels of mobility, this has the interesting side effect of making you much more defensive in your movements.

Visually, the game is impressive, especially considering it is a downloadable title (around 9 gigabytes mind you!). They are coded to take advantage of High Definition screens (720p) and the monsters do look quite realistic and disturbing. The environments, however are sometimes sadly lacking in detail and textures could be better. You can enter first person shooter mode, however when you do this, the game does look a little out of date when compared to modern day FPS titles. Entering sight jack mode, while entertaining, has a negative effect on the frame rate and while I can’t measure frame rates on the PS3, I would be surprised if they are above 20.

The audio side of the game is really without question however, with tons of ambient sound effects, creaks and groans to set the tone. The soundtrack is also first class and it reinforces the fact you are playing within a surreal horror style environment.

Siren Blood Curse is a successful outing, some of the episodes are stronger than others but overall it works very well. The game, even for a seasoned gamer will last around 15 hours and it proves that the PSN has the potential to deliver some grade A material. If you are a horror fan, I strongly recommend this, but casual gamers should reserve some caution before jumping in axe first.

Gameplay

85

Patchy, but entertaining and addictive. A decent mix of stealth, combat and exploration.

Graphics
80/100

Nice 720p visuals which are often let down by the environmental detail. For a downloadable game, they are however in a different league altogether.

Sound
88/100

Strong voice acting, great ambient sounds and music score.

Value
78/100
15 hours is decent and collecting all the items will take considerable time. Apart from that, it will be limited.
Overall
(not an average)
83/100

A nice addition to the PSN store which will satisfy fans of the genre.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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