Question: What could possibly be scarier than helping a lone, unarmed Japanese schoolgirl escape from a mansion haunted by terrifying apparitions? Answer: helping two Japanese schoolgirls escape from an entire village haunted by even more terrifying apparitions. We'd thought that Tecmo's original Project Zero was about as scary as games got, but the Japanese developer has upped the fear factor considerably in Project Zero 2: Crimson Butterfly.
Like the original, Project Zero 2 pits you against hordes of malevolent supernatural entities with nothing more than a camera to protect you. Fortunately, it's no ordinary camera; the Camera Obscura has the power to subdue and trap the errant souls of ghosts. A single button press switches the action from the traditional survival horror third-person perspective to the camera's first-person viewfinder. The longer you keep a spook in your sights, the more damage you'll inflict and, as you progress, you'll come across upgrades and accessories to increase the Camera Obscura's powers. These inventive game mechanics are coupled with some of the eeriest moments ever to grace PS2, making Project Zero 2 a truly unnerving experience.
Technically, Project Zero 2 is actually a prequel, insofar as it's set several years prior to the events of the original PZ. The action begins innocently enough, with sisters Mio and Mayu relaxing in the woods near their childhood home. Things begin to go awry when Mayu, the older and more paranormally sensitive of the twins, spots several crimson butterflies hovering in the distance and decides to follow them. Mio runs after her sister, and the two find themselves in strange surroundings looking down over the lost village. Legend has it that on the eve of a special festival, the entire village simply vanished. While exploring for clues as to their strange new surroundings, the sisters discover that something went seriously wrong in the village that fateful evening. If they're to escape the ill-fated village in one piece, the siblings must unravel the mysteries of the Ritual of the Crimson Sacrifice...
What really sets PZ2 apart from the rest of the pack is its unrelentingly unsettling atmosphere. Compared to action-oriented survival horrors such as Midway's The Suffering, Project Zero 2 is a more of a slow-burning, psychological affair that really gets under the skin. Recent Japanese horror films such as The Ring have clearly influenced the game's look and feel, and a brooding soundtrack, coupled with grainy black and white flashback cut scenes, really help pile on the tension.
- Completely new storyline, characters and environments
- Defeat supernatural enemies using the powers of the mysterious Camera Obscura
- Terrifying apparitions, unnerving flashbacks and a menacing soundtrack to scare you witless