I'm really feeling it!
I'm really feeling it!
Illustration for article titled Hot Take: Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water (Wii U eShop)

Fatal Frame has always had a tough time in the west. Despite a unique gameplay concept it’s never become as ubiquitous as games like Resident Evil. Despite that it’s amassed a cult following, and despite a rocky past few games, somehow made it to the onto the Wii U thanks to the help of digital distribution. But was it worth Nintendo bringing it over, or did the Maiden of Black Water fail to capture the Fatal Frame spirit?

  • Combating spirits with the novelty of gyroscope sensors in the Wii U Gamepad straddles the line of tedium as the game progresses. You’ll end up “fighting” a lot of that same kinds of enemies and it loses it’s impact. On top of that swerving around in small spaces to get a good view of spirits can be unwieldy. Luckily you can turn off motion controls for a more traditional gaming experience.
  • Gameplay wise it doesn’t break any molds. There’s some exploration, but you’ll find yourself mostly funneled through creepy corridors which was a bit disappointing. It wants to rely on atmosphere and world building to put the player in suspense but I never felt like I was allowed to linger and learn more about the terrible events that took place in every corner. The game never shied away from a cheap jump-scare opportunity though.
  • Running feels slow and turning around is clunky.
  • The story is dark and dingy, and the atmosphere does a lot to underscore that feeling. Though the graphics are lackluster, they don’t take away from that. The game does a lot to feed you enough information about a place to make it that bit more unsettling.
  • The story is disturbing but complicated. You’ll find yourself working between three characters in different periods of time. Despite that it never felt totally convoluted. You’re playing a horror game about a ghost hunter with a magic camera... is the story really going to break the experience?

Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water’s flaws never let the game shine. Even if the story works, it never felt like it captivated me emotionally. Despite refining their formula over a series of games, Koei Tecmo didn’t make this one stand out. It’s a decent game, but it doesn’t feel like the quintessential Fatal Frame fans want, even with the novel use of the gamepad.

You’re reading TAY, Kotaku’s community-run blog. TAY is written by and for Kotaku readers like you. We write about games, art, culture and everything in between. Want to write with us? Check out the Beginner’s Guide to TAY and join in. JpSr388 is a casual(ish) gaymer, hardcore Nintendo fan, designer & writer. He writes about what he cares about, and is always good for some opinions. Find his sexy ass on Twitter here. Or keep on the lookout for more editorial, QuickDraws, Hot Takes and reviews here.

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