Siren: Blood Curse Review

I’m a man who likes his blood and gore in movies and video games. When I need a fix of violence, I go and play Gears of War or Ninja Gaiden, and sit transfixed by how much bodily damage I am doing with the weapons in my possession. However, when it comes to playing survival horror games I prefer a plethora of terrifying and shocking instances over nonsensical violence. Being a fan of the Resident Evil and Silent Hill series, I’ve grown accustomed to survival horror games following a set formula; explore, solve puzzles, run. Even when this formula is broken down into such a rudimentary aspect, it tends to keep the player interested in surviving for the most part.

I went into playing Siren:Blood Curse without much knowledge of the previous Siren games. I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of art direction, storytelling and scare tactics, but in no way was this a negative. I was eager to get my hands on a new survival horror series to compare and contrast with the other games in the same genre. Since there are so few survival horror games to feast upon in the last couple of years I was curious to see where this game would stand in relation to the genre favorites. (Resident Evil and Silent Hill.)

Siren: Blood Curse plays out like a TV series with chapters and episodes, complete with trailers for the next episode and a recap of what you just previously played. One of the reasons might be because the game is only available through the PlayStation Network through a group of episodic packages for purchase. You can download the whole game for $39.99 or download packs of four episodes for $14.99.

The game takes place in a rural part of Japan where a town has gone insane and the local inhabitants have turned into Shibito, a mindless zombie-like creature that likes to chase you around and hack at you with mine picks whenever they get a chance. A game wouldn’t be survival horror if it didn’t start you out with no weapons at your disposal, so for a good portion of the game you are only using your fists and if you are lucky, a shovel or a mining pick. Of course this is a common tactic found in most games in this genre, adding to the suspense of either trying your luck against an enemy, or running the hell away.

This is one of the things that this game does right. It gives you scenarios to which you need to choose whether it would be best to take out the enemy or slowly and quietly sneak by. It becomes a lot scarier when you are forced to sneak by, because no matter what rooms you enter you are powerless. There was a part in the game where you get to control a young girl about the age of 10 or so through an abandoned hospital with just your flashlight and your courage. The Shibito talk and cry to themselves in a heart pumping devilish sound, minding their own business, just waiting for an innocent girl to cross their path. There were times where you are two feet away from a cry Shibito and in order to bypass it, you had to step as lightly as possible. Add the scary music and the heavy sound of your heartbeat and it becomes a pretty tense moment.

An interesting mechanic is something called Sight Jacking, in which you have a special ability to sense the Shibito in your vicinity. Once locked on to a Shibito the screen splits and you get the vision of that particular enemy’s sight, which proves extremely useful if you need to sneak by them unnoticed. In one instance I had to sneak by enemies in order to get into an abandoned store, of which I had to reach the second floor and use Site Jack to find the enemy that was blocking my path right outside. Once I locked on to him, I waited until he was right under me to break the bonds of a heavy sign hanging from the side of the building, successfully getting rid of my enemy without any contact.

The game keeps the pace going by switching from one character’s perspective to another, each with their own story and reason why they are stuck in such cursed lands. The variety of characters keep you interested as they each bring something different to their story and play style. For example, you have the father and mother American TV crew with some unsettled disputes between each othe; a young teenage boy who doesn’t know why these crazy Shibito are who they are; and a young girl who only wants to find her parents (the American TV crew team). One likes to use heavy weapons, the other runs fast and is capable of solving complex puzzles, and the other likes to sneak and hide (no weapons is scary on its own).

However, like almost all survival/horror games, the controls are a bit clunky and the camera can become frustratingly difficult when you are running away from the three Shibito that want nothing else but you dead. Something really has to be done to the control system for all games in this genre. Why do we have to suffer through sometimes downright awful control to play a game we have been looking forward to for awhile? Is it written in the “how to make a survival/horror game” book of rules that you need clunky controls? Does it instill a sense of anger and fear to the player knowing that they actually might get killed from the enemy that’s chasing them because of horrible controls? Hmm, that’s something to think about.

Overall the feel of Siren: Blood Curse is one of tension and shock. The way the Shibito cry out for help or for their lust for blood is bone chilling. The limited flashlight view always brings the sense of on your toes suspense, not knowing what you’ll find around each and every corner. Besides the clunky controls and camera, Siren: Blood Curse satisfies the craving us survival/horror fans have had for for a long time. Give yourself a playthrough of this game before the big games like Silent Hill 5 and Dead Space start hitting shelves this fall.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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