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3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 21 March 2004
This is, quite simply, an absolutely HIDEOUS game, which is (of course) quite an accolade within the mind of the survival horror fan. Zombies gibber, snigger and taunt as they stalk and attack the poor player, with the innovative "sightjack" feature allowing one to see one's own demise through the eyes of a homicidal undead fiend. Basically, this piles on the tension and atmosphere in vast and oppressive quantities and the player is forced to carefully plan strategies in order to survive as there are scant weapons and often you have to protect a weaker accompanying character who has no means of fighting back. What makes this a truly terrifying experience though, is an added sense of realism- in games such as (the awesome) Silent Hill series you face an array of evil yet fantastical creatures and backgounds which impart an air of unreality; not so in Forbidden Siren, where the menace takes on a more recognisably human form with it's undead who were, until recently, just plain ordinary folk. They also mock your character muttering despondency inducing phrases such as "It's no use..." and "Theres no escape!" Also, as in real life, your character cannot take much damage; a mere two bullet hits will kill you and once a member of the undead has you in a stranglehold you have basically had it. Finally, the beautifully rendered (yet bleak) scenery, realistic facial features of the characters (no Res. Evil ventriloquist dummy cut scenes here!) and minimal yet eerie sound fx all conspire to create one of the most disturbing experiences in gaming history.Personally i hate playing this game, which, paradoxically, makes me love it all the more! In short; This is a work of twisted genius that no self respecting fan of horror can afford to be without.
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on 15 April 2004
I’m not a wimp or a gaming novice, so its not often I complain that a game is too difficult…but this is exactly how I feel about Forbidden Siren. I was very excited about playing it after seeing advance demos and previews of it, but I was unprepared for the challenge that was ahead of me.
The game plays like a cross-breed of Silent Hill and Metal Gear Solid, in that your adventure takes place in a nightmare world of derelict locations populated by sub-human zombie type monsters, but, with little or no means of attacking them, your success is largely down to using stealth tactics to sneak your way through the game, or to surprise and attack the enemy from strategic hiding places. Unlike the radar map in MSG, here your characters have the ability to see through the eyes of other people, which helps you plan your safest route, or warns you of attack when you suddenly “tune in” to the sight of yourself being run towards from behind! The game’s setting is spot on. The many locations are on the small side, but all fully detailed and explorable. The enemies are horrifically realistic, mostly made up of zombified townsfolk who are all bleeding from the eyes and lurching around armed with various weapons and torches to seek you out with. It has been said that survival in this game is tough, and it’s true. Be prepared to spend a lot of time watching your characters die as you try to work out the various strategies to passing each stage. The try-die-try again gameplay echoes that of the PS game “Fear Effect”, so if that drove you crazy, expect more of the same. The playable characters are exceptionally vunerable to attack, and two swipes with a knife or one well-placed bullet will be then end of you, and the zombie enemies are relentless in their pursuit. It adds up to an exceedingly punishing game, but I guess its actually far more realistic than the life bar and instant healing products of other survival horror games.
More problematic than actually just surviving, though, is working out what on earth you are supposed to be doing. The game is split between several playable characters, each of whom have separate “missions” to complete, and all are played non-chronologically at varying times within the game’s 3 day timescale. The levels usually require a very obscure set of conditions to be met before you can accomplish each mission, and sometimes, the same stage will also feature a further, hidden puzzle that needs solving so that different characters can proceed through later missions. The menu for this is a kind of 3 day plan-o-gram with slots for all the characters at different days and times, with coloured lines linking them all up…it’s quite a mental feat to piece all this together to work out what is going on. One really annoying aspect of the game is that if the hidden conditions to “open up” later missions are not met in the levels you have already completed, you are forced into a loop of replaying the same levels over and over again until you realise that there is a part of the river you did not think to look in (if you went that way), or a spot on the ground that the game prompts you can be dug up (if you happen to be standing in exactly the right place). Many players may suffer immense frustration whilst playing when they find they are never allowed to go anywhere new. I know I did, and it leads me to believe that only a truly dedicated player is going to put in the amount of work needed to make it through to the end.
This is a real shame, because the general concept and story behind the game is truly original, and there are some genuinely unsettling scenes to be encountered, which should startle even survival horror veterans. The graphics are amazing, characters look and move like real people, but sadly the obviously authentic Japanese setting has been weakened by the saddling of all the speaking characters with British (sometimes even cockney) accents, which is a terrible mistake. Still, the other design strengths just about manage to make up for it. Characters have recognisable personalities and all play differently. You’ll soon find yourself with favourites and don’t be surprised if you occasionally find yourself moved to sadness at their plight, or terrified along with them.
In conclusion, this is a teeth-grittingly hard game to play. Combining all too easily killed characters with obscure puzzle hunting, in levels where you have no pointers towards what to do or where to go, is a triple whammy that the game struggles to win you over with. Otherwise, it is so near to being the most terrifying game on the PS2.
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on 6 August 2006
I honestly dont think i have ever played a game quite as difficult as Siren. The level layout gives you a false sense of security, in some cases you only have to move about 200 yards but it can still take about half hour to do so.

