I've played thru the first two games in the series on the original Xbox. Never had a PS/2 so I didn't get around to playing this 3rd installment until now on my backwards compatible 60gb PS3 (which works fine).
Let me just say this was a very good game that I enjoyed a lot. I'm just holding off calling it great because I liked the first two games in the series better, and feel they went in a direction I didn't like for this 3rd one - too actiony.
The first 2/3 of this game were pretty good. The same slow paced exploration gameplay as in the first two games. Didn't really like how they switched you around to play 3 different characters as I never really felt connected to any of them. But it was pretty good.
Then in the last 1/3 of the game they introduced a timer mechanism which turned into a rushed, beat the clock, trying to get things done instead of the slow exploration previously. This timer which is portrayed as a candle burning down just ruined it for me. I resorted to following a FAQ walkthru to finish, something I hate to do, but was just too frustrated with it all. It's as if the game turned from scary slow exploration into an action game - an action game with HORRIBLE controls!
The final boss battle was pretty frustrating too. Not so much the boss itself, but the horrible clunky controls together with 5 minutes of walking every-time you die to get back to the boss was very tedious. Yuck - I hate games that end like this.
So in summary - if you can, you should play the 3 games in order - starting with the first two using the Xbox versions as I think those were better looking and sounding than this PS/2 version. Somebody should release these as a collection to make it easier to do so. I also missed the Xbox's surround sound, too bad this third installment was never ported over to the Xbox.
Fatal Frame 3 is the weakest in the series so far, but that doesn't stop it being entertaining.
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Grows on you"
Fatal Frame has always been one of my favourite horror franchises, both the first and second game told a good spooky story with unique combat and extremely fear-inducing ghosts. Fatal Frame 3 picks up the pieces from the earlier games in the franchise by being set directly after the events of the first two games, throwing in new and old characters, a new story of rituals gone wrong and a multitude of new camera functions. Unfortunately not every aspect of the game delivers.
Story wise Fatal Frame 3 is a bit of a mess, it see's you filling the shoes of three characters:- new lead Rei Kurosawa, Miku Hinisaka from the first game and Kei Amakura (who is the cousin of the twins from the second game) working together to stop a curse lurking in peoples dreams including their own. When the characters sleep they enter a nightmare world they must progress through and solve certain objectives to wake up, all the while getting deeper into the curse (which is shown by a black tattoo spreading on their bodies) and risking their own lives. Not to spoil things too much but the cast are all searching for a lost loved one, and the theme of the story very much focusses on loving those we love and the misery surrounding that. There is of course the obligatory creepy rituals, hell being unleashed on an unsuspecting household and doomed folklorists from previous titles. The issues in the story lay purely in that it isn't told as well as it should be, in previous games notes scattered around the mansion and cut scenes painted the unfolding plot about before you expertly but here they fail to make sense and your often left clueless as to what is going on. It's not that the plot is "bad", it's just not told to a satisfactory level and thus is left with massive holes. That said fans of the series should still enjoy to some degree.
For those not in the know Fatal Frame see's players wielding a phantom zapping camera in combat. Taking photos of ghosts causes you to damage hostile ones, and special close range shots as the ghosts lunge at you (know as zero shots) cause increased damage. The camera can also be upgraded to be more powerful and there are lenses that cause special attacks and combo's to be inflicted on your enemies. The combat in Fatal Frame 3 is essentially the same as the earlier games, albeit more. There are more lenses, more attacks, three characters all wielding different cameras that must be upgraded independently as well as character specific abilities that can alter combat. Unfortunately in their eagerness to add so much to the game the flaws appear. There are far too many functions to bother with most of them in your first play through, it's frustrating to have three cameras some starting significantly weaker than others and some of the cameras new functions are just utterly pointless when you can defeat a lot of ghosts with ease in the conventional way you tackled them in previous games. That said however, the combat can also be frustrating, the game will throw you into far more difficult fights to previous games and even when you do try and utilise new abilities thinking these skills will help in harder battles they prove to be of little help in scenarios where the game clearly intends you to suffer. For an example at later points in the game players must fight 3 or so fast moving ghosts at once, in very enclosed environments where the ghosts hide in the walls and leap out on you from multiple directions. Not fun at all.
The core part of Fatal Frame 3 see's you traipsing around the Manor of Sleep solving puzzles, picking up items and getting into battles. The key exploring mechanic of the game works well as ever, with lots of areas in the mansion including revisits to areas from the first two games and lots of hidden places to eventually open up and explore. the usual items all return too along with some clever yet logical puzzles that while challenging are not too frustrating. The only downfall is sometimes it is hard to tell where you need to go and cut scenes only give slight clues so unless your alert and paying attention you may have to explore for a while, but as you gradually get used to the mansion this isn't too difficult and to find all the hidden ghosts exploring off the beaten track is necessary anyway. The games length does become a slight issue towards the final few nights as it drags out and you will find yourself in the same areas as different characters a bit too much to the degree you may get bored, but per-serve as the final few areas you discover are well worth the wait, especially the gloriously epic final boss battle.
