on 3 September 2009
I just took delivery of my copy and waited with baited breath til sunset. With curtains closed and lights out I invited my flat mate to have first play. As we're both big fans of the Project Zero series on PS2 I thought this would be perfect for us. After a few minutes play we found ourselves wandering alone through a deserted village and encountered our first ghost... She screamed loud enough to alert the whole street and promptly had an asthma attack. So be careful people this one might just scare you to death.
PS. She's ok now. In case you wondered.
Oh yeah, controls feel natural and the scenery is trez pretty BTW.
on 6 September 2009
Having spent 15-20 hours on the game, and having just completed it, these are my impressions.
The atmosphere is absolutely perfect for the genre in that it is dark, brooding and portentous. The feeling of being secluded on a deserted mountain (which is both epic in scale and provides a stunning backdrop to the story) can really highlight those moments when something suddenly manifests in the shadows behind you.
The directing is inspired too, reminding me of Eternal Darkness in places. Oftentime, you appear to be watching yourself through the eyes of somebody else, possibly a creature creeping around on a landing/platform above you. Coupled with the unnerving soundtrack I found myself a bit hesitant to proceed, and felt like an idiot when the ghost I thought I saw turned out to be a statue.
The Tibetan/Buddhist theme is really inspiring in my opinion, enriching the environments with some stunning architecture and objects, all brilliantly detailed and realistic. In fact, the graphics in Cursed Mountain are some of the best I've seen yet on the Wii, and become even more incredible the further you progress into the game.
I've read concerns about controls, but they are perfectly user-friendly and easy to use (or at least they were for me! ;-)), even in battle I found no real issues, though one of the gestures/prayers took me a while to master but works fine after having done it a few times.
Possibly my game of the year so far. Perfect for me in that it combines exploration and suspense with a compellingly innovative storyline and beautiful locales. I'm not sure it'll be everyone's style of game, but for those like me who enjoy a slower paced, creeping horror over a manic slaughter-fest I'd definitely recommend it.
on 30 December 2009
Cursed Mountain takes place in late 1980s on a huge mountain in the Himalayas; we follow Eric Simmons as he begins the climb to find his younger brother, who was hired to climb the mountain to find an artefact and hasn't returned home. It is said that a great treasure lies at the top, but the goddess of the mountain has become angered by the intruders and has set ghosts upon those who climb it. Can Eric save his brother and restore peace to the mountain?
Let's be frank; this game is slow. The pacing is slow, the gameplay is slow, the story is slow and you're even encouraged to walk instead of run as you attract fewer attacks from the ghosts! But is that a bad thing? To me, not it wasn't. Far from it. I consider the best horror games to be slow building, to build the atmosphere, tension and terrors. Cursed Mountain is an old school survival horror with new school gameplay aspects. So those who love Clock Tower, Project Zero, Haunting Ground and similar slow-paced games will feel at home here. Those who expect an action sequence at every corner will be bored.
The story is mostly told via documents you find on the mountain and cutscenes. The story can be a little hard to follow as the cutscenes are stylised (as in grainy, jumpy, mostly still images) and you can only read documents via the menu. But stick the subtitles on and you should follow fine (they're automatically off).
Although I have to admit scares were few and far between, and mostly relied on `jump' scares you get from the sudden appearance of a ghost (which became predictable an hour or two into the game) but the atmosphere was very well kept throughout. Mostly because it was so original; you're on a mountain, 10,000+ feet high, where the floor below you can fall at any minute, and you have an endless horde of ghosts after you. The atmosphere is strong throughout and the audio and graphics play a strong part in keeping it.
Being on the wii you're not going to get a hi-def experience but a lot of detail was put into the surroundings. As you climb you can see how far you've gone and how high you've yet to conquer. It's very daunting to have your character look up to see nothing but rock and darkness up ahead. Also I quite liked the fact that the steeper the path was, the slower your character moved, giving you a sense of struggle as you fight the cold winds and lack of oxygen. Audio is mostly consisting of atmospheric sounds (whispers, wind howling, etc) but it works well. Voice acting is very impressive too and well acted; it was nice to have the main character being a Scottish bloke rather than the `of the norm' macho American man or faked British accents.
