Siren: Blood Curse, my first impression... (includes 1st chapter spoilers)

Discussion in 'Console Gaming' started by warcrow, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. warcrow

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    [​IMG]

    SIREN: BLOOD CURSE
    Developer: SCE Japan Studio
    Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
    Engine: Havok
    Aspect ratio: 16:9
    Native resolution: 720p (HDTV)
    Platform: PlayStation 3
    Release date: July 24, 2008
    Genre: Survival horror, Stealth (kinda)
    Mode: Single player
    Rating: ESRB: M
    Media: Download, BD-ROM
    Input methods: SIXAXIS, DualShock 3


    DOWNLOAD PRICES
    You have two purchase options here for the DLC:
    1) Buy the entire 12 episodes for $39.99
    2) But three separate downloadable bundles with 4 episodes per pack for $14.99

    I love the idea of downloading a demo and enjoying it but not enough to spend $40-$60 for the entire game, and then having the option to download and play through 4 or 8 episodes--paying as you play. Hey, some people don’t complete games entirely and this is a great idea for those types of gamers.

    Since I had access to all 12 episodes I figured there would be an option to download a gigantic-o pack consisting of the entire game. Nope--not an option. I had to go into the purchase list/checkout list and click download 12 times (including verifying and destination download. BTW, I have one HDD--why do I have to do this?). Once all 9 GBs (roughly) were downloaded, I then had to install ALL 12 EPIOSDES SEPERATLY. Seriously. Yes. Each episode varies in size from 1057MB to 850MBs so the installs took several minutes each and with each passing episodic install I got more frustrated. Not a great experience to begin with.

    STORYLINE/GAMEPLAY
    The game takes place in a Japanese village called Hanuda. An American TV crew has arrived to research and film an exposé on the "legend of a vanished village.” You controlling seven different playable characters and must discover the mystery behind the curse that surrounds that village.

    The controls feel very reminiscent of RE4--but with a flashlight (Hello Slient Hill!). The default camera mode was pulled in a bit too close and and not far enough to the right for my taste. Again, think RE4-ish. When I first began playing the game it was a bit annoying in this mode and I had noticed that with in the menu options there was another camera mode available. It uses a more traditional type of survival horror camera system (located directly behind the protagonist instead of slightly to the right)--great right?! Unfortunately this mode didn’t include a change in the camera's distance from the character (it's just too close and pitched too low). On top of that, SCE Japan didn’t bother making the character model slightly transparent to help with that. You literally cannot see anything around the screen because it's dark (remember, you must constantly use a flashlight), and the only visible portion to the player is the center of the screen that it being laminated--but that portion is slightly being covered up by the character model! What? It's not that I want a transparent protagonist--but the point is there is nothing being done here to assist the player in this mode--it was virtually unplayable for me.

    So I switched back to the default camera mode despite its less-than-stellar view. Despite that fact that it's pulled in too close, at least it's posted slightly more to the right--but not much. I don't understand why they didn’t use the same distance and pitche that RE4 and even Gears uses. Perhaps they were going for intensity and claustrophobic atmosphere--but it's not creating that for me. It's creating frustration. Anyway, enough with that.

    I've played for a few hours and have completed the first 3 episodes and am playing the 4th. The atmosphere of the game is great, once you get past the camera stuff. It's creepy, dark, and what lurks around each corner is unknown. The music adds to this and is just incredible! The sense of movement feels a little floaty and not as good as RE4 or Silent Hill. The voice acting is just slightly above par with what you would expect from a survival horror game.

    The graphics appeared to have been slightly improved in the frame rate department from the demo. It's visually appealing if you're like me and into scary games. It seems a little more eerie than the RE series but not equal to SH 1, 2 or 3.

    1st chapter spoilers begins here
    So here it is. The first chapter of the game consists of you running from a zombie-cop, up a hill, hiding under a house (on stilts) and waiting for that zombie-cop to leave, running into that house and hiding in a closet (complete with creepy 1st-person mode a la MGS. As the zombie-cop approaches you, the controller rumbles with increased heartbeat) and waiting for the zombie-cop to leave once more as he looks for you, then running into the backyard, grabbing a shovel, smashing the zombie-cop over the head with said shovel, zombie-cop falls to the ground, you turn your back and sigh in relief, zombie-cop rises behind you, you freak and toss it off a hill, it dies again, you run down the hill to original starting spot, zombie-cop arrived once more and shoots you in the chest and you fall off a crumbled bridge. End chapter one.
    1st chapter spoilers ends here

    It probably took me 15-20 minutes to complete chapter one and it wasn’t really anything special. I only bring this up because it short AND not very exciting. My wife normally enjoys watching me play these types of games, and when the chapter ended and looked at me and said, "That's it?!" The second chapter does get better and longer, and the 3rd gets a little better as well. So it appears that the game is gaining momentum, but the 1st chapter definitely left me scratching my head.