Overall Fatal Frame 3 adds flaws to a series that lacked these flaws in the first few games which is sadly a bad thing, yet at the same time the atmosphere and core game structure remain entertaining and well crafted enough to be good for fans of the franchise. You just wish as a fan of the series that the developer would have realised less is sometimes more.
The ability to engage the player and scare him is one of the most significant.
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
"Hard to describe"
In short, the third version works similarly to the two previous episodes, obviously with a new storyline - which, incidentally, is one of its strengths, tying the knots of his predecessors - and other situations of fright. And keep all the successes and shortcomings seen in the entire franchise.
This time the horror falls upon three characters simultaneously: the protagonist of this episode is a freelance photographer Rei Kurosawa, who lost her fiance in a car accident, and when she photographed an abandoned house, the image of the boy appeared in one of the images revealed. From there, the girl begins to have strange nightmares, which are exactly there, where he meets a mysterious woman with a tattoo.
The other two characters are Hinasaki Miku, who first starred in "Fatal Frame" and Kei Amakura the uncle of Mio and Mayu, twin sisters from the second episode. As you can see, the third chapter is to explain all the mysteries of the series, but it is not necessary to have played past titles, because there are a reminder - even so, obviously those who know them will have a more complete picture of all events.
Each of these characters has unique abilities: Kurosawa is the most balanced, while Amakura is capable of moving heavy things and leap great distances, but faces difficulty with the ghosts - the enemies of the game - because his spiritual sensitivity is very low. Exactly the opposite of Hinasaki, mediumship that has high and may even go through narrow places because its height is lower.
The game system does not change much from that of predecessors. I mean, the skin of a character, the player must explore a variety of environments, more or less similar to a "Resident Evil: Code Veronica," for example. But instead of zombies, enemies are ghosts, and bullets have no effect against them. The weapon of this game will be a special camera, called Obscura, but the operation is not there so different from a gun: just point and punch it.
The storyline, visual and sonic form part of the tripod that creates a darker atmosphere of the game of terror. The story involves supernatural phenomena, ghosts, and strange deaths, and several mysteries, such as a terrifying tattoo that invades the body of the protagonist.
The visual reproduces well the chaotic environment of an abandoned mansion, for example. There have been signs that the place was once inhabited but now only remains the subject and signs of wormy. But the player knows they're not alone in these places, worse, are spirits who, while not malignant, do not lose the chance of causing a great shock. Naturally, all rooms are dark and the little light comes from a simple flashlight.
And it is not those cheap tricks that make the jump seat. The style here is more Eastern, spine chilling and hair-raising. First, as mentioned, it creates an atmosphere of suspense, then the spectra appear in the form of shadows, sounds and during exchange of cameras. Many situations are cliches, as when you open a magazine and gets a head in the middle of the penumbra. Still, the scare take effect, especially when you're caught by surprise. Sometimes appearances are barely noticeable and, therefore, to realize the impact would be much greater. And uncomfortable sounds also help to create an unfriendly climate, in addition to that jerk in the climax.
These have always been the strengths of "Fatal Frame", but alas, "The Tormented" also kept the main defects of the franchise. To start, the movement of the characters is very slow. Maybe to match the pace of ghostly apparitions, but this slowness is causing irritation.
The cameras bring dramatic one hand, angles to film the scenes - and in this regard "Fatal Frame III" is better than ever - on the other hand, do not cooperate in time to control the characters. It's easy to become disoriented from scene to scene, and the position almost fixed camera does not contribute to the precision movements. The franchise "Resident Evil" had the same problem, but improved superbly in "Resident Evil 4", when he won a camera similar to first person view.
The controls also fall short in controlling the camera obscura. Until there are two schemes to control the characters in this view, but the problem is to combine the second configuration with the button to speed up the rotation, after all you only have a right thumb.
Speaking of "fighting", there are some spirits and boring this time with quick movements or are disappearing, forcing the player to switch between camera view and the normal all the time, making the battle a few dull moments. Other times, the environment also hinders the clashes.
As always, you can affect the enemies by simply pointing and firing the shutter, but the maximum efficiency occurs only at times fatal frame, which happens when the spirit meter is full, with the ghost in the center of sight and close, and press the button during their vulnerable moments. With this, the opponent withdraws, and this allows new fatal shooting frames then resulting in combos. Naturally, it becomes increasingly difficult as the sequence will spread, but it also results in higher scores, which can be used to improve various aspects of the character and the camera.
There are several items that enhance the functionality of Obscura, as an indicator light that warns of fatal frame moments, for example. In addition, special lenses help in the fighting, as one that lets the enemies slow. This feature spends an auxiliary meter, recovering to exorcise ghosts. The exchange of the lenses became easier, with the use of directional digital.
Besides the ectoplasm hostile, there are those spirits that appear and disappear soon after - some disappear really fast, requiring great reflexes and good strategy. In general, photographing them is difficult, but yield a good score, especially those more complicated to take a picture.
The camera also serves to solve some mysteries, some areas can only be accessed when certain exorcise spirits. There are also keys and puzzles, but the variety is not very large.
