Forbidden Siren PlayStation 2
by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
Released - Out Now
Price : £39.99
I suspect a lot of you reading this review will have already experienced the blood chilling experience of the survival horror genre. Resident Evil and Silent Hill are the series that readily spring to mind when you try to think of the best games this genre has to offer. However Sony have created a game in Forbidden Siren that's just as creepy and cold sweat inducing as the aforementioned titles. You know it's going to be a creepy experience when in the first two minutes of play you have to avoid a zombie like police officer, get into a van and knock him over and then as you get out of the van (part of the cutscene) to check to see if he's alright he gets up and fires at you. Yes there's no rest for the nerves in Forbidden Siren.
The game is set in the Japanese village of Hanyuda. Evil goings on are everywhere and the village is surrounded by rivers of a strange red liquid. Most of the villagers have been 'infected' by this evil and are now walking undead. There are some who haven't been altered by this evil though and it's these people who are really in trouble and must get out of the village at all costs. The game is played out over three days and is split into 78 short episodes. These episodes are mapped out on a kind of timetable with events for different times of the day. You'll visit various areas of the Hanyuda during the game ranging from a foreman's hut to a mine. The story has takes it's inspiration from the novels of HP Lovecraft and definitely has a horror movie feel to it.
It never does a game any harm to have a game play concept that no other title in the genre has and with Forbidden Siren that concept is the sight jack. Sight jack is basically a method of letting you see the game through other's eyes. Holding down the L2 button will make the screen look like a TV picture when there's no aerial plugged in. You have to 'tune in' to the sight of other characters by moving the left analogue stick and this can enable you to see what awaits you, and can also be used to guide you in order to avoid enemies, and in doing so forewarn you. However you are motionless whilst this is taking place so if any enemies should approach you, you will be defenseless against them. It's also worth mentioning that you can only knock-out the enemies and not finish them off altogether, which further increases the scare factor of the game. While performing a sight jack the direction you'll have to push the stick to get a viewpoint, will be the direction that the character,whose sight you're using, is situated. You can fix these sight jack navigation points by pressing either of the four main buttons (circle, triangle, square and X).
As you would expect with a game of this nature everything is dark and your vision is severely limited. You'll never see that far in front of you, which further adds to the feeling of tension. The character models in the game look OK and some of the facial expressions look really realistic. Some of the character models don't look impressive though but on the whole the quality is quite good. The whole look of the game is creepy and the darkness, the bad weather and fog just make it as creepy as it could possibly be. Even the cutscenes have a creepy feel about them. If you're the nervous type then this isn't the game for you.
There's no point in beating around the bush though and the sad fact is that Forbidden Siren isn't a game for deaf gamers. The cutscenes and dialogue are not subtitled and this takes away any chance of you enjoying the games story. The mission objectives, tutorial messages and item feedback (when you go to open a door or pick up items etc. you are told if the door is locked or what the items are that you can pick) is all provided in text, which is good. There are other problems though such as you won't be aware of approaching enemies which hearing gamers would have heard and have been forewarned of their presence. The zombies don't hang about either and they aren't the slow, lead footed variety that you'll find in the Resident Evil games. This fact alone makes the game a lot more difficult for deaf gamers. In fact for many deaf gamers Forbidden Siren would prove a nigh on impossible experience that would just be too frustrating.
There have been several games over the years that have actually been very good games but we at Deaf Gamers have been unable to give them good marks because they have been unsuitable for deaf gamers and Forbidden Siren definitely falls into this category. The game really does make you feel like you're trapped in a nightmare, zombie like community and at no point during the game does your heart feel like it can return to a normal beat. However for the reasons we have mentioned in the above paragraph the game isn't for deaf gamers and should definitely be rented first if you're thinking about a purchase.
Game Rating: 5.0/10
In many ways it's one of the scariest games to date and it definitely creates a horror movie like experience that few games have been able to equal. However it's not deaf gamer friendly and our rating reflects this.
It would be nigh on impossible for a deaf gamer to enjoy Forbidden Siren. You're probably best renting the game first to make sure it's OK for you, if it's a game you would like.