    I am enjoying it so far, but the controls and camera (if you couldn’t already tell) do bother me. I’m still playing it, so that’s a sign that I must be enjoying it on some level. Will write more as I play more.
    Also, as a side note for the curious--there are no trophies.



    -UPDATE 2-
    Well, it looks like I'm in good company here with the installation experience. Stephen Totilo over at MTVs Multiplayer Blog and Chris Kohler over at Wired's Game | Life Blog both have pieces up about the aweful installation process. But I'll stop beating that drum now...

    I got to spend some more time with the game and man is it pretty creepy. The game really picks up the pace by chapter 3-4 and at this point, the controls arnt even an issue.

    Each chapter has a short intro and outro: the intro features a quick recap of what's happened in the previous chapters up to that point.

    So far, some of the imagery is pretty jacked up--Silent Hill fans should feel right at home in some regards, but minus SH's really wierd, nightmare/dreamy locals.

    The music, for me, is so dead on--I love it! Its ambient, creepy, melodic tunes should really be considered a supporting character in this game for I find myself paymore more attention to it than I usually do in most games.

    There is some stealthy gameplay in it..that actually doesnt suck. I dont recall a survival horror game that's done it like this. Sneaking (read:crouching + slow movement) around one of the bloody-deformed-zombie types while the controller morros your heatbeat is pretty fucking intense.

    The SIXAXIS motion integration is a very very minor part of the game, but I'm still am not a huge fan. :/

    They really nailed the atmosphere in this game. It's accomplished with the combination of the creepy visuals, dreary, brooding music, and that freak'n flashlight--I love it. It really helps me forgive some of the negative points with this game. It's not that it's really scary like Fatal Frame 1 or Silent Hill 1 (scary), but I also think for me it's just a different time in my life for these type of games. Those two games were some of the earliest freaky gaming experiences I had. Not sure entirely what it is, because if I played this game 10-15 years ago I think it would be more intense than it is. Also, I'm only 1/2 through the game too--we'll see where it goes form here.
     
    #1 warcrow, Jul 28, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2008
  2. patsu

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    I am biased against horror games. Are they really scary and atmospheric ? I have never played one before. I tried Resident Evil on GameCube but gave up very early in the game due to clumsy control.
     
  3. Kittonwy

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    Resident Evil on GC is not a horror game, heck the RE series is just a zombie action IP with gimped controls.

    I would say if you can play a first person shooter, you can play Siren with no problem. I just finished all 12 episodes last night, best horror game I've played in years, there are a few things that can be improved but on the whole what it needed to do right, it just completely nailed, it's very accessible and playable on the whole, there's trial and error but never leads to crazy frustrations, goals are communicated clearly and you almost always have a map without ever having to hunt for one. Ever since Silent Hill 1 Toyama has directed some really good horror games with flaws but this one he finally got right for the western market.[​IMG].
     
  4. warcrow

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    I would imagine that you wouldn't enjoy Siren if the controls in RE4 bothered you.
     
  5. joker454

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    Try playing the first Condemned at night in a dark room :) The later part in the mall was particularly creepy.
     
  6. warcrow

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    Condemned was great, really enjoyed that game. The second one was also enjoyable for the 1st half and then it just kinda...lost it's momentum. :sad:
     
  7. Nesh

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    That kind of confuses me. Lets say you buy the entire game from the beginning. You have to pay again while you download the game?
     
  8. Shifty Geezer

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    It's a choice of the full game at the full, slightly discounted price, or piecemeal in chapters at a slightly higher total price but with less commitment.
     
  9. warcrow

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    No--what I'm saying is that if one might still be leary after playing the demo and might want to check out the game--but not all of it. They have the option to purchase just the first 4 chapters.
     
  10. Cheezdoodles

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    Condemned in a dark room and high sound, can be very scary at times. Had to stop playing it for a while after one incident. sometimes your just totally unprepared for what coming and then WHAM! some crazed addict is hitting you with a broken pipe in the head!
     
  11. RenegadeRocks

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    Well, the demo felt tight to me.Had the Silent Hill vibes to it, but felt better.Atleast much better atmosphere than the SH5 videos I have seen.
    I think Silent Hill 2, 3 or even 4 would be a worth checking if you want to chkout horror patsu. Even Penumbra on PC is good creepy stuff. RE4 is more of an action game than Survival horror.
     
  12. warcrow

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    -UPDATE 2-
    Well, it looks like I'm in good company here with the installation experience. Stephen Totilo over at MTVs Multiplayer Blog and Chris Kohler over at Wired's Game | Life Blog both have pieces up about the aweful installation process. But I'll stop beating that drum now...

