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August 21, 2006
Forbidden Siren 2 - PS2 Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
13/7/2006SonySony Japan1MA15+Hard
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
75KBDolby PLIIYesNoNoneNo

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Forbidden Siren 2 looks impressive.
In 2004 Forbidden Siren was released. The game was an interesting title belonging to the survival-horror genre. Adding many unique gameplay elements together with many loved ones from the genre for what was, if nothing else, an original release. Unfortunately it was accompanied by several major flaws. 2 years on, we are seeing a sequel released. But with franchises like Resident Evil, Silent Hill and many others out there, itís hard to get into another survival horror series. So is this game really what the market is after? Read on and get our verdict!

The game is set on Yamijama (the island of darkness) and follows the survival attempts of nine individuals who are all, for one reason or another, stranded on the island. It turns out the island is inhabited by many strange beings, ranging from ghost-like shadows (the Yamibito Ė people of the dark) to zombies (Shibito Ė living dead). Through the story, the nine characters slowly work out what has happened and how these creatures came to be the way they are. The story is quite nice, however itís hard to follow for the most part, with a large portion of the story being implied (instead of told to the player) through archive items such as radio recordings and so on. These items can be collected by the player through normal gameplay.

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Searching around inside.
With nine different characters the developers have gone nuts, making each character different. This means that some will always have a flashlight, some will have guns, some will have other elements unique to them and one is even mostly blind. This blind character is interesting, because it forces the player to use first-person, meaning they can see very little because of the characters bad eyesight. Instead, players are forced to sight-jack (more on that in a minute) into his companion Ė a dog. From the view of the dog, players can then move the character, seeing through the dogs eyes.

Perhaps the coolest feature of the first game was the unique feature thatís has become known as Ďsight-jackingí. Basically this is, as the name would suggest, where the game allows you to hijack the sight of another character, be it a friend NPC or an enemy. This allows you to study enemy movements and patterns, view the level from different areas and so on, adding a much more strategic element to gameplay. The biggest issue with this is that, like the original, without knowing the level off by heart, it becomes largely pointless to jack into someone to plan ahead. Nonetheless, it is a very chilling experience watching yourself being hunted by an enemy.

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A bit late to be up isn't it?
The majority of Forbidden Siren 2 plays like the first game did, which is both a good and bad thing. It still feels fairly unique and different, but itís also full of problems. For starters, the movements are still very clunky and are quite difficult to get used to. This is particularly annoying as the game starts off fairly difficult and remains all through, but the difficult controls will probably have you playing many of the early missions a few times through. And it only gets worse when your allyís AI places them in your way and they wonít move, as so often happens in this game.

Another issue is the plot of the game. While the story itself is quite a nice one, the player can play through the game without having much of an idea of whatís going on. A large amount of the story comes from listening to the radio messages and other random pickups (obtained through playing through the game) in the Archive menu. The game has also retained the triangle menu system, which slows down action and leaves you vulnerable to attack far too often.

The sequel also seems to have kept a similar look to the original game. While the characters look amazingly close to real people, they arenít animated too well, and the game has a very grainy look to it. This is obviously done on purpose to give the game a B-grade horror feel, but itís hard to play the game without thinking about how much nicer it could look. The constant pallet of black and grey give the game a nice atmosphere, but after a few hours of play it becomes a bit plain and boring, with almost every area looking like almost every other area.

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OK. What the!?
Anyone who played the first game will remember, if nothing else, the amazing voice acting. Oh and by Ďamazingí I mean amazingly bad. There are few games that could claim more wrongly cast actors than Forbidden Siren. Finally, though, we have a contender, with the sequel continuing in the exact same fashion, with the apparently Japanese characters sounding more English than most UK residents do. Itís kind of sad, because the voice acting itself is quite nice, itís just about as wrong as you can get for the characters it is applied to. Apart from this, the rare music is quite nice and ambient sound is chilling indeed.

Basic diagnosis; if you liked the first game you will love this solid sequel. If you hated the first game, donít touch this one. Forbidden Sirent 2 is a very nice attempt at continuing the franchise and, if you can get of the various issues, a very satisfying release. With a planned third title for PS3 coming, this could be the next Resident Evil (also known to have several problems such as controls) and you wouldnít want to be the only one who hasnít at least tried it would you?

Review By: Michael Hutchesson

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version).
GRAPHICSAmazing character models Ė spookily realistic. Otherwise, suited to the game but a bit grainy.
SOUNDVoice acting makes this game worth muting while you play. Nice ambient noise and rarely heard music helps a bit though.
GAMEPLAYStill lots of potential with several critical flaws. Sight-jacking is more useful this time round though.
VALUEStill not the best horror game, but itís getting there. About 20 hours playtime for the average player on normal difficulty.
OVERALLWith many of the same flaws as the original, the game suffers a hit to the scores quite badly, but itís definitely one to give a try at least once.

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