For one of the longest running franchises in gaming, Project Zero constantly sneaks out and then hides away for a few years. It seems it also has more re-releases than actual franchise titles. Today we’re going to have a look at the re-release of Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water, which originally released on the Wii U back in 2014, but has just been released on all modern platforms. Let’s have a look at the Switch port.
Maiden of Black water is set on a fictional Japanese mountain, similar to the Aokigahara area of Japan, where suicides are more common than anywhere else. Here we pick up with 3 playable characters in different scenarios; firstly we have Miu who’s the daughter of recurring protagonist Miku Hinasaki, Yuri and Ren. Each of these characters play through the story, with an interlinking plot going between 3 different timelines in around a 12 hour story.
In game we start to see some cracks, the story ticks over in a usual fashion, but with no major twists and turns in the story, it all feels like it’s been done before apart from it being a remaster, I found the game doesn’t really want you to explore on your own accord, especially the first few hours of the game, you’re pushed along to find everything you need in an easy fashion.
At least the game looks decent, we’ve had a fresh lick of paint which I’m sure will translate over to Xbox and Playstation, characters are nicely detailed with some typical breast bounce (sigh) and the areas look similarly good, Unfortunately the spirits you have to “combat” still look like they’ve come from the PS2 era of titles, again no new ideas seem to have come to the table with the spirits, it’s the same stuff we’ve seen before.
It runs relatively well on the Switch in both docked and in handheld. With no issues between either that I was able to see playing through either way, this was on Original hardware too and not the Lite or the OLED models.
Combat remains the same as previous, with your camera being your weapon against ghosts, this being the main weapon in the entire franchise there’s no major updates in gameplay and everything has been done many times before. At least in other horror franchises we’ve seen progressively gameplay as we go along (Resident Evil’s formula changes spring to mind). With Project Zero I don’t feel we’ve progressed much since it’s debut 20 years ago.
Controlling the camera feels really alien on the switch, with the gyro controls not being as responsive as I’d have liked. Even switching to my controller it didn’t feel like it should, more sluggish tar like movement. Hopefully this is something that gets patched at a later date.
Obviously this is the first time in a number of years we’ve had an entry into the franchise that’s been on anything that’s not a Nintendo console (2005 for Playstation owners, 2003 for Xbox owners), maybe it was time to have a do-over on the franchise, reintroduce people into the series and have a totally clean slate. Instead we have a re-release of a sequel that’s now 7 years old and even then a game that wasn’t initially easy to get hold of.
Franchise is in need of an update, starting to feel stale.
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