PLATFORM: PC, PS4, PS5 (REVIEWED), XBOX ONE, XBOX SERIES X, SWITCH | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Originally released on the Wii U in 2015, Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water (also known as Fatal Frame in its native Japan) is a remaster of the fifth instalment of the main horror franchise from Koei Tecmo.
Back in 2015, it wasn't generally received well and although this "upgrade" delivers a higher framerate and some improved graphics for the character models, the clunky control scheme, unfortunately, undermines the wonderfully creepy atmosphere and story at its heart.
Mount Hikami holds a dark secret and people who venture there tend to not return - we as players follow the story of Yuri, Ren and Miu, three individuals whose stories all cross as you try to piece together the mystery of the Shrine Maidens whilst also battling malevolent spirits with your camera known as camera obscura.
The camera mechanic is the biggest and most unique appeal of the entire series and, along with the gyro controls of the Playstation 5 DualSense (as we reviewed that version), allow you to capture the same extra level of immersion as the original Wii U version. However, to fully appreciate the gameplay, you must first wrap your head around the questionable button mapping as there are so many little things you need to remember whilst your camera takes an age to reload and the ghosts are hunting you down.
The RPG elements of the original game are all here as you can upgrade your camera and film in order to go back to previous missions or "drops" to get the highest score possible - the only real aspect that will make you want to go back and play through the game again.
Even with a fun core gameplay mechanic and brilliantly designed and executed atmosphere and tension, this feels less of a remaster for the new generation and a slight upscaling of a game from two generations ago which is a mighty shame. Perhaps in another few years the entire series will be rebooted and fans new and old can experience a fresh and worthy remaster or remake of what should be an exhilarating horror game.