Category Archives: 2018

Project Zero 5: The Difference a Little Warmth Can Make

And so we come to what is, at the time of writing, the grand finale to the Project Zero series: Maiden of Black Water on Wii U.

While the nature of the series means that it’s entirely possible we’ll see some more games in the future — and indeed unverified “my uncle works at Nintendo” rumours circulated earlier this year that a Switch installment was in development — Maiden of Black Water is an interesting game that acts as a suitable swansong for the series if, indeed, that is truly “it”.

But then Mio and Mayu from Deep Crimson Butterfly and Yuri from this game are putting in cameo appearances in the impending Super Smash Bros. Ultimateso you never know what might happen… Ahem. Anyway. Let’s look at Maiden of Black Water in detail.

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Project Zero 4: Touched by the Moon

And so it is that we come to the fourth installment in the Project Zero series: a game that never came West in an official capacity.

Known as Zero: Tsukihame no Kamen in its native Japan and Mask of the Lunar Eclipse in the West following an ambitious (and successful) fan-translation project, this fourth game represented a number of “firsts” for the series.

It was the first installment to not be exclusively developed by Tecmo. It was the first installment to leave the series’ original host platforms of PlayStation 2 and Xbox. And it was the first installment to make a number of mechanical shakeups to the basic Project Zero formula, which would become fixtures in subsequent releases. Let’s take a closer look.

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Project Zero 3: Sleep, Priestess, Lie in Peace

For me, a good horror game is hard work.

I don’t mean that it’s a chore to play or anything like that; I mean that engaging with it to the fullest is a genuinely taxing experience from at the very least a mental perspective… and possibly a physical one too.

As I sit here typing this, still somewhat breathless after the genuinely exhausting finale of Project Zero 3: The Tormented, I can confirm that the third installment in this series is emphatically a good horror game.

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Project Zero 2: Float Like a Butterfly

How do you follow an impressively creepy horror game about ghosts in the Japanese tradition? With more of the same, but different and/or better, of course.

Project Zero 2: Crimson Butterfly began development shortly after its predecessor was completed, and eventually released for Japanese and North American PlayStation 2 players in late 2003, and for Europe the following April. This was then followed by an enhanced Xbox port, which released in Japan and North America in late 2004, with Europe once again bringing up the rear in February of 2005.

Interestingly, the game then got a complete remake for the Nintendo Wii in the summer of 2012; this released simultaneously in Japan, Australia and Europe, but skipped a North American release. It’s this latter version that we’re primarily concerned with today. But first, a bit of history…

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Project Zero: Scream for the Camera

Tecmo’s Project Zero — also known as Fatal Frame in the United States, and simply Zero in its native Japan — has always stood out.

“Survival horror” is most certainly not what it once was, but even during its heyday in the late ’90s and early 2000s, Project Zero set itself apart by eschewing the blood, gore and violent scenes people had come to associate with the genre.

Instead, it provided a rather more contemplative, supernatural tale with its roots in traditional Japanese spiritualism. And by golly has it held up really well since its original release nearly 20 years ago.

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Evenicle: Fighting to Keep the World the Same

Eroge tend to find themselves in a difficult position, with their reputation of being “porn” being a largely contributing factor as to why they rarely get any mainstream recognition.

This is unfortunate, because as we’ve already seen with visual novels like Frontwing’s Grisaia series and the RPGs in AliceSoft’s Rance series, having 18+ content most certainly does not mean that a work has nothing to say.

On the contrary, the freedom to be as “adult” as you like brings with it the opportunity to explore interesting, mature and thought-provoking themes as well as just sexual content. And such is the case with Evenicle, one of AliceSoft’s strongest games to date, both from mechanical and story perspectives. Let’s take a closer look at its overall narrative.

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Evenicle: Fightin’ Waifus

We took a look at an overview of how Evenicle works as a game back when I shared my first impressions of the game, but it’s time to delve a bit deeper.

Much like AliceSoft’s other games, Evenicle is an RPG in which its narrative and mechanical elements are intertwined rather nicely, giving the whole experience a pleasant feeling of coherence. The party members you gather over the course of the game feel like people rather than collections of stats and abilities — but there’s some interesting mechanical depth there for those who care to explore such things.

Let’s dive in, then.

MILD NSFW WARNING

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