Forbidden Siren 2, Review PS2, Sony Entertainment
I have seen Forbidden Siren 2 described as the gaming equivalent of an Art House movie and it seems an apt description. It certainly scores highly in the 'weird' stakes that's for certain. Just like an Art House movie, there are elements of the game that you would have wished to avoid. However, wait until midnight and turn the sound up, there are chilling key elements of a horror movie that redeem it to a large extent if not entirely.
As with the original, you find yourself in a survival horror title. Abandoned on a strange island with the customary zombies and the not so customary Yambito (balls of flame within dark clouds that can be killed by shining a torch on them - I understand that this doesn't sound overly scary but try not having a torch!), you take control of a number of different characters that have all been washed ashore following a tsunami which sinks their boat.
Your goal is to complete your assigned missions and sub targets whilst not having your face chewed off by the undead. To assist you there's a half decent map and the ultimate in weird features - sight jacking. That's right, check out what's around the corner by jacking the sites of a zombie. Are you blind? Jack the site of your guide dog to find your way around! Weird? Yes. Original and fun? Again a resounding, yes! You can despatch your enemies in a number of ways from skewering them with a poker, running them over with vehicles scattered about the place or via some sneaky stealth moves. The way you approach the mission will depend upon which character you are controlling. This keeps the game fresh and is an interesting twist. The blind man is probably best at using stealth, whilst if you are an ex-army type you may find attack the best form of defence.
You basically get the choice of which missions to choose and they are often played out in different time periods in a plot that does become rather baffling and comes together to explain itself in the end. sort of. Each mission generally involves getting from one point to another intact, whilst finding the necessary item to progress. This can be unmentionably frustrating if you miss items and you have to go back through the mission. This is nowhere near as frustrating as the controls though, they don't feel slick and you often feel like you are fighting against them as they are far too sluggish. Never more so than when you are aiming, the first person view aids this, but then you find yourself being picked off from a range that the controls make it almost impossible for you to make a direct hit and the frustration rises again. It is frustrating, but there is always that feeling in the back of your mind that it aids the experience in a strange way. If you are jumped and are having your faced gnawed on by some hungry spawn of Satan, the flailing of the camera angle seriously bumps up the anxiety levels as you get to grips with the controls.
If you can get to grips with the controlling system, the perplexing plot and not have to wade back through mission areas again looking for missed items, then this is a genuinely nerve-jangling and immersive environment. The background wailing, ever-present fog and impressive grainy graphics all give a "jump-out-of-your-seat" environment that can be more nerve jangling than straight forward fun! Especially, if you turn the light down and the sound up.
7 out of 10