FATAL FRAME: MAIDEN OF BLACK WATER REVIEW: A PHOTO FINISH (SWITCH)
Survival Horror fans who were there for the PlayStation 2 era will always remember it fondly. Resident Evil and Silent Hill were already established franchises. The original Fatal Frame was released around this time. It is widely considered to be one of the most frightening games on the platform. While Fatal Frame may not have had the same mainstream success as its predecessors, it did manage to inspire a few sequels.
Fatal Frame Maiden Of Black Water is the fifth mainline title. It was released originally as a Wii U exclusive in 2016, and it fell under the radar of many fans.
Fortunately, the title has been remastered by developer and publisher Koei Tecmo in 2021. It is available now for Nintendo Switch and Xbox.
STORY – MOVING MOUNTAINS
Maiden Black Water is a brutal start, dropping you into a shrine and surrounding your with creepy ghosts without much explanation.
This brief introduction sets the tone for the adventure and introduces you to Yuri, one of the three playable characters. This is her first trip to Mount Hikami. She’s on a mission to retrieve a photo album from Hisoka, which will be used to create Ren.
Miu is the third and final character that can be played. She is the daughter Miku Hinasaki who was the protagonist of the original Fatal Frame. She will be loved by fans of the series. A few other characters are also available to support her with different personalities.
Mount Hikami is the setting for the game, which is based on a terrible place that’s steeped in folklore. It is fascinating to discover the dark and oppressive folklore that surrounds the mountain.
The history of Hikami spans many centuries. It is believed to be the place where the land between the dead and the living meet, which inexplicably attracts the weak-willed to climb the mountain. It is considered a death sentence to climb the mountain after sunset. These beliefs have been around since antiquity, but they did not stop the local government from trying to develop the mountain’s resource-rich terrain by building new roads.
The attempt ended in tragedy and the interest in the mountain was dropped. It is now a dark place that attracts only those who have a death wish. They are a vehicle for the mountain’s story. They are drawn to the mountain by hook or by lance in order to tell its story. One’s morbid curiosity is piqued by a place so rich in folklore, superstition, and legend.
GAMEPLAY – GHOULISHLY IMPORTANT
Genre lovers will find the gameplay familiar. It is a story-driven survival game with textbook execution. Maiden of Black Water adds some new twists to the standard.
It was a bit difficult to move the character. You can choose to walk slowly and deliberately or you can jog faster by pressing the ZL trigger. Sometimes the camera can be cumbersome, especially if you have to face a fight. This game is still very playable. These minor issues can be considered an old-fashioned throwback to survival horror on the PlayStation 2. The controls were much worse back then, let’s be honest.
Exploring Hikami’s overgrown, twisting paths is both satisfying and nerve-wrecking. It’s impossible to know what horrifying secrets might lie around every corner.
Camera Obscura is the main attraction of the Fatal Frameseries. This device is unique and can see beyond the veil. It also allows the user to protect themselves against evil spirits.