The visual is better than two "Fatal Frame" above. The scenery of the dream world, like the Haunted Mansion, for example, were designed with many objects, resulting in variety and verisimilitude. This is not to be photorealistic, but being an environment surrounding the player. The good work of light and shadow also play an important role in climate, but simpler scenarios, such as an apartment of the protagonist in the real world, were less impressive.
The characters are well modeled, but keep that animation and expressiveness of a plastic doll, at least during the game. In non-interactive scenes, the image quality increases considerably, since they were made with pre-rendered graphics. The design of the ghosts are scary, apocalyptic faces with those typical of Japanese horror films.
The soundtrack also has an important role in climate, but most of the time the silence prevails. What more can hear are the footsteps of the characters or any incidental noise, when a ghost appears, for example. As you approach certain spirits, an uncomfortable noise gets louder and louder. During the fighting, a frightening trail increases the tension and the bass makes the horror even more suffocating.
"Fatal Frame III: The Tormented" takes the good and bad moments of the franchise. If, on the one hand the climate continues to be valued and reflected in one of the most terrifying experience of video games, on the other the slow action and fighting sometimes boring, plus a control that can be improved, affect the pace of the adventure.
Anyone who has enjoyed its predecessors, will have no reason to reject the episode that ties the plot, but those who have not endured have no reason to change their minds. For those who never had the opportunity to experience, this is a good start. But get ready to take fright and run the risk of not preaching the eyes later. Even more if you're playing in the dark and with headphones.
The most frightening horror game i've ever played and i'm a Silent Hill fan !!
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
I can't really describe it but to say it's Amazing , i felt so scared when i was playing it , i thought that i'm old enough and that these games won't scare me anymore , so i raised the challenge to play it at night and use headphone.
Trust me guys , there were times i just take the headphone off , and exit the game , coz when use headphone , you hear voices that will haunt you and all i can say it's just amazing , and it's a thrilling adventure that i really enjoyed .
the game's graphic is the better in the series , the sounds and the timing of the sounds are really perfect !!
the gameplay is ok , you need a little time to get used on the controls but you will get used to it .
The charachter Rei , is the sexiest character of all times games ,and maybe the sexiest girl you'll ever see in your life , and sometimes your eyes stray off the game and focus somewhere else if you know what i'm saying :D
the puzzles are well designed and just right though there are times that you don't know what to do and may go for a walkthrough to proceed .
it's definitely the best in series , though i wished it was more connected to the story of mio and mayu in FF2.
The story is good and the tension is high and it gives you the feeling to know what will happen in the end.
the camera is more powerful of all the other series .
If you are a horror fan it's definitely a must play game.
One last thing , when you play the game, i hope no one pop in your room , coz it will hurt , trust me :D
Of brief novelty value, but ultimately as hollow as the cheap tin soldiers it depicts.
0 to 30 Minutes
10 to 20 Hours
The Bottom Line:
Once you get past the cute novelty factor of seeing a tabletop game faithfully recreated on your computer, it’s clear this game lacks the depth and imagination to be of any note as a strategy game.
A hardcore strategy game is often revealed by a lengthy and comprehensive manual, showing the depth of the game and, just as importantly, the passion its designers have for the subject matter. Alexander’s manual is terse and short. There is some attempt to provide historical context through little vignettes, but these are presented in a virtually illegible font. It is not that it ignores many game features (though one, awards given to units for performance in battle, is woefully lacking in explanation both in the manual and in the game itself). The game simply doesn’t have much to mention. It doesn’t even have an in-game tutorial – you can jump straight into the campaign after a quick glance at the manual. Pick-up-and-play is a useful feature for many games, but for a strategy wargame, complexity has some attraction. It’s not simply a case of a user-friendly interface with plenty “under the hood”. Unit types are extremely limited and offer little variety. Game modes – a single campaign and handful of skirmish battles – give little incentive to keep going back to the game. Options for unit orders are particularly minimal. For instance, you can change a unit’s facing or move them, but cannot, for instance, move half distance and change the facing slightly. You have to accept the default facing, which is often useless. Further, you cannot set waypoints, so if a unit's direct path is blocked, they cannot take a slightly longer route in a single turn - it must be spread over multiple turns, even if the longer route would have been within the movement allowance. Another frustrating feature is that you must deploy before seeing the mission objectives, which again takes a great deal of strategy out of the game.. Unit advancement through battle experience is also very basic, and offers no real attachment even to units that have been with you through a long campaign – if you have the patience with the game’s simplistic nature to play that long. Even the fairly simplistic campaign layer of games like Rise of Naions is of far greater depth, and there the main gameplay was infinitely superior to that of Alexander. you'd have to put more thought into a single turn of a game like Dominions 3 than you would in the entire Alexander campaign.
While there are a few interesting features, with a comprehensive and diverse victory point system (albeit annoyingly not reviewable within the game), and three-tiered turn system (with orders issued in the first phase and played out in three stages, with the potential to change orders later on in rare circumstances), but these are overwhelmed by the weak core of the game. Ultimately, Alexander feels like one of the many decent freeware hex-based strategy games in a pretty box with some FMV tacked on. It is, at best, a briefly entertaining experience if you want to kill a few hours and happen to pick it up in a bargain bin, but not something worth seeking out.