Gameplay mostly consists of exploring environments and combat. You control your character with the nunchuck's analog stick, the down button the d pad to get a semi-first person view of your surroundings and the A button to examine things. The environments aren't all interactive as most doors and items you see you won't be able to open/touch, but the controls work well.
Most of the motion controls come into effect during combat. You use the C button to enter `third eye' view, this allows Eric to target and see things in the `ghostly plane'. During this mode you use the analog stick to look around, the wii remote cursor to aim your weapon and b button to attack. You first get an ice pick but you also get access to other Buddhist items to shoot projectiles at the ghosts. Once they are weak enough you can perform a `Compassion Ritual' which allows you to vanquish the ghosts for good, performing it requires various motion actions.
The combat is mostly fine, you get a decent range of weapons to use to give you a choice of how to deal with your enemies, and for the first half of the game its mostly fun! Things get difficult during the latter half, as ghosts start to pour in their dozens and battles become more hectic. When you go into `third eye' view the screen goes mostly grey, making ghosts hard to see. Your actual `aiming' cursor is small so you can only attack one ghost at a time, and you can only see what's in front you, with no option to quickly turn 180 degrees, leaving you vulnerable to being attacked. So many times you'll encounter unfair fights where you're attacked at all sides and can't possibly deal with them all. In addition; there's one particular motion control action during the `compassion ritual' that's hard to perform. The action shows on screen as an upwards arrow, you'd think it's gesturing an upwards move. But it's actually a forward thrust, but because the sensor bar can easily lose your movements, you end up messing up the ritual, leaving you open to damage.
Another niggle is the saving system, it's purely auto save, as in at random intervals in the game it'll automatically save. No option for a multiple file or whether you're ready to save, it just does it. What's worse is that there's no clear indication of when it's going to do it, there's no visual sign or pattern. This is annoying if it happens right before a boss, and if you happen to have low health. The whole gameplay is mostly solid in structure, with a few flaws that get a little annoying but don't necessary destroy the game.
The main game is about 8 - 12 hours long, depending how long you like to explore each level. Apart from a few hidden items that mainly expand the back story or help towards combat, there's nothing here to return to a second play through in a hurry. No hard mode or multiple endings I'm afraid.
I'd like to see Cursed Mountain become a franchise, or Deep Silver (the developers) to work on another survival horror as there's a lot to admire here and many of the right boxes have been ticked. A few ironed out game play issues and more work put into the scare front will make their next game a gem of a horror! I'd recommend Cursed Mountain whole-heartedly for any fans of the slower building survival horrors, although due to the length of game and lack of unlockables, wait until it drops in price or receive it as a present - just so you'll feel like you've got your money's worth!
on 14 September 2009
The atmosphere this game creates draws you in and gives a great feeling of suspense. The graphics aren't amazing, but the locations look good and the top quality textures do help a lot.
I thought they hit on a brilliant idea when I saw that you could either be patient and walk through the game or jog along and attract the attention of ghosts. Wow! I thought, this let's the player adjust the type of game as they go. You can have a fast game with more action or a slower more contemplative game depending on your mood when playing. Unfortunately this is just another opportunity missed by the developers, since jogging isn't that much faster and I didn't notice any big difference in the amount of combat when jogging. Why oh why did we not get a flashlight for exploring the dark areas? In places the game was crying out for a torch, controlled by the Wii pointer, but you end up "pixel-hunting" around an almost completely black screen. Another missed opportunity. Puzzles are few and far between, though, it seems to me, that putting in simple puzzle elements to break up the monotony of trudging along would have been easy. The Wii pointer, accurate and reliable, could have been used to "trace" complex gestures/sidjuls for spells, seals or even as puzzles timed by burning incense at each shrine, as it is you just press the A button to use a shrine. Another missed opportunity.
