If you’re a regular browser on the PlayStation Network, you’ll have noticed an episodic horror game available for download called Siren: Blood Curse. This is a re-versioning of the PS2 original and it tells the story of a number of characters including an American TV crew and a college student who have happened upon a forgotten island where strange rituals are taking place and what appear to be the walking dead called Shibito stagger around and hunt you down.
In a departure from most survival horror games, the game makes you even more vulnerable than a character in Silent Hill. Each chapter has a number of goals you must complete before moving to the next chapter and the story jumps about as you play each character battling for survival. Although you do get hold of guns later on in the game, there’s also an element of stealth. When a Shibito spots you, the edge of the screen flashes to warn you. It’s then a case of either finding a weapon to knock down your enemy for a short while, or hiding in cupboards, under beds etc until they go away.
A novel addition to the genre is the ability to ‘Sight-Jack’ other characters and enemies. You can lock onto other characters and then the screen splits in half to show you their point of view – useful when trying to avoid the gaze of a Shibito or to find out where your companions are as you escort them. Unfortunately there are far too many of these missions throughout the 12 hours or so of gameplay and if they get in trouble they do little to keep themselves alive.
For a downloadable game, the graphics are pretty good. Character models are convincing and the Shibito are suitably creepy. They even make really strange noises that send a shiver up your spine. Your surroundings could be a little less grainy but I guess that’s the look they were going for. It’s also a little tricky to see where you’re going when the screen splits in half and it would have been nice to use the right analogue stick to rotate the camera a full 360-degrees. Maybe that would have made the stealth section s too easy though and cut out some of the claustrophobic tension.
In all, if you like survival horror games and you can get through the first two chapters before the action really gets good, it’s worth a download or few.
Siren: Blood Curse gets a very good 7 out of 10.
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