REVIEW – A decade after their mysterious disappearance, four young women return to the haunted island where they lost their memories. What they find is a nightmare of ghosts, secrets, and madness.
Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse is a Japanese survival horror game that was originally released for the Wii in 2008, but has been remastered and ported to various platforms in 2023. The game is part of the FATAL FRAME / PROJECT ZERO series, which revolves around using a special camera to exorcise vengeful spirits. The game follows Ruka Minazuki, Misaki Asou, Madoka Tsukimori, and Choushiro Kirishima as they explore Rogetsu Island, a remote location that holds the key to their forgotten past.
The Fatal Frame: / Project Zero series is known for its atmospheric and terrifying gameplay, where players have to face ghosts that can appear from anywhere and attack at any time. The game uses a third-person perspective and allows players to switch between different characters with different abilities and personalities. The main weapon against the ghosts is the Camera Obscura, a device that can capture their essence and weaken them. The camera has various functions and upgrades that can be unlocked throughout the game.
A gripping story with multiple endings
The game’s story is one of its strongest points, as it gradually reveals the mystery behind Rogetsu Island and its inhabitants. The island was once home to a ritual called Rogetsu Kagura, which involved five girls playing musical instruments to appease the lunar eclipse. However, something went wrong during one of the rituals, resulting in a tragedy that left the island cursed. The four protagonists were among those who witnessed the ritual as children, but lost their memories due to trauma. As they return to the island ten years later, they start to remember what happened and uncover the truth behind their abduction.
The game has multiple endings depending on the player’s actions and choices throughout the game. Some endings are more satisfying than others, but all of them are emotional and impactful. The game also has a New Game Plus mode that allows players to replay the game with additional content and features.
A haunting atmosphere with improved graphics
The game’s atmosphere is another highlight of Fatal Frame:: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse. The game creates a sense of dread and tension by using dark environments, creepy sound effects, and unpredictable ghost encounters. The game takes place mostly in an abandoned hospital, a dilapidated mansion, and a hidden shrine, all of which are filled with clues, puzzles, and secrets. The game also uses flashbacks and cutscenes to show glimpses of what happened on Rogetsu Island in the past.
The remastered version of Fatal Frame:: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse improves the graphics and performance of the original Wii version. The game now supports higher resolutions, smoother frame rates, and enhanced lighting effects. The character models and animations have also been updated to look more realistic and expressive. The game still retains some of its old-fashioned charm, but it also looks more polished and modern.
A challenging gameplay with some flaws
The gameplay of Fatal Frame:: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse is challenging and rewarding for fans of survival horror games. The game requires players to manage their resources carefully, as ammo for the Camera Obscura is limited and healing items are scarce. The game also forces players to face their fears head-on, as they have to aim the camera at ghosts to damage them. The closer the ghost is, the more damage it deals, but also the more damage it receives. This creates a risk-reward system that adds excitement and strategy to combat.
However, the gameplay also has some flaws that can detract from enjoyment. One flaw is that some ghosts are too fast or unpredictable for players to react properly. Another flaw is that some puzzles are too obscure or illogical for players to solve without hints or guides. A third flaw is that some sections are too repetitive or tedious for players to endure without boredom or frustration.
A must-play for horror fans
Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse is a must-play for horror fans who enjoy immersive stories that keep them on the edge of their seats. The game has a complex and intriguing plot that involves mystery, tragedy, and betrayal. The game also has multiple endings that depend on the player’s actions and choices, giving them different perspectives and outcomes. The game’s story will make players feel invested in the characters and their fates.
Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse is also a must-play for horror fans who enjoy atmospheric settings that create a sense of dread and tension. The game has a dark and eerie environment that is filled with clues, puzzles, and secrets. The game also has a creepy sound design that enhances the mood and immersion. The game’s setting will make players feel scared and curious about what lies behind every corner.
A unique combat system
Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse is furthermore a must-play for horror fans who enjoy thrilling gameplay that challenges their skills and nerves. The game has a unique combat system that requires players to use a special camera to exorcise ghosts. The game also has various functions and upgrades for the camera that can be unlocked throughout the game. The game’s gameplay will make players feel excited and strategic about how to deal with each ghost encounter.
Despite some flaws, such as some ghosts being too fast or unpredictable, some puzzles being too obscure or illogical, and some sections being too repetitive or tedious, Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse delivers an unforgettable experience that will haunt players long after they finish it. The game is a masterpiece of Japanese survival horror that deserves to be played by anyone who loves this genre.
+ Using the Camera Obscura is an exciting and original game mechanic
+ The story is deep and twisty, the characters are interesting and likable
+ The graphics are beautiful and detailed, the music and sound effects are atmospheric and terrifying
– There are errors and bugs in the game that can interfere with the experience
– Ghosts can sometimes be too hard or too easy opponents
– The gameplay can sometimes become monotonous due to the many backtracking
Publisher: KOEI TECMO GAMES CO., LTD.
Developer: KOEI TECMO GAMES CO., LTD.
Style: Japanese horror adventure game
Release: March 9, 2023.