Having said that, for the first third of this game I was delighted. The game looks good and is quite novel.O.K. There are some silly little glitches and areas where there are just too many locked doors (locked tents? Give me a break!). And the enemies who otherwise walk along, suddenly begin to 'slide' from side to side, apparently just to make them harder to hit- this is lazy programming, such moves should be animated. Generally polishing up of presentation and filling out with more content would have helped, but all these minor irritations can be forgiven. And I was, at first, happy to overlook them.
What is unforgivable, are the badly implemented gesture controls, especially since these are at the heart of the gameplay. Initially they work quite well and are a satisfying and novel way to banish enemies, unfortunately as the game goes on, you notice that some gestures are not being recognised all the time, mainly the forward thrusting movements, like a jabbing punch and mostly with the nunchuck. Okay, you think, this is just another minor irritation, but for me, as the game progressed, it got so bad that it became a game-killer. When a gesture is only recognised one in four times and it is needed two or three times in finishing off each bad guy, and later in the game they often appear in groups, combat seems like a lottery, -heavily stacked against you. I struggled through the base camp, getting killed literally dozens of times, because of the faulty controls, all the way up to the high camp, but playing had long since stopped being fun, so I quit.
I am very disappointed, what seemed to be a promising and novel experience turned into a frustrating pain. For me this game was a waste of money...having played this far, I cannot advise anyone to buy this game based on my personal experience with it.
on 6 November 2010
If you're not simply interested in the "blast count" for a game in which lightning reactions are the primary requirement, and instead want a compelling storyline that unfolds in much the same way as a film, Cursed Mountain could be just the right game for you. The developers have clearly put considerable thought into the combination of plot-line, action, scenery and acoustic atmosphere, and the result is a game with genuine cinematic quality.
Some other reviewers have already given very lucid and eloquent insights into the gameplay and I can't compete with that, but what I would say is this:
The informed and realistic choice of locations is a key element in the atmosphere. For instance, you have twisting, almost claustrophobic alleyways around which anything could be waiting (and often is!). Above you, the sky and mountains are beautifully lit with low sunshine, while in the village, you are surrounded by deep shade and chill mists flowing like water, channelled by the alley walls. Lighting seems to change with passage of time, adding further realism.
Your progress in the character of Eric Simmons, a determined, mature and respectful climber, is very well portrayed in the realtime movement and cut-shots/segways. His body motion is realistic and smooth, including when climbing ladders, cliffs etc. It really looks as though he's carrying a heavy rucksack at high altitude. I had no problems with the motion controls, either in the kinaesthetics of moving Wiimote and Nunchuk in the required moves, or in their responsiveness.
The soundscape and incidental sounds combine brilliantly with the beautifully rendered scenes, leading via an almost subliminal build-up to sudden horror action. The classic techniques used in horror films to create atmosphere, suspense and mystery are all here. And the deliberate, walking-paced restraint in movement is the key to this: the sudden flash of terrifying spirits and creatures is a foil to, and shockingly contrasts with, this realism.
This is by far the most absorbing game I've played on the Wii. It connects at a spine-tingling level as a game, is interesting as a story, and is excellent both visually and acoustically as an experience. What more could the more thoughtful gamer wish for?
on 6 September 2009
Ive only played this twice so far but am enjoying it immensely. Its the kind of game that wears its heart-on-its-sleeve as far as its influences are concerned. The basic camera and slightly linear pathway is straight out of RE4, the ghostly apparitions are very Project Zero: Crimson Butterfly and the foggy mood and eerie sound effects are Silent Hill-esque, the setting could be Tomb Raider.
This is no bad thing as the game puts you right into a deserted village and creeps you out straight away!! The learning curve and controls are clear and simple with the only slight problem being a change in movement when the camera changes sometimes. This is not as irritating as the camera in Resident Evil:Outbreak for those of you who have played that shambles!!
