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12 Reviews

Project Zero 2: Seven years old, but still terrifying

Tecmo's horror classic returns from the dead

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One change that does stand out like a rusty nail is the new English voice acting. It's not bad - as expected in the wake of Xenoblade and The Last Story, it's well-performed stuff - but it does take away some of the B-movie cheesiness of the previous games. Plus, it always sounds a bit weird hearing regional British voices emanating from a village of ancient Japanese ghosts. (Would it have been so hard to include the original Japanese voices for once?)

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MOST HAUNTED

Tinkering aside, Tecmo have expanded the game with an entirely new mode, Haunted House, which bears more than a passing resemblance to feelplus's lightly terrible Wii game Ju-on: The Grudge. Framed as a sort of spooky rollercoaster curated by a nondescript ghostly woman (she's no The Crypt Keeper), the mode challenges you to survive a handful of short stages, after which your mental state and psychic power are evaluated.

Well, sort of. Like a daytime chat show, Project Zero 2 performs its 'science' with a polygraph - or the next best thing, the humble Wii remote. Keep it steady and the game labels you stoic and out-of-touch with your spiritual side; waggle like a madman and the game politely calls you a wuss. There's an element of randomness to supposedly keep you on your toes, but you're unlikely to play the mode more than a couple of times.

First-person and on-rails (though you can pause and look around a bit by letting go of the A button), these experiences, cribbed from locations in the main game, are nothing to write home about in the scheme of things. The tension of Story mode is replaced by the atmosphere of an Alton Towers ride, while many of the sudden spooks and shocks are unwittingly hilarious. This couldn't be more different from the measured pace and treacle-thick mood of the main event.

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Of course, a tacked-on mode is a tacked-on mode, and as long as it doesn't damage or detract from that main event, there's really no reason to hold it against the game. In this instance, the cheesy Haunted House might actually be useful in unwinding after a particularly spooky play session.

Changes and additions aside, the core of the game has been left largely untouched. That's a good thing, because Crimson Butterfly is one of the best survival horrors ever made. None of these changes are essential, but they do help to revitalise a memorably heart-stopping horror title. If you missed it the first time, or you miss the series after all this time, reach out to your local game shop and pick it up. Just watch out for Ghost Hand. He's a jerk.

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The verdict

A friendlier game than the original, but a scarier one too, like a zombie that tidies up after it rips you apart. The best horror game on Wii, by some margin.

  • Genuinely, teeth-on-edge scary
  • Change of perspective works brilliantly
  • Not much in the way of additions
  • Not much in the way of additions
  • Haunted House mode shatters the game's carefully constructed mood
8.9
Format
PlayStation 2
Developer
Tecmo
Publisher
Tecmo
Genre
Survival Horror

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