Even though we are already a few weeks past Halloween, that doesn’t mean we can’t get a new horror game for the Xbox. On a console that really has a shortcoming of horror games, it’s about time the console owners got a new game in which they could get nightmares from. Now it’s time for a game that shows how scary a simple camera can be, in Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly for the Xbox. So is this game going to keep you up at night or are going to be able to sleep with ease? Read our full review to find out!
I remember when I first heard about the original Fatal Frame for the Xbox a few years ago. I remember my exact thoughts right before sitting down to play the game, "this is going to be boring". Thoughts like "how can a camera make for an interesting game"? Well let me tell you all something, Tecmo was very smart in their development of this original game, as they used the environments to their advantage, in order to create a creepy yet entertaining game where your key weapon is not your fists, rather the use of a camera. So does Tecmo recapture the glory in Fatal Frame II or is this a game that it’s the sophomore slump?
This time around we are all starting thirty years ahead of where the original started off. This time around you will be playing with two main characters, Mayu and Mio. The two girls end up getting lost in the forest and then stumble upon a village that had supposedly disappeared. The girls end up being stuck at this village where the stumble upon an old camera where they realize they are stuck in the villages curse, having to relive some very tough times. The game takes a very Japanese style storyline, which will grab you right away. For me personally the story at first just seemed a little too "different" but as the game progressed I felt as though the story really started to become alive and created a much needed scary experience.
So many of you may be wondering what the heck could you do with a camera - shine people to death? Well actually you wouldn’t be too far off if you said that. The camera actually serves a range of purposes, like taking out the bad guys, helping to solve different puzzles and a wide range of things. Unlike the first game, the camera already has some cheap film in it, so you will always have some film to take pictures and throughout levels you can pick up more of it for better use of taking out some of the more challenging bad guys. The camera still is used in the same manner as the previous game, and works just as good. The concept of the game is sort of like a normal shooting game, except instead of shooting a gun you’re shooting film. When you get close enough to a bad guy a capture circle will pop up and the longer you wait the more powerful the shot will be. This game requires a lot of patience and timing, but once you have played a good thirty minutes of this game, the challenge of the game starts to become second nature.
One of the biggest selling points for Fatal Frame II is the new first person view, which allows you to look through the eyes of our two protagonists. This viewpoint is really a great feature, as it allows you to feel more like you are in the game with these characters, taking on these evil foes and fully seeing the creepy environments. The game really does an amazing job in this mode of making you feel like you’re in the action. The one downside to this is the tough controls, which are a little clunky at first but once played for a while can be mastered.
Overall the gameplay of Fatal Frame II is generally very solid, albeit with a few minor issues. First off the enemies in the game are quite predictable after only a short amount of gameplay, so you can figure out the path that each enemy will take and easily take them out. Also the game’s controls could have been more forgiving, making for some frustrating experiences. With all of that being said Fatal Frame II is still a really solid game that involves a great deal of horror along with quite sound gameplay mechanics.
For most games I would say that the graphics really don’t make the game, it’s the gameplay. But in a Survival/Horror game such as Fatal Frame II I would have to say without a solid graphics system, the game would never be as scary as it could.
Fatal Frame II makes some much-needed upgrades from its PS2 counterpart. You can see that Tecmo really spent a lot of time trying to upgrade the graphics, making a much solider graphical experience. Everything in this version of the game has a much sharper look and feel to it, with some really great lighting effects. Similar to the PS2 version, the game does a great job of incorporating scary environments to make for a very scary gaming experience.
Overall the game has been improved a great deal over the PS2 version, with just an all around better graphical experience. I was really impressed with all of the lighting effects that were perfected in the game that really helped the scare factor quite a bit.
This is one of those games that if you like the survival horror genre then you will like this game, if you don’t like the genre you won’t enjoy this game. Fatal Frame II sticks quite close to the typical horror game, playing through tight creepy corridors, having to solve plenty of puzzles and take out bad guys along the way. The storyline in my eyes really helps the game progress quite a bit, and fans of Japanese style stories will really enjoy this one. The game does a great job of keeping the scare factor up in the game, which makes for a very fun survival/horror experience.
The only thing that Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly doesn’t do is creating anything overly new for the genre itself. With that being said the game does a great job of creating a worthy survival horror experience that will make any Xbox fan quite pleased. If you are an Xbox owner hurting with the lack of survival horror games for the Xbox, well this game can help you feel a lot better.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.