Release Date: 9/12/2006
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This is a very hard game to review. I wanted to like this game so bad and it had so much potential. The beginning cutscene is disturbing and the excellent and eerie soundtrack playing out is fantastic. It starts out like a Silent Hill game with the gritty film grain and the dark atmosphere. I honestly can’t tell you what the story is about because it is never explained at all, even at the very end I didn’t know who the bad guy was, why I was doing all this, and who was what. I can tell you that you get dumped off at an orphanage via bus with your little brother Joshua. You walk up to the creepy orphanage and you immediately know something’s not right. Kids with paper bags over their heads are beating something bloody in a canvas sack. You sneak around to the back and after a few cutscenes you realize you’re running errands for this creepy child occult, but the purpose is never explained.
Once you start playing for a while you will notice many of this game’s flaws. There’s no map and no sense of direction. You will get lost and not know where the hell to go through the whole game. For most of the game, you are wandering from room to room looking for items for your dog Brown to find. He will sniff these items out and find the next item for you and you just follow him. If it wasn’t for this the entire game would be broken exploration-wise. Like Silent Hill there are many secrets in the game, but you won’t care about these. The airship that you wander around it is so big and confusing. Each room and hallway look the same and you can’t tell where you are ever going even if you memorize it. Some parts become familiar because you go through them over 50 times during the game. I also didn’t even know why I was on an airship! Nothing made a lick of sense through the whole game.
Let’s start with combat, it sucks big time. Holding R1 will put you in ready mode and X swings. This would be great if you moved more than a centimeter so you can go in for a kill. Enemies will knock you down and you will go through a long and grueling recovery animation only to get knocked over again. There are very few healing items around unless you have Brown sniff out items like ribbons and socks to bring to the Aristocrat Club to be exchanged for healing items. What’s the Aristocrat Club? I have no idea, but it’s just there. There are 3 boss fights in the entire game and they are annoying because the combat is slow, sluggish, and cumbersome in this game. I can’t express it enough. If that’s not bad enough, running around trying to find all these damn items will give you a headache. After you find them you just drop them because they are no longer needed. Your inventory is constantly cluttered up with useless crap that you just end up dropping. Why have this mechanic?!
The game itself is very short running about 7-8 hours if you follow a walkthrough step by step. If not, you probably won’t even finish this game. I also have to comment on the controversy surrounding the game, there’s nothing all that bad in here. There were claims of the girls being molested in cutscenes, but the worst I saw was an old guy rubbing a girl’s head and her arms a lot. There are no rape scenes, nothing even sexually provocative. The game is very bloody and downright sick and twisted, but nothing on the other spectrum.
Apart from that, the game had a lot of potentials. The atmosphere is there and it’s pretty scary at times and very disturbing, I just wish I knew what the hell was going on. The story is completely convoluted and doesn’t go anywhere, you can’t make a single bit of sense of it. The combat is atrocious and the lack of direction and the constant backtracking will make 99% of players quit early on. I really wanted to love this game, but as I got through each hour the score kept dropping in my head, and the reasons why were piling up. If you are really curious I would pick it up at a low bargain bin price, but nothing more. If a friend has a copy, borrow it because it is a strange experience and worth talking about with friends.