Fatal Frame 2 Crimson Butterfly is the scariest game of 2003, easily beating out Silent Hill 3. Now I didn’t think this was possible, I mean Akira Yamaoka can make some twisted and messed up imagery, and it was a great game that actually made some sense in the story department where many people said the second game was lacking. Two separate games, two separate stories, there is bound to be some arguing among game aficionados over which of the two is a better game, and about which is a scarier game. Well this aficionado is going to go with Fatal Frame 2, and it seriously runs in contention with SSX 3 as my personal game of the year. You’ve got a great story, some amazing graphics, really creepy sound, and a twin sister who’s on the verge of a nervous psychological breakdown screaming bloody murder, all the proper elements for a great horror game.
The story of this game doesn’t follow that of Fatal Frame although there are many links going around on the net about how Fatal Frame and Crimson Butterfly are connected, but from playing through this game the only link there appears to be is the camera, used to seal away the souls of ghosts. Mio and Mayu Amakura are out in the woods one afternoon and while Mio does some reminiscing Mayu runs of in chase of what appears to be a crimson butterfly. Mio chases after her sister and both wind up in All God’s Village, a place where a sinister ceremony takes place that appears to have gone foul, for the entire village is empty, aside from some ghosts. So of course the most pressing issue is to get the hell out of the village and that’s just what you’ll be doing. Aside from my crappy synopsis I must tell you, don’t watch the opening video, it really gives away too much of the story and plot twists. So skip on it if you can. Another great part of the story is the interactions between Mio and Mayu, Mayu is more spiritually inclined than her sister so when she starts getting nervous about something then you know weird stuff is on the way. You can also see the attachment the two have to each other. The only let down to the story, I think they should have switched the endings around, the easy/normal ending and the hard/nightmare ending I think could have been better if they were the other way around.
Fatal Frame 1 was notorious for its interesting new form of combat through the use of a first person camera view with the Camera Obscura. Being a big pull in the first game it’s good to see that Tecmo went and refined the camera system and have made it better than I could have ever hoped. In the game you score points for the photos that you take of ghosts. Depending on the type of film, distance, and clarity of the shot you will do damage to the ghost and absorb some of its power, which in turn fuels the special abilities of the camera. This is a much better system than in the first game where you had to find special stones in order to use those special abilities and the number of those stones was so minimal it almost made it not worthwhile to use them.
In Crimson Butterfly however the stones are present but they are much more abundant and are used to power up the camera. So before you can spend the points to power up the camera you must first find the stones, and that really is not a problem. Another cool addition to the camera combat is being able to do combo attacks with it.
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