Fatal Frame or Project Zero depending on where you’re from Maiden Of Black Water sees you play through as 3 protagonists; Yuri, Ren and Miu as you try to work towards discovering the secrets of Hikami Mountain where several people have gone missing either through suicide or other means.
This game is not for the faint of heart or those with heart problems as it does a very good job of scaring the sh*t out of you with its ominous alluring atmosphere, jump scares around most corners as well as a combat system that gets you up close and personal with various ghosts throughout the many chapters the game presents you with.
Atmospherically, Maiden of Black Water is a brilliantly terrifying game that is at its best with the lights off, headphones on and a spare pair of shorts to hand.
It plays really well, with a deep, meaningful throughout areas that beg to be explored as well as giving you that sense of what was that sound… Oh it’s ok, it’s my own heart racing and it all blends together wonderfully.
You take control of one character at a time as you progress through the game solving puzzles / exorcising ghosts with the Camera Obscura which doubles as both an exploration tool as well as a means of exorcising ghosts that become hostile towards you as they struggle with their loss of life.
The combat system, whilst at first seems odd and disjointed, once mastered becomes a very good way of dealing with the ghosts.
You need to line up the frame of the camera not only to the ghost itself but also to the spiritual orbs the ghost produces in order to sap it of its energy bringing it the eternal rest it deserves.
The Camera can be upgraded giving you more scope to deal with multiple enemies at once which certainly in the later game becomes an essential part of your kit to avoid suffering the ghosts wroth.
The not so good
The controls, whilst not terrible feel outdated. The game originally came out in 2014 and in this re-release it shows.
I think the game would have done well having a good level of polish modernising the way the characters feel, which on one hand would detract from the original release but giving the smoothness of most modern day releases it really shows its age here.
Also, the way the text boxes are presented, again feel very kind of PS2 era-ish, maybe PS3 but well out of date, although, again, I do respect the fact the dev’s don’t want to detract from the original 2014 release it would have been nice to see an extra level of care taken to bring the game up to a more 9th gen standard.
To be honest though, these are really the only negative points I can find.
Given then type of game it is, it is very well put together, I’ve had no shutdown issues, no crashes, the trophies have all popped for me where they should which I’ve come to expect from Koei Tecmo and they certainly haven’t disappointed here.
There aren’t any online elements to Fatal Frame: Maiden Of Black Water.
The audio is such an important factor in a horror game and they have done an amazing job here from the music to the groaning of the ghosts, whilst there is more text boxes than speech in the game for the most part which is a shame, the game does a brilliant job of bringing a sense of dread and terror throughout the various levels.
I’m a big fan of the way the ghosts sound, you can hear the pain and confusion in their groans, rather than just generic moaning that some other horror games convey, here, even though they’re dead, the ghosts have an impressive level of emotion that is conveyed really well to the player, especially with a decent set of headphones on.
You have a fair amount to do if you’re looking at earning the Platinum including completing the entire game, fully upgrading your camera and lenses as well as photographing every ghost type which will require some very quick photography to succeed.
To summarise, Fatal Frame Maiden of Black Water is a fantastically terrifying experience that offers the player a rich, deep atmospheric experience that does a really good job conveying the story and the bond between the protagonists as they work towards figuring out what’s going on on Mount Hikami.
The controls and do leave you somewhat wanting a more up to date implementation, but like I said earlier, this would then detract from the original release and this is far from a remake, if anything, it’s an un-marketed remaster which tries to bring itself in to 2021.
That aside, this game is well worth your time if you’re a fan of the horror genre especially given the £32.99 price point.
If they had tried to price this game at anything over £35 then this review would have gone a different way, however, price, release date, gameplay and atmospherics have all been well on point so I award Fatal Frame Maiden Of Black Water a very well deserved 8/10.
Final Score: 8
That’s our Fatal Frame Maiden Of Black Water Review I hope it helps you decide whether or not the game is worth your time and money.