The setting is very different and atmospheric, climbing a mountain and investigating ramshackle villages on the way. As someone else mentioned, the buddhist angle of the games story is different and you feel it is rooted in real philosophy, not some crazy virus or something. The added bonus to this approach is the fact that you can dispatch ghosts with a prayer/exorcism move by flipping a couple of gestures with the Wii remote. This works very well and is a welcome change to the silver bullet/rocket launcher approach of some games. It also heals you a small amount so there is added incentive to exorcise the ghost, not just kill them.
The game is also full of nice little touches that immerse you in the experience. Instead of health potions you must light purifying incense sticks at shrines and you learn more of the story by picking up notes and diary entries as you go. These extra bits of wisdom help to increase your health meter over time. You can 'see' into the underworld with your third-eye vision (clearly influenced by Zelda TP and Forbidden Siren but thankfully, to good effect) to see ghosts and cursed objects more clearly.
The producers of this game should be applauded for taking a basic survival horror game and making it more than the sum of its parts in a very enjoyable (if scary) way!
Now, if this lot could get together with Crystal Dynamics and work together on the next Tomb Raider we could have a classic on our hands...
on 13 May 2015
Very good atmospheric game. I like strategy games so figuring out and gaining knowledge was right up my street. You learn more as you go on. If youre into esoteric stuff you learn a bit on that too. Game worked perfectly. As described. Very good company.
on 14 October 2010
This game really does what it says on the tin. Its scares and it scares good.
Its rare in horror games these days to feel scared and be made jump out of your skin. This game has a great ability to get you when you least expect it.
The story is little hard to follow at first and a lot of the plot revolves around Tibetan history & Buddhist rituals that may confuse. The way the story is told, is through journals and the lead characters tape recording machine. Which adds to the tension and relays the feeling of loneliness. The story becomes easier to understand as the games unfolds, and draws you in making you want our character survive and win the day.
The graphics are very impressive, great views all around of deep valleys, high ridges and lonely villages all portrayed in great detail. The weather effects are done very nicely with mist rolling and blocking your vision and giving a claustrophobic impression. Snow storms rage across the screen. All in all a very impressive image is given from your humble little Wii.
Difficulty is managed very well, with nothing too hard but it does offer you with a challenge that lasts for a satisfying amount of time
The only bug bear I do have is the controls. The character moves very slowly and does feel a bit sluggish at times. This however does not take away from a very enjoyable horror quest.
If you are interested in horror games, you couldn't do too wrong by buying this game.
on 3 October 2012
I won't go into depth with the story as many reviewers have already done so. I'll just explain my experience. To begin with, the game isn't very scary. The first few levels are pretty creepy and atmospheric but the game loses its charm when the actions with the wii remote and nunchuck are required more and more to continue. This is where my biggest problem with the game is. I'm halfway through playing and have never found myself losing my temper so much in all my life. Some of the actions I have to make with the remote and nunchuck doesn't register and so I keep dying. It gets extremely frustrating when you have killed every ghost but one, and then every thrust you make with the wii remote, although it's mostly the nunchuck that proves the most trouble, goes unnoticed and so you must start again. I have literally punched the guy on the game cover. A good idea but the use of the controls is so infuriating, I'm considering getting anger management.
on 14 March 2013
I felt a bit disappointed with this game as although at first it is quite scary, you get used to the constant ghosts popping up here there and everywhere. I also got a bit tired of looking for hours in the villages for a way to progress. As I got further in I felt I was getting less scared and more annoyed as there are some tough ghosts and you cannot progress without killing them and if you die you have to re-do an entire scene. I like the graphics and the story and the spooky atmosphere that there is here, but it does need some kind of improvement.
In terms of being scary I would say 4/5 maybe 3/5 as you cannot just run away from the ghosts and you must fight them. I also like the way that the further up the mountain you go, the slower your character is. But I must admit, the walking part is terrible and unless you want to spend half hour walking then you have to constantly run everywhere.