Here are a few reasons as to why this game i so hard.

1. The enemies dont die. (no really)

2. You die very easily. (after all your only human)

3. lack of weapons and ammo.

4. Going into every level with absolutely no idea of what to do.

5. It can only take 1 mistake to wind up dead.

6. every time you die you start at the beggining of that level.

7. You cant save your progress during a level, only at the end.

8. lots of inventory items to collect that are very hard to find.

There are lots more reasons as to why this game is sooooo very very hard to complete but my fingers are starting to blister and

my head hurts.

Overall i absolutely love this game, if you want a really good challenge and you like survival horror games then this is the grail. Clock this and you can call yourself a gaming god.
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on 16 May 2008
I bought Forbidden Siren under the false impression that it would be a game along the lines of Silent Hill. After all, the original creator of Silent Hill was also the creator of this game.

Alas, it was not to be. Aside from the environment being similar and the wail of a siren to let the player know something is seriously wrong, they are worlds apart.

This is a stealth game, full-stop, with a horror theme. It is not really a survival horror in the sense of the word that most people understand e.g. Silent Hill & Resident Evil because it is ridiculously hard.
Enemies don't die, there is no map and the only 'advantage' (if you can call it that) for the player is their ability to 'sightjack' (view the action from another character's point of view) The problem with this is that it still doesn't give the player any reference as to where the enemy is. Oh, you see some trees and a shed but where is it in relation to you? There are millions of trees and sheds around.

As for enemies who carry guns, watch out! They have pinpoint accuracy when it comes to shooting. They practically never miss. People have said that it makes the game 'more realistic' because in reality you would die almost instantly. Yes, that's quite true. But this is not reality, it is fantasy and when I play a game, I want to enjoy it, not be watching an enemies' patrol route for 10 minutes before actually moving.

It is not that I don't appreciate games which use stealth: I love Tenchu and I like MGS but when it takes it to this extreme, it no longer becomes enjoyable.

