Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water (PlayStation 4)13/11/2021
In what feels like forever, I remember the Fatal Frame series releasing on Playstation 2. They were so different from the usual horror games I was playing at that time and they still have that appeal. There aren’t many that revolve around Japanese lore, which is an abundant market. They gained a decent fanbase, but releases got spread and a bit weird. Fatal Frame: The Tormented was released in 2005, while the follow-up, Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse, was released in 2008. However it wasn’t released outside of Japan. Remakes of the other games came out but a new game didn’t release till 2014, which is Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water. Seven years later, a remake of that release is here on better platforms. Though, does it really even make use of that extra power?
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water follows multiple protagonists trying to solve a mystery that intertwines with one another. During these investigations, they encounter supernatural elements and to battle them, a camera is used to deal various amounts of damage to “kill” the ghosts. Upgrades to the camera are gained that can cause faster film reloading or film that does more damage at expense of slower reload speed.
The character models and enemies all look great, especially the enemies. Designs for departed shrine maidens were some of my personal favorites due to how spooky they would look. A red glow indicates an enemy near you and despite knowing an enemy is in a direction, turning around and raising my camera would have a ghost right up in my face and make me jump. If it’s not encounters, it’s the overall environment that will wear down players. Dark and dreary exploration through the woods and coming around corners to see suicidal jumpers. The game is definitely intense with depression and death.
Controls though, are a major drawback, as movement feels very awkward. It’s something I never got used to and would often find myself frustrated with it. One huge annoyance was that there was no quick turn ability. Ghosts could easily appear behind you and turning around in narrow spaces was a real test of patience. In or out of combat, movement was always an issue. It gives tutorial for dodging ghosts or hands reaching out, but it seemed to rarely work for me.
On the subject of movement, you always walk insanely slow. There is a run option, but it’s still really slow and as stated before, it’s awkward movement. Running also seems to cause the game to not trigger points to open doors or investigate something. It’s like the game wants you to snail walk the whole time to be able to get those cues to pop.
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water is disappointing due to how much I loved the other games on Playstation 2. Seeing another Fatal Frame announced had caused so much excitement and it’s a bummer that this is what we got. While it’s great to see that the series isn’t dead and interest was there to port this to more modern systems, I can only hope that the other games get a remaster or a new game developed. Fatal Frame is an amazing series, but with Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water, it’s one that I worry might cause the series to drift away.
*This Review Code was so generously provided by the publisher for review*
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water39.99
- Finally getting Fatal Frame on more modern systems
- Character models look great
- Spooky ghosts and lore that’s different from majority of other horror titles
- Controls are very rough, in and out of combat
- Traveling the same areas was tedious
- Slow movement, even while trying to run
- Cues to investigate, items, or opening something wouldn’t go off while running