If you were to see a ghost cutting, what would be your first instinct? Forgive us for that guessing, but we’re imagining it’s probably not “taking a polaroid from him,” is it? Tell that to the various heroes of Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water – Project Zero in Europe – who seem to think they are budding Sir Donald McCullins and get angry every time they see a geist, malicious or not. We, on the other hand, would do well. Full Shaggy-from-Scooby-Doo leg it.

It should be noted, however, that this is no ordinary camera. The device wielded by Fatal Framers (they don’t really call themselves that) is the Camera Obscura, which captures more than just precious memories. Indeed, if you use it with care, you can capture ghosts, which in practice amounts to killing them. Still. Listen, the point is, you shoot ghosts to the death. We’re just going a little too fast.

This is a port / remake of the Wii U part of the long-running Fatal Frame series, although perhaps the scariest thing about the original version is its price in the second-hand market. So it’s a good thing for Koei Tecmo to re-release the game on Switch and do such a remarkable job. If you’ve ever played it on Nintendo’s previous console – where the Gamepad “was” the camera – there’s little point in going back here, but this neat mechanic has been re-adapted to work on a single screen as well. we could hope for.

Follow the journey of three major protagonists (and another, more secretive, from another series, shhhhh), you will take the Camera Obscura to all kinds of creepy places you really wouldn’t want to go, in order to solve an extremely dark mystery involving suicidal maids and the infamous Black Water, a curse that fuels both storytelling and gameplay.

You see, your playable character doesn’t want to get wet. If you are soaked to the bone you are more susceptible to the curse and if you catch it your health bar will constantly drain until you use an item to warm you up or kill all of the ghosts. of the zone – which is easier said than done.

While you normally play in third person, pulling out the Camera Obscura – naturally – switches your view to first person, giving you a much larger blind spot. You have to “frame” (yes!) Your target and shoot it until it disappears, making sure you don’t run out of film. There are different lenses and types of film to choose from, which adds a layer of strategy to an already demanding action, but it’s the most fun type of frenzy. A single snapshot is usually not enough to take down a ghost, but taking pictures will rob pieces of their ghostly essence, and if you can manage to frame them all, you will have a chance to banish the ghost properly. If you have multiple ghosts in the frame when you do what the game calls “Shutter Chance,” well, that’s just a bonus. By playing carefully and skillfully, you can decimate a horde of ghosts by pressing the “ZR” button. You can also trigger the Fatal Frame bonus by taking a photo at the last moment, a risky but very dangerous action.

When you aren’t candid with a specter, you will find yourself engaged in a fairly typical survival horror exploration; navigating through each environment is fairly straightforward, with relatively basic controls. You can use your flashlight while holding ‘ZR’, which will allow your current character to follow the spirits in order to follow the next part of the story. It’s quite linear, but in a way that suits the horror show atmosphere well.

The camera is less good, it can be a bit of a pain at times. It feels like the right stick has almost no effect on it, and when you’re surrounded by ghouls, you instinctively want to spin it when you can’t. You can run and turn quickly, but the camera always takes its time to catch up with you. Yes, it adds to the panic, but in a way it’s a little frustrating.

Maiden of Black Water’s episodic structure makes it easy to enter and exit the game, with episodes replayable to achieve higher ranks and earn more currency to unlock different costumes for each character. These, of course, fall nicely into the “novelty” ranks, but avid gamers will be disappointed with the removal of the “engraving” lingerie in this locale. This removal wasn’t present in the Western version of the game on Wii U either, but it’s worth pointing out in case you really, really wanted a bit of titillation while dealing with the ghosts.

Visually, this is very good. It goes without saying that Fatal Frame sings on the OLED Switch with its deeper, darker blacks. Unfortunately, its performance is less impressive. While they’re generally okay at 30 frames per second, we found there to be a lot of hang-ups – brief, irritating freezes that tear you away from any form of tension you might be having. We hope these annoying little bugs will be fixed in a Day One patch that promises to improve load times and fix bugs, but until then they’re a little depressing.

There is a lot to enjoy in Maiden of Black Water; although we didn’t find him excessively … scary, he’s very good at being spooky. You will see ghosts out of the corner of your eye and when you check they will be gone. It’s oddly comfortable and non-stressful for a horror game, because your camera is such a powerful weapon and the combat it offers is too action-packed for you to really feel the fear. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, although we found that the early installments of the series on PlayStation 2 were more interested in actively scaring the gamer. If you get caught up in the intrigue – which is easy to do as the episodic structure makes ‘just one more area’ an engaging prospect – you’ll find a good fifteen hours of playtime here, and much more if you. decide that you need to get higher ranks by upgrading your Camera Obscura with upgrades and other perks. Performance issues aside, this game is a real hit and worth buying if you are a horror fan who missed it on Wii U.

A graduate of the Louis Lumière School, Marine is truly passionate about Arts and Cinema. Addicted to Netflix and other VOD platforms, she oversees the “Culture” section of Miroir Mag.

A graduate of the Louis Lumière School, Marine is truly passionate about Arts and Cinema. Addicted to Netflix and other VOD platforms, she oversees the “Culture” section of Miroir Mag.

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