Horror fans are feasting at the moment, and things are only set to get better.
With The Callisto Protocol and the Dead Space remake both released in the last couple of months, and remakes of both Resident Evil 4 and Silent Hill 2 to look forward to, there’s already a lot on a horror gamer’s plate. But there’s more. A remaster of Mask of the Lunar Eclipse, the fourth entry in the Fatal Frame or Project Zero series depending on where you are in the world is also on the way.
Originally released on Nintendo Wii in 2008, Mask of the Lunar Eclipse is regarded by many as the best entry in the Fatal Frame / Project Zero series. It’s a game that finds a group of teenage girls returning to Rogetsu Isle, where they all had a disconcerting experience years ago. Why they’ve been drawn back is a mystery, but it’s clear that the stakes are high.
Going hands-on with the opening chapters of the game, we took of control of a few of the girls as they explored an eerie, abandoned building. It didn’t take long for various wraiths and apparitions to show up, making us apprehensive of making progress. But soon we had something with which to combat the paranormal entities that meant us harm: the Camera Obscura.
Pivotal to the series, the Camera Obscura not only records the girls’ exploits, but is also their only means of defense. Encounter a friendly spirit and quickly whipping out your camera allows you to snap them to earn valuable points. When you come face to face with a spirit that means you harm, however, you need to get it in your viewfinder and keep it there so that you can take a snap and do it some damage.
The points that you earn by taking pictures can be invested in a wide range of bonuses and upgrades, but you’ll have to unlock them for purchase first. What’s more important here is acquiring new lenses and film for your camera that will boost your ghost hunting success. Crystals can be found to upgrade your camera and lenses too, turning you into a serious ghostbuster.
Aside from the unique camera-based combat, this is your typical old-fashioned survival horror experience. You explore environments and often need to solve puzzles or find items to progress. The problem is, though, is that the controls are too rooted in the past. These girls control like tanks, making moving though locations a bit of a pain. Combined with tight corridors and cluttered rooms, the controls are particularly irksome during combat, making avoiding enemy attacks more difficult that it should be.
Still, for fans of horror, particularly J-horror, there’s a lot to be excited about in Fatal Frame / Project Zero: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse. The controls aren’t great but they don’t take all the fun or tension out of the experience. And as remasters go, the visuals here have had a substantial upgrade. Character models are great, and the environments are dripping in detail and atmosphere. So, while it may pale in comparison to the likes of Resident Evil 2 and Dead Space in terms of controls, it’s set to deliver on chills.
Fatal Frame / Project Zero: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse launches 9th March on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.