Forbidden Siren

Games - Forbidden Siren Review PS2

Forbidden Siren Review PS2

Forbidden Siren is a game that has been hyped, not because of its gameplay but because it apparently has a huge scare factor. It's Japanese, it's stealthy, it's sombre and it is scary. Think of Solid Snake in Silent Hill or and early Resident Evil and you will have a good idea what Forbidden Siren is all about.

Forbidden Siren is based around the events of a small town in the middle of nowhere three days after an earthquake. You will follow the fortunes of 10 different characters and their struggle to find out how this natural disaster had such an unnatural effect of raising the dead. The thing is, Forbidden Siren doesn't just pair you with one in game character but 10 and you will have to figure out what has happened by interlinking these ten different perspectives on the same situation. You will switch to another character after each scenario has been completed, each of these characters have their own objectives and playing styles. If you are slightly confused at this point you will be when playing the game because the story is very complicated

Games - Forbidden Siren Review PS2

and trying to work out what has happened from various different sources can be a little tricky to work out at times. But Forbidden Siren is a very rewarding game none the less.

Apart from this Forbidden Siren has another very good innovation called Sight Jacking. This is a special ability that all 10 characters in the game have and it enables you to see through the enemies eyes by pressing the L2 button. Well sort of, it is not quite that easy, once you have the L2 button pressed down you must use the analogue stick to point in the direction of an enemy to view through their eyes. Obviously you don't know where the zombies are, so you must rotate the stick slowly to try and find one, a bit like tuning a radio. Once you have found the zombie the view will appear a bit grainy, a bit like snow on the TV. This make getting around a bit easier as well as letting you get familiar with the zombies routes. The strange thing is, Forbidden Siren has a map but it doesn't show your location, this doesn't really matter though because with the ability of Sight Jacking Forbidden Siren has a completely different feel to all the other survival horror games.

The action in Forbidden Siren isn't what you might expect or be used to from the Resident Evil or Silent Hill series. Each of the scenarios will typically see each player thrown into unfamiliar surrounding and you will have to make your way from point A to point B. When you start the game with each character you will have to fight for survival from the off so don't think you will be in for and easy ride. The zombies are very well organised as they will patrol key areas near bridges and at the best vantage points. If you should walk into the view of a zombie you will have to run like the wind as they will chase you down until you are dead. You can fight back but if you knock them out they wont stay down on the ground for long. Matters get even worse when the zombies are armed, if they have a shovel or club you will be dead in a matter of seconds unless you can outrun them. If they have a gun you have no chance as the zombies have a very accurate aim, running wont work, one shot with a shot gun and you will be dead and up to four shots of a pistol and you will be dead. The real secret to the game is to sneak past zombies without them knowing you where ever there, especially if they are armed. Stealth is the name of the game even if you have a gun on your possession, because the zombies will not die. If you do have a gun shoot and then make a run for it and hide.

As you progress through the game you will learn very quickly that you must stay out of sight. Sometimes if you finish a scenario you may be forced to replay it later in the game, this is because you haven't completed the correct objectives to enable the story line to continue. This can be frustrating but second time round scenarios feel much easier and as a result you will have more confidence to explore the area. You will probably wonder why the same level caused you so many problems the first time round. This all comes back to the map that doesn't show you location. It makes it very difficult to see or know where you have been and how to find new places. If I'm being honest I think Forbidden Siren should have a map because it can cause loads of problems when first entering a new environment. The controls aren't the best ever devised, feeling clunky and awkward to control the onscreen action. Shooting can be a bit hit and miss as can hand to hand combat. It does cause problems to start with but you should be able to cope with the short fall.

You might expect Forbidden Siren to be frustrating but somehow it charms its way through the random set backs and control shortfalls. The game is very stylish and atmospheric, it can scare and it more than likely will and the story is so complicated and strange that you want to find out more, this is probably why you keep plodding onwards.

Forbidden Siren looks great and it has taken more from the foggy and misty looks of Silent Hill rather than the cleaner Resident Evil look. This is no surprise as Forbidden Siren was conceived by Keiichiro Toyama who was the director of the Silent Hill while he was at Konami. The zombies are fantastic to watch as they huff and puff after darting around checking the area for their next meal. Unfortunately the fantastic atmosphere created by the stylistic graphics, gruesome noises and fantastic sound track is destroyed by the terrible voice acting. It's not just mediocre it ruins all the hard work done with the rest of the sound and visuals. It's a real shame that this was not sorted before the release.

One the whole Forbidden Siren breaks new ground with the blend of stealth and stylised gore and new game play elements including the amount of characters you control to the multi layer story line to the Sight Jacking feature. Unfortunately there are flaws worst of which is the control system that can be overcome, but it should have been revised and polished before release. Novice gamers will find Forbidden Siren daunting to say the least with its testing game play. More advanced players will appreciate the new innovations and challenging game play. If you want a game that blends stealth with survival horror and breaks new ground and you think you can the flaws this could be for you.

7.5 out of 10

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