Seven years after its first release, Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water has been remade and is now accessible on the PS5 and Nintendo Switch. As a lover of the series and one of the many who never had a Wii U, I was thrilled to finally get a chance to visit some new haunts.
For those who’ve never played the series, Fatal Frame is a Japanese horror series defined by its use of a camera to fight specters who wish to do you harm.
The prologue opens with Miu Hinasaki, laying in shallow, black water in an underground room. But as she stirs, we find that the water is full of hair and the bodies of shrine maidens. I’m usually utterly terrified of the black-haired, white-faced spirits in the Fatal Frame series. But the cleavage-slipping bodaciousness of these ghosts takes a little of the fear out of it.
I’m usually utterly terrified of the black-haired, white-faced spirits in the Fatal Frame series. But the cleavage-slipping bodaciousness of these ghosts takes a little of the fear out of it.
Guiding Miu between their blind, grasping hands we flee into a narrow corridor. A door at the end of the hall promises sanctuary, but the moment we lay hands on it a flashback of shrine maidens standing against a rising tide, murder, and a flood fills Miu’s head.
Something very, very wrong happened here.
With pursuing shrine maidens at our back, we turn to flee, only to encounter a woman in black robes, crowned in purple orchids. It only takes one glance to know that a single touch from her will kill Miu instantaneously.
We flee this woman and her beautiful minions, taking shelter in a room with a black box, slamming the door shut behind us. But as the box opens and black hair floods out, rooting us to the spot, another woman emerges. She swims towards us (we’re suddenly underwater now!) and the screen fades to black. Miu Hinasaki is trapped in a shrine on top of Mt. Hikami, with danger on all sides.
The prologue inundates us with mysteries, symbolism, and creepy dead girls but will this game hold up to its cult classic predecessors? Time will tell. Points off for clunky controls and nerfing the spooks for fanservice.