Fatal Frame: Maiden of the Black Water
A bland and formulaic affair that's more likely to bore than it is to horrify. Compared to its cult-hit predecessors, it's a damp squib.
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water is a disturbing tale well told. While the GamePad brings the series' camera-as-a-weapon concept to life in a way that feels very natural, the combat lacks real mechanical variety, which, combined with overly repetitive encounters, undermines the impact of its most terrifying enemies. Fortunately, there's an abundance of darkness to be found, with some of the most unsettling and stylish scares I've experienced in a while.
Another wasted survival horror sequel, that ruins its chance to make proper use of the GamePad and turns fear of the unknown into fear of the same old thing.
Enjoyable combat and bold enemy design can't save Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water. With a dull, repetitive story that abandons any sense of horror, it's a shadow of what it could have been.
The introductory hours captivate with an authentically chilling vibe, but that entertainment eventually gives way to grating repetition
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water is a well-intentioned addition to the Wii U's mostly family-friendly library and does an excellent job of transporting you to another place and time. That's about it, though. Its story and characters are not compelling, and the GamePad-as-camera controls are frequently unreliable. These prevent the game from attaining any real sense of excitement or drama. With too much out of sync--from wildly variable handling to the way you use items to the unconvincing character relationships--Fatal Frame: Maiden of the Black Water isn't anything more than a mediocre experience.
After a few hours with Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water, I know I'll be returning upon its release ... It's a clever twist on the classic formula, with an inspired use of the Wii U hardware, and a spooky, pitch-perfect Halloween game in its own right.
If this what Fatal Frame is now, I don't want it anymore.
Instead of the in-your-face outright scare without substance, Maiden of Black Water goes for a sense of dread paired with an insatiable curiosity to know what happened next. It's a welcome re-introduction to the franchise in the West, a hit for the Wii U, which is still trying to prove it can appeal to "Mature" gamers. It will make you wonder just what was that sound down your dark hallway at 3am, and just when did your bathroom faucet start leaking?
Those looking for a spooky adventure for Halloween can certainly find one in Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water. Taking photos of ghosts while trying to keep dry is enthralling, while Mount Hikami's forests and shrines are among some of the spookiest locales in the franchise. Once you have gotten used to the mechanics though, it's far too easy to just plough through the game and the characters themselves are almost as vacant as… well ghosts! An enjoyable treat at least, but not enough tricks.