Rising from the Grave: Siren

Fingers crossed for Siren on PS4!

Fingers crossed for Siren on PS4!

No matter what we may say, we like being scared. The thrill of the unknown, never knowing what is going to happen next. That’s why horror games have seen such a rise in popularity recently. The success of a single game have revitalised an entire genre. I talk of Slender of course, a game that set YouTube on fire and has spawn endless imitators. However, even with this increase on popularity, we’re still only really treated to small survival horror experiences. Where’s all the big hitters? Resident Evil is being put back on the drawing board, Silent Hill struggles to resonate with its fans and Project Zero/ Fatal Frame is currently stuck on the 3DS. This had me thinking of a game series that I use to love, yet never really struck gold with horror fans as sales were never spectacular. That series is the Siren series, developed by Project Siren, a small team working within the SCE Japan Studio.

With only 3 entries into the series, and the last one being somewhat of a retelling of the first game, I feel this is a series that died before it was ever given a chance. Siren is about a Japanese village with strong religious beliefs important in the area. The locals like to keep to themselves and have sought to keep their village isolated from the outside world. The story usually focuses on the leader of a local religion, a his attempt to resurrect or re-awaken a god through a ceremony. During the ceremony, residents immerse themselves in the surrounding water that is now red, thus creating an army of subordinates called Shibito. The Shibito then go about building a nest to house the god’s corporeal form once it is summoned, as well as killing and converting any remaining humans left, that usually includes you. With the popularity of horror games on the rise, does that mean Sony have Project Siren hard at work on a new game in the series for the PS4? This is ‘Rising from the Grave: Siren’.

It gets worse...

It gets worse…

Why? When Sony tried to reboot the series with Siren: Blo0d Curse on PS3 in 2008, they did something that was simply ahead of its time. They released the game in episodes, a format that The Walking Dead game from Telltale Games proved to be highly successful and a great way to distribute a game. They also released the game on disk too, for those of use that weren’t exactly in tune with downloading games yet. This is a strategy I’d love to see revisited for a new Siren game, with each episode ending on a cliff-hanger and a teaser for the next episode. When you think about it too, horror games fit the episodic nature extremely well, with deaths, reveals and intensity around each corner. The time is right for the next Siren episodic adventure.

How could it improve? I say it each time, but yes, the graphics could do with being upgraded. I’d actually like a more unique look to the game too, whether it be graphical or mechanical with perhaps retro style menus and items within the game. Something else that would benefit the game greatly too, is less weapons. Siren actually had a decent amount of weapons you could use against the enemy, from swords to shotguns. Maybe dial that back a bit and go a little deeper. With smaller characters not being able to handle the few larger firearms, but be quicker with their melee attacks. There’s a lot potential with being able to see through the eyes of the enemy too, with some of the scarier moments coming from that mechanic. With some tweaking, it could become a highly valuable tool to the player and one of the developers best opportunities to deliver some great scares.

Realistically, could this game happen? Project Siren had only been known for their Siren games. But in 2012, that all changed when they released a PS Vita game that saw both consumer and critical praise. This game was Gravity Rush, it was very different from the Siren games. It was such a big success for them, that it quickly gained a dedicated fan base and there is a high demand for a sequel. Project Siren has also shared their interest in making a sequel to Gravity Rush, so it would seem that a new Siren game is quite far off. However, Sony have stated that they have many first-party exclusives in development of the PS4, and we still have many of them to be revealed. Perhaps one of them is a new Siren game, if it is though, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was in development at a different studio with Project Siren doing nothing but overlooking the development as they work on Gravity Rush 2.

... like this much worse!

… like this much worse!

Probability of Rising from the Grave: 58%

-ast

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Resident Evil: Revelations HD (Demo) – First Impressions

Survival Horror is back!

Survival Horror is back!

Version Played: XBOX 360 Demo

Being a long time fan of the Resident Evil franchise, with it since the very beginning. I’m sure you understand my concern with the franchise at the moment. After the abysmal Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City and the underwhelming Resident Evil 6, I found myself worrying that the best times had come and gone. There was however, a shining diamond, the one game that was both well received from critics and fans alike. That game was Resident Evil: Revelations on the 3DS.

Now Capcom is releasing Resident Evil: Revelations on PC, XBOX 360, PS3 and Wii U. With updated HD visuals, extra difficulty modes, a new enemy type and extra characters for the Raid Mode, it’s safe to say Capcom are now in rehab, recovering and trying the please their loyal fans once again.

Resident Evil: Revelations HD takes place between the events of Resident Evil 4 and 5, and sees Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, teaming up with their respective partners, Parker Luciani and Jessica Sherawat aboard the seemingly abandoned ‘Queen Zenobia’ cruise ship, as it heads towards the city of Terragrigia. Like all past Resident Evil games though, nasty creatures await.

The demo only offered up around 20 minutes of gameplay, however even in that short time, I was given a taste of a lot of the various mechanics the game has to offer. In the section you play, your mission is to locate Chris and then find the key to the room he’s located in. Your given a small section of the ship to explore, and it’s immediately apparent that the game has a great atmosphere. You are alone (no Co-op here, yay!) and it can get dark, with nothing but your flashlight to help you see. Apart from the little mini-map at the top right of the screen, the HUD is very minimal which helps with the immersion also.

Unlike previous Resident Evil games, the controls here are much more friendly to use. No longer having to play finger twister to reload or throw a grenade, the new control scheme makes the game all the more enjoyable. It controls much like any other third person shooter now, but don’t think that’s what this game is. No, Resident Evil: Revelations HD is more survival horror than action unlike previous games. With little ammo and enemies that don’t go down with a simple headshot, encounters can become very intense. Each bullet missed, is one step closer to dying. If you play smart though and take your time, you’ll be able to manage your ammo and health fairly well with the use of Genesis.

Genesis is a scanning device you have access to that you can bring up at any time. You use this device to scan for hidden objects hidden around the levels. It’s always worth pulling the Genesis out in every room you come across to make sure you don’t miss out on those vital 5 bullets or that lifesaving green herb. It can also be used to scan enemies, alive or dead, each scan counts towards a percentage at the top of the screen. Once 100% is reached, I received a green herb. Whether or not you get better rewards later on is yet to be seen, but it does hold its advantages it seems.

Through the start of the demo your given glimpses to the creatures you’ll be facing, then you’ll be up in their face, fighting them off in the later part of the demo. Now the creatures in this game spawn from the T-Abyss virus which has been made and modified using the original T-Virus. It is a marine type virus, and the creature design does a great job of showing that. You’ll only be facing the Ooze monster in the demo, they’re slow, but take quite a few bullets to take down and can do so serious damage. They show signs of marine life with their dripping wet look and their swordfish-like arm blades. I can’t wait to see what else is going to be on offer throughout the full game.

The graphics are also a great, Capcom has done a fantastic job with updating the visuals. Main character models look great as do the enemies. However the environments, whilst looking good, feel empty at times. It’s here when you can tell this was once a 3DS game, with very little going on, everything feels so static. Other than that, I didn’t run into any problems.

Resident Evil: Revelations HD (due out next week!) is looking to be a return to form for Capcom. Delivering a survival horror Resident Evil game to the home console and PC fans. Let’s just hope they can use this mentality when moving forward in the main storyline. If Resident Evil: Revelations HD can prove anything, it’s that we don’t need zombies, fixed camera angles and cheesy dialogue to have a classic Resident Evil experience.

-ast