The gaming market has certainly changed over the years, from simplistic shooters like Space Invaders to complex space operas like LucasArts Star Wars flight sim franchise. The survivor/horror genre itself have gone a long way since the days of Alone in the Dark and Resident Evil, taking more elements and influences from other genres and media to further add more ’bite’ to it. The latest survival horror title for the PS2 is Sony’s own Siren (Forbidden Siren in the UK), is it worth your time? Well let’s just say this is one scary title! You’ll catch my drift once you read the rest of the review.
Siren is one of those games that really have a chance of being something great. It has a lot of ideas brought to the table that make for an interesting experience, but is there enough in Siren to really keep you wanting more? Well the simple answer to that is no.
Let’s start with the story of Siren, shall we? Alright, you play as Kyoya Suda, who was taking a stroll in the Handura to check out in old ritual taking place. He was spotted by one of the participants in this ritual, and runs for his life. Throughout the game you will encounter many different characters who share their stories with you about there experiences in the town. While the story is quite engaging, the absolutely terrible voice acting in Siren just shatters any scary vibes you’re getting from the game. A more professional voice acting team would have done the job and get gamers more involved in the game.
Another disappointment, the story just doesn’t fair well to other survival/horror games on the market. One necessity for a great horror tile is a storyline that will interest the gamer. In Siren you are not given that, in fact I was bored of the story right from the get go.
Siren doesn’t rely much on cheap scares, ala Resident Evil. It’s a very calculating game, requiring you to use all the skills at your disposal to navigate the environment and get to your next destination. Going around will get you killed, as more often than not the place is crawling with shibitos, who are the townpeoples that have been turned into the walking dead. You cannot kill these shibitos, you can only put them down for a short moment before they regenerate and be hunting you again. The deal in Siren is not to kill the enemies, but to survive long enough to unravel the mysteries in the Handura town.
The one feature that generated lot of hype is the sight jack feature. By pressing the L2 you will have the ability to get into the minds of the shibitos in the immediate vicinity. Once you have clicked the L2 button by rotating the left thumbstick you will be able to see through their eyes. This may help you determine the locations of the shibitos and their patrolling patterns, which will give you the edge to avoid them and find the safest route to your destination.
The only instances in which you don’t need to use this sight jack are when your character is armed with a gun. Otherwise it can be quite hard to judge whether or not you will be able to take out the enemy without dying. And with that said, you’ll be dying a lot in this game, as the shibitos are very cunning, and will hunt you down if you’re spotted.
There are a few main points that are the reasons for Siren not being all that it could be. To start with the level design of Siren is poor at best. Almost every mission in the game consists of you just trying to find the exit of a stage. I mean how exciting is that, they might as well just put up a green lit sign saying Exit, that would probably be more exciting then the mission objectives of Siren.
The second downside is how much the sight jack feature slows down the pace of the game. The game would move a lot quicker had this feature been easier to adapt to the controls. This feature slows down the gameplay on screen immensely.
Ok, so I have been pretty negative about the game thus far. I must say that this isn’t that bad of a game, I was just really disappointed. The gameplay has its moments especially when you have already figured out where you want to go, the gameplay works pretty well. Also the game does have some great moments when you have a gun in your possession.
In survival/horror games of this generation you really have to create a game that is graphically stunning. With a horror title with great graphics it makes the game that much more scary.
Looking at Siren you find a game that has some great highlights and some other things that hold the game back from perfect graphics. The character models of Siren are pretty good, with some nice textures, and some really good detail placed on each and every character. The environments don’t really do everything that the character models do. The environments are not as sharp as the characters are and in fact some of the environments you will find yourself trying to figure out where you are exactly.
Siren is a game that really has the potential to become one that could have been talked about for quite some time. Instead of having a game people are going to be talking about, instead you are going to have a game that people are going to complain about more then anything. The gameplay has some good moments, but unfortunately those are few and far between. The slow pace of Siren really hurts it and really drags the game on a lot longer then would have been wanted.
In Siren you are looking at a game that really had the potential with the new features, but really didn’t take advantage of any of them. If you are looking for a survival/horror title for your PS2 there are better options out there.
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.