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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

Xbox One X
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PlayStation 4

Game Profile
PlayStation 2
Sony Computer Entertainment Japan
GENRE: Horror
April 20, 2004
 Written by Chris Reiter  on February 03, 2004

First Impressions: "I spy with my little eye Wait a minute -- get off of me you zombie freak!"
"Me sorry. Me stop eating your brain now."

A breed of dumb and ugly monsters is the cliche makeup we often see on the undead creature named the zombie. Movies, television shows, and video games alike each have had their own method in telling a story related to these reanimated humans who are thirsting for meaty human flesh...and sometimes even your braaaaaaaaaains. What we usually see however, is what masks the unknown aspects of these fearsome and already dead people who, if Day of the Living Dead taught us anything, can be taught to do more than just snack. So with that result in mind Sony gets this killer idea for a new kind of horror game. Assembling their SCEI team together, combined with Mr. Keiichiro Toyama (the director of the original Silent Hill), Sony has gone and done made a horror title unlike any before it. Fit into a survival blend where thinking ahead of the creatures who can now think for themselves, Sony intends to present to the American people later this year what's shaping out to be the next best thing in pulse pounding zombie treasures: Forbidden Siren.

Beckoned to the remote Japanese village of Hanyuda where no human dares to visit, ten people have just been hand picked by an unknown force to this mysterious location. The tale that perceives this place to be anything but decent is told that every thirty odd years, a ritual occurs where those inside the town's boundaries vanish without a trace. These ten who have been led astray here are now about to experience what happens when such an incident manifests itself. Immediately following a tremendous earthquake, a siren chimes in the distance. Then suddenly, the entire town is immersed mostly in a sea of blood. Oh, and yeah, this is the moment when the living dead composed of the town's previous residents begin to arise. It's moments like these where survival of the fittest, cleverest, bravest, and every other definable human attribute that gets anyone through whatever trouble they're in will help these folk live to see another day.

Naturally, your required task is to become just one of these few people and live. Hell, it's just zombies, right? Wrong. These aren't just your average, dunderhead zombie people. These are the thinking man's zombies. Different from the type of zombie you might find in a game like Resident Evil, these walking dead attack not like a caged animal built up with rage and unleashed, but more like you and me. People, that is. This is the kind of zombie who can do more than barrage you with a set of their sharp jaws or claws -- who can pick up a gun, aim it right at you, and blast you into the next dimension. You, however, aren't your usual self either. You'll discover that once disaster fabricates all around you, you have the ability to peer into what both your colleagues and the town's monstrous denizens can see.

Described as "sightjacking," this new element of the horror genre is to add a whole new depth to the survival of not only yourself but others as well. Similar to the Metal Gear Solid franchise and dissimilar from your normal style of horror entry, the enemies (the zombies) in Forbidden Siren aren't positioned to be lying restless along the floors of a hallway or lumbering toward your character once they've entered into a brand-new room. Instead, they'll function as if they didn't even know you were a part of the welcoming committee. Like their former forms as the previous inhabitants of this dreadful town, these zombies will mind their own business tending to gardens with hoes and shovels. Others, on the other hand, take positions patrolling with projectile weaponry such as a rifle. Your main goal through all this is simple: guide yourself and others through the maze of zombies without trying to give away your position, to undo any zombie who tries to stop you, and get through each gameplay zone without getting killed.

In theory that may sound like a 1-2-3 step, but there's actually more to it than that. You're trapped inside an eerie village full of darkness and fog. Literally, it'll be hard to see the enemy from certain points. Getting too close to one of the undead will also stir their wrath upon you. But don't think you'll be able to breeze on by with a weapon in hand like you might normally do in another horror title, because the enemies can also implement them the same way you do. Not only that, you'll be severely limited to ammo most of the time. What's an average person turned into a contestant on Survivor 6: Bloody Hell to do then? Well, you can start by jacking into the eyes of others. Starting out as one of the ten playable characters, you'll be able to progress throughout Forbidden Siren using your sightjack to get an idea of where your enemy is and what they are doing. Some zombies might have their head directed toward a familiar monument within the town itself, while others may be gazing into a lesser known and more obscure position of the town, such as a river of blood, a bridge or one of the random buildings in ruin. It's up to you to figure where these places are inside the village and to time the movement of each zombie so not to get caught, as you'll also need to use a map that distinctly points out only specific town locations on it, except without the possibility of you or anyone else's area of settlement being listed on this established guide.

More so, solving a variety of puzzles like pulling levers as to trick zombies into deserting their set path will become another part of the whole survival process in the game. But at times the opportunity to live and fight another day won't always come along. Sometimes you've just got to fight in order to live that moment for the next zombie encounter. Each character you'll play as (of which you'll get a chance with each after completing the game's assorted missions) is a bit different, but what they have in common is that they can all pummel the enemy with close and distant ranged instruments of death. Consisting of items like a pistol, a shotgun, or a crowbar, you'll have the ability to end your enemy close up or from far away. The only catch is that zombies can do the same exact thing, by waiting for you at the end of a tunnel with a rifle in zoom mode for instance. However, another thing about that is that zombies can't die, and neither can you. Not forever, anyway. Surrounding the game's village exists a red rain that pours down from the sky to heal any wound either to the living or the dead. Only momentarily will a fallen zombie stay down, so making quick work of them and getting to where you want to go will always be the best idea. Even as the red rain heals your character, it's with frequent damage to your body that harms it to its final breath. To this effect and with a major lack to your character's ammo possession in mind, the idea of survival will present itself more often than you'll realize.

Setting itself apart in its gameplay scenario, Forbidden Siren too will feature visuals a bit unordinary from your ordinary horror adventure. So far in appearance, the game's adequately dark nature and surroundings build a tension around the character models that are being modeled after real life people. The most interesting thing about what there is to see within the game, though, is what others see. By tapping the sightjack powers, a blurriness fills the eyes of one who is not alive but dead and can take notice of your character's model in its third person entirety -- or through the end of a gun barrel. If you were to see a zombie on the other hand, you'd be looking directly at a portrait of a diminished figure that's smothered in blood, and has knives protruding out of its body. Clearly, the game won't be a "pretty" sight.

Final Thoughts
Forbidden Siren, first and foremost, is turning out to be a game that's anything but what you've delved into the realm of horror before. Introducing an element of stealth into a fearful, open-ended environment sounds interesting to say the least. Not knowing where every zombie is, what every zombie is doing, or whether a zombie is even out there at all in a fog-shrouded village can have an unnerving affect on a person's nerves. Hopefully, that'll be the final judgment when it comes time to seeing what Forbidden Siren can do once the game hits stores here sometime later on this year.

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