Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Retro Review: Forbidden Siren 2

I got my Siren 2 game around the same time I were handed Siren. Because of all the frustration I had trying to play the first one, the second one were left simply standing by my other horror games. Upon doing a little research and finding out there were more “positive” reviews in which many praised the game for developing the controls; I gave Siren 2 a shot.

Forbidden Siren 2
Developed by Japan Studio
Published by Sony Computer Entertainment
Played on PlayStation 2
Reviewed by: Anna Råberg

Forbidden Siren 2 takes us to Yamijima Island; that seemed to be a quite little fishing village once upon a time. Now, something has gone horribly wrong and time seems to have left the little community for good. Once again a new set of main characters will be aware of the Shibitos and what horror that lurks beneath them. Just like it's ancestor, Forbidden Siren 2 won't let you down on the confusing story part. But this time it seems to be less jumping back and forth; a thing that really made Siren a pain. It's clear to me that the storywriters knew what they were doing and for all the times when the controls drives you up a tree, the story makes up for it. On some occasions however, it seems that it falls flat on it's face; some plots just feels dull or frustrating.

As far as I counted there's 10 playable characters in Siren 2. The real problem with this game is that the majority of the characters are paper thin and doesn't get more flesh on the bones as the game goes on. It seems that they took time to deepen some of them and left the others simply on the surface. Also, the annoying “facts” of Siren remains on the character traits. Women can't climb higher ledges, they're physically weaker and sometimes refused to carry guns. I'll count Ichiko in here; even tough she's a teenager, she can still carry some weapons. The only child you'll play with trough the game won't even have a death sequence; if a shibito finds you, you're busted and will only be given that painful “Mission failed” screen.

I were sitting on nails when I explored the AI. It is however more developed but still has a long way to go as far as I'm concerned. For most of the times, your partner will do as you say and not get stuck in a puddle of water on the way. It can still happen that you give a command that's completely ignored while they run of to play “who's the next shibito meal”. A nice little function in Siren 2 is that most of your partners will pick up weapons and some might even use them! To bad, that can be both good and insanely bad for you. As a partner decides to kick the living daylights out of an enemy; they more than often places themselves in front of you, making it hard for you to hit the enemy without hitting them. It should be mentioned that there's a berserker function; your partner won't be your punchbag forever and after enough hit's they'll go on a mission to kick your ass. They seem to calm down after getting to do this however.

The sightjack function is still good and gives a heartbeating atmosphere. You can lock onto one of the face buttons as soon as you find a shibito view that you want to keep. It's still as necessary as it was in the first one and I suggests that you get used to it; this function isn't there for fun, it will actually help you got trough the game more smoothly and has to be used to complete some missions. The combat has been a little developed. You now have a three swing combo and it seems to run a little more smooth than it did in Siren. Still, it's far from finished. Shibitos seems to have a bad little habit of always getting the first hit and your character takes some damn good time before they deliver a blow; leaving them more than open for an attack. Fire arms have also been slightly improved. For example, it's much easier to aim with the rifle's that you'll find more than once. If you find any sort of fire arm in Forbidden Siren 2; you'll grab it without the hesitation you had in the first game.

Just like the first one, Forbidden Siren 2 suffers when it comes to re-play value. If you find the story interesting you will for sure play again but there's not much more. There's two new missions and many collectables again. If you're in it for the unlockables, you probably won't touch Forbidden Siren 2 again.
The controls are improved in this game. The characters runs a little smoother in their movement and we're finally able to “run” while crouching. The control schema is pretty much the same as it were in the first one; you move your character with the left joystick and toggle things such as your flashlight, crouching, commands and so on with the face buttons.

The graphics are bad for it's time. There haven't been much improvement since Siren and therefore the game's almost looks the same. The atmosphere are still very nice and gives a creepy feeling to the games. Still, the characters isn't pretty to look upon and even tough it's a nice detail, these “real” faces just makes it look morbid. The soundtrack is really quite and not very memorable. Some levels doesn't have any music at all, just the sound of gently falling rain. This is, as I've stated before, not bad for the Siren series. It doesn't need a loud soundtrack; since it would probably just be annoying.

Forbidden Siren 2 was a step in the right direction. Still, it feels kind of dull that it had been 3 years since the first one and I can barley see any improvement on graphics. I recommend that if you had patience enough to play trough Siren, you should for sure play Forbidden Siren 2 as it will be more enjoyable than it's ancestor.

Story: 8/10        Gameplay: 8/10        Controls: 6/10
Replay Value: 5/10        Visuals: 4.5/10        Audio: 7.5/10
Total Score 7.5/10.0
Truly Great
Buy This Game

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