    I got to spend some more time with the game and man is it pretty creepy. The game really picks up the pace by chapter 3-4 and at this point, the controls arnt even an issue.

    Each chapter has a short intro and outro: the intro features a quick recap of what's happened in the previous chapters up to that point.

    So far, some of the imagery is pretty jacked up--Silent Hill fans should feel right at home in some regards, but minus SH's really wierd, nightmare/dreamy locals.

    The music, for me, is so dead on--I love it! Its ambient, creepy, melodic tunes should really be considered a supporting character in this game for I find myself paymore more attention to it than I usually do in most games.

    There is some stealthy gameplay in it..that actually doesnt suck. I dont recall a survival horror game that's done it like this. Sneaking (read:crouching + slow movement) around one of the bloody-deformed-zombie types while the controller morros your heatbeat is pretty fucking intense.

    The SIXAXIS motion integration is a very very minor part of the game, but I'm still am not a huge fan. :/

    They really nailed the atmosphere in this game. It's accomplished with the combination of the creepy visuals, dreary, brooding music, and that freak'n flashlight--I love it. It really helps me forgive some of the negative points with this game. It's not that it's really scary like Fatal Frame 1 or Silent Hill 1 (scary), but I also think for me it's just a different time in my life for these type of games. Those two games were some of the earliest freaky gaming experiences I had. Not sure entirely what it is, because if I played this game 10-15 years ago I think it would be more intense than it is. Also, I'm only 1/2 through the game too--we'll see where it goes form here.
     
  13. Fu3lFr3nzy

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    Question: I am planning on getting the full version, so how long did it take to download for you fellas?

    Mind you my connection isnt lightning fast by any means, but with my experience downloading a 9GB file on the computer, it takes about a day or two without interruptions :cry:
     
  14. JPT

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    Its divided into chapters and then each chapter is divided into parts. Each chapter is about 1-2GB and each part less than 1GB I do believe you can download part 1 and then start playing with that and part 2 can be downloading in the background :)
     
    #14 JPT, Jul 31, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 31, 2008
  15. Shifty Geezer

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    That's a good way to provide episodic delivery, and reduce download times. A pre-cursor approach to larger downloads for an optical-drive free platform ;) You'd need subsequent episodes to download and install in the background, and run from the conclusion of episode 1, for it to really work that way. Do you have to exit Part 1 and start Part 2 as a separate application, or does it continue on once installed?
     
  16. JPT

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    I downloaded everything in one go, so I am not sure on the details. But since you buy each chapter and you can play one chapter before buying the next one, we it at least works for chapters.

    When you install a part, the original file just grows bigger, atleast that is what the xmb is reporting. And it seems to have no problem to with installing the parts out of order, since I just started download of all parts and installed what ever part came down the pipe first. It might have been in the correct order, I did not pay any attention to it, but I doubt it.
     
  17. warcrow

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    No matter how you purchase it, you will have to download all the chapters (you paid for) seperately. So if you do purchase the full game via PSN you will have to download all 12 chapters like I did. There is no unified download system in any way.

    I have FIOS and it tooks me quite a while. To be fair, I queued up all 12 downloads and my wife and I watched 2 movies. So, 4 hours later it was downloaded. Its really going to depend on how much bandwidth you have.

    The installation takes about 1 hour (give or take 10 mins) for all 12 episodes.
     
  18. warcrow

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    Each chapter is not divided into parts. There are 12 chapters and there are 12 downloads. Perhaps you're confusing the "bundles" (4 chapters wrapped up for $15) with "chapters"?

    If I recall correctly, the largest chapter was chapter 12 at 1200MBs or 1.2GBs.
     
    #18 warcrow, Jul 31, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2008
  19. emacs

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    it's too bad, as far as i know, Sony will be re-releasing all episodes on Blu-ray only for the Asian and European markets. with several original Silent Hill team members involved with Siren: Blood Curse, i was hoping the get this game at retail (offline) stores. i suppose i'll be importing the game.
     
  20. oramay

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    Just finished this game and I like it a lot. Seeing this type of horror games apparently dwindle in numbers in the market makes me treasure this game even more, as there may not be many like it in the future. :sad:

    This is the type of horror games I like. It's less action packed, and more based on atmosphere. The market seems to have shifted in favour of "horror games" which are basically (dark) action games with plenty of ambushes. Unfortunately for me, I get annoyed when there are many (unavoidable) ambushes from behind or multiple directions. Siren, on the other hand, made me dread without relying on monsters constantly rushing at me from inconvenient directions. I'm glad to finally get the chance to play it.

    The last horror game that I liked as much was probably Silent Hill 3, but I didn't play the Siren games on PS2. I hope they'll bring another Siren game to PS3 before too long.
     
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