This is all my own personal opinion and I have no doubt that there are plenty of people out there who would have the patience for a game like this and enjoy doing trial & error over and over again. Unfortunately, I am just not one of them.
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on 28 August 2005
I love survival horrors and I can say Forbidden Siren is one of my favourite. I have played many on PS2: All Silent Hills (1-4), about half of Resident Evils Series. Clock Towers 3, The Thing, Obscure, and yes! my favourite Fatal Frame (Project Zero) 1 & 2 ...
The atmosphere and sound are great - truly chilling. The story is not that superb but the way it represents, non-linear, shifts it to another degree and so there are some Unlockable stages you can play.
IMHO, I can tell you my conclusion after reading many reviews of the game on different website that people who doesn't like the game mostly just because it's too difficult - either by weakness characters in term of conventional fighting or limited visual perception. ... But this is so realistic, Human cannot be that damn strong. How many shots or slashes can we take before we die or can't move? When you got lost in an unknown place - how can we completely know its layout? ... Ah, also there is no in-game saving.
This game is just simply too realistic in gameplay (blending very well with UNrealistic storylines) that people who are used to powerful characters seem uncomfortable... This game is damn hard but if you play it for awhile you will improve real skill of survival training - realistic one!
I am looking forward to Siren 2 early next year... Highly Recommended Series!
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on 26 March 2004
So the game is difficult. Get over it. Whereas most survival horror games can be completed within a day this cannot quite be tackled so easily. Which is a relief for someone who is tired of shelling out 30 quid for a few hours gameplay. Many reviewers have complained about this fact but what is the point of playing a game that is a breeze? Forbidden Siren offers originality and a strong storyline which although not quite up there with Silent Hill is compelling nonetheless. It also offers new thrills for the genre in the 'sight jacking' option and also the overall use of stealth which is a nice touch and comparable to the recent Manhunt by Rockstar games. One downside which may annoy some people is the replaying of levels especially if you fully completed the level the first time - it doesn't make much sense especially when using the same characters. However this gripe aside the game is far superior to most recent survival horror vehicles (like Clocktower 'time already' 3 or Project 'Yawn' Zero). Perhaps not perfect but a nice diversion till Silent Hill 'The Room' arrives.
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on 17 December 2004
The graphics, sound, storyline, atmosphere, infact everything about this game is perfect...except that it's obvious nobody play tested it before releasing it. The characters are virtually impossible to control, but the worst part is that even when you complete the mission objectives you still have to play the same missions later on if you haven't picked up, moved, looked at or examined every single item no matter how unimportant it might be. And the game doesn't even explain what else you need to do, infact it doesn't even tell you that you haven't completed the mission, it says MISSION COMPLETE, then just puts you straight back at the beginning at a later stage after completing some other missions which you will also end up repeating.
Basically this game could have been amazing. It is genuinely frightening in a way even the original Silent Hill couldn't manage. It simply isn't playable. Perhaps if you sat down with the strategy guide to help you it might be ok, but where's the fun in that?
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on 23 March 2004
First of all, this game is very hard. As in "last level of the game" hard - from the very beginning!
But it's a masterpiece! I played it through and at the start felt slightly afraid, but when the zombies began to close in around me, I really got the feel of the game for the first time. It's not good clean fun, the zombies are gruesome, and there are some shock moments, but it's just so dark and creepy, you can be really afraid to keep going! If your looking for a challenging game with real scare-factor, buy this now! But be warned, this is not for the faint-hearted....
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on 22 May 2007
I finally bought this game last month and I`m enjoying very much. A great game. But it has to be said, this is NOT for casual gamers, its for hard core survival horror fans because its sooooo fiendishly difficult. While I enjoy the challenge this bring I do think, in some places its unfairly difficult. No in-game saves and if ya die and start again from a checkpoint everything you did before that is reset....come on, now thats just being cruel.

Yes the learing curve is almost vertical but your persistance is reward with one of the darkest most intresting stories around. (along with SH2)

The atmosphere is also top knotch. The enviroment is beautiful to look at and detailed, along with the characters giving it a ture horror movie feel.

As for the charcters, they all have their own stories and reasons for being there which gradually become clear through reading archive items and watching cutscenes. And its this jigsaw puzzle style story that will keep you intrested.

But if there is one thing that trips it up it got to be that terrible voice acting. Whoever thought that was exceptable needs to be fired and never allowed to work with games again. But once you stop cringing at it you can put up with it.

Overall, this is a great game and worth buying.
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on 25 March 2004
I've read reviews where owners have admitted a certain dissapointment with this game. They cry about bland graphics, an over-emphasis on puzzles and the like. As far as I'm concerned the graphics and gameplay here are top-class and a certain innovation has been introduced in the often samey survival-horror genre with a 'sightjack' feature whereby you tune in on the points on view of surrounding enemies. Involving stuff. The truth is that while this game is very good, it just doesn't live up to the hype. Sure, some poeple will scare more easily than others but all this stuff about the original trailers being banned because they were frightening kids just sends out the wrong message. I probably fell for it. Gamers will enjoy this but in terms of sheer fright, well, once you've played the game for a week, the fear factor rapidly dwindles.
Some gamers will become irratated with the whole 'avoid and proceed strategy'; similar to that of Metal Gear Solid. However, the variety of characters on offer sometimes come equipt with weaponry; a shotgun, revolver, tyre iron etc. It's nice to have the option but fighting gameplay is often slow and unrewarding. Avoiding notice is nearly always the best strategy and in later levels of this game, you need the patience of a saint to stick with it. It's worth it though, the story is engaging.
If you're a fan of survival horror stuff, this will be right up your street. It's a long game and atmosphere and multiple storyline is a treat. But if you got an itchy trigger finger and prefer the whole Resident Evil thing, rent this before you decide to buy.
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