A guest review by Al,
Here we have a game made by Sony that has had adverts over in Japan that were so scary to the imagination that they had to be pulled from there TVs. We have another Ps2 game from over in Japan, titled only as Siren outside of Europe, this 3rd person survival Horror adventure sends you through a number of levels as a young Japanese boy who awakens in his village to some strange occurrences. First his village disappears whilst a loud siren is blaring out warning of an earthquake. Then natives of the mountain village of Hamyuda begin to emerge from a river running around the perimeter of the small village which has mysteriously turned red due to some devilish acts which took place 27 years ago. However these people are no longer human, as you would expect from them emerging from the river, it just wouldn't be a game if there were no odd side effects, but they reappear as zombies, or Shibito as the game calls them. Many reviews have already started to compare this game to the successful Silent Hill quadrilogy, and many parts of this game do make it feel like you've been there before, from the sharp and eery graphics, to the style of the characters, and even the music that causes you to jump at almost anything that you see, or don't see!
The few survivors who haven't yet been turned into the un-dead are blessed with the ability of 'sight jacking' a great power that enables the people who have it to look through the eyes of other people, both dead and surviving. This is achieved by pressing down the L1 button and then toggling you analogue stick to tune in to there wavelength, you know when you've done it as when trying to find some eyes to look through it will seem as if your TV screen is just showing static. Once you have found someone to use, you can pick a path through the level in order to best avoid disturbing and alerting any unwanted company. The only thing about this that needs a lot of playing is trying to determine where the view is coming from in relation to where you are, and you cant just skim around when looking as sometime s you will miss the fact that one of the Shibito is looking you straight in the face. It is quite easy, but only once you have memorised the maps to learn others whereabouts. Even with the map which you get on the screen you will struggle as there are no markers to suggest where you are or where your sight jacked view is coming from. You will need to memorise there patrolling patterns as you have no other way of telling where or when they are coming at you. You can also pick up on landmarks and blind spots by looking through them, but like I said, it may take a while.
Where as most games encourage confrontation, usually by sticking a ruddy great weapon in your hands, Forbidden Siren has broken and remade all the rules to horror gaming in effect, as most of the characters you have a chance to play as only start with a flashlight. Most of the time you will have to practice sight jacking as many of your enemies have flashlights and they also have shovels to attack you with. The Shibito don't only move on the ground either, you will sometimes here them just as they sniper you off or scurry along above you on phone wires before pouncing. Most of the time you will have to be patient and try the trial and error method before you get it fight, now and then you will even be given a weapon such as a gun, but this comes with t he bare minimum of ammo, so its best to use your arms wisely.
Unlike some horror games though, Siren takes place over a 72 hour period of time, and is broken up into 78 tasty little adventures. Each event that you play as is put onto a spreadsheet and you can then see how different characters roles fit together. This is a nice touch to the game and helps to avert any confusion which you may have picked up during your playing of the game.
On first play of this you may struggle a little with he controls too, in order to do a simple move you must go into the menu screen, pick your action and then accept it before doing anything, this may seem a little padded out, but the makers have done this deliberately so that you think before you act. However you will most likely act, then die then have time to think about your last slaughtering before you retry with your new strategy.
The games levels can easily be completed in a few minutes, but if you just sprint through the level you will most likely miss many important parts of the games sub plot. But you are given the opportunity to retry these levels to try and find the parts which you missed out on first time around, and as you most probably missed at least some of the enemies then the suspense is always just around the corner.
Most of this games details have been finely worked over, using real people to base the characters movement on, which helps to give that added feel to the game, cut scenes are especially good and sometimes feel like a film in a game, the only thing which lets this game down is to have characters which look very Japanese, but have a very English feel to them, in the way the voices have been heavily dubbed with very British accents. This can sometimes relieve some of the tension before you snap your joy pad in half, but sometimes are very off-putting and sometimes downright funny to listen to.
This game is very demanding game and a lot has gone into making it work to its full potential, and fans of films such as the ring and gaming fans of Resident Evil and Silent Hill will play this until red in the face, you do need it to click though, get you into a certain mindset to truly want to come back to this again and again. But once you do, Forbidden Siren will have you looking over your shoulder for weeks.