Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water Review

Over here in ‘Murica, we call this here game that contains a bunch of hot, Japanese anime babes and one guy “Fatal Frame: Spoopy Harem”.  No really, it’s one guy, and 95% females… Yes, I’m including the ghosts.


This is hard to explain and visually show, but… You take pictures of ghosts with a special camera that exorcizes them.  There’s a decent depth to it that includes distance, pieces of the ghost that break off, critical hits, different lenses, etc. etc.  What really matters is if it works, and the answer is yes.  What you’re seeing here, though, is me using dual analog aiming and gyro rotation instead of full motion controls, and that’s primarily so that you, the viewer, can see what’s displayed on the Gamepad.  Outside of taking ghastly boobie pics is exploring… A LOT of exploring… And READING.  You will wander around a lot, and you will read a lot.  And herein lies a MAJOR problem: not only is movement clunky, slow, and incredibly dated, but if you don’t like reading, don’t expect to understand what’s going on.  More on presentation factors later.  Essentially, taking pictures works well, but outside of that, prepare for an experience that feels reminiscent of a game that, quite frankly, feels like it comes from the Gamecube era.


Since the game is story driven, you’ll find that the only things to do after you beat it is enjoy Ayane’s side boo-err-bonus missions, replaying on a higher difficulty, and some unlockable costumes if you’re into that sort of thing.  And, well, that’s it…  Once the game is done, it’s pretty much done, and all that’s left is to make it more kinky.  The problem is that I didn’t want to replay it on a harder difficulty simply because of how clunky and slow getting around is.  Now, the game clocks in at a reduced price of $50, and while I managed to clock a respectable 16.5 hours, the issue is how it dragged out and felt like a sluggish 16.5 hours.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you: if you’re only looking for hours, you’ll get them, but I dare say you’ll tire of how slow everyone opens doors…


First off, if you’re used to modern gaming, the stiff faces that barely animate might be a bit off-putting, also reminiscent of the Gamecube era.  On the flip side, the game is relatively decent looking, and while I can’t say the graphics are good, they’re not bad, either.  Nothing comes across particularly ugly, and the ghosts are properly curvy.  However, already running at 30 frames-per-second, later parts of the game going up against multiple ghosts will incur a quite jarring framerate dip, and while everything is so slow-paced that I can fortunately tell you that framerate practically doesn’t matter, it doesn’t bode well on the eyes when it happens.  But, all is not lost.  If there’s one thing this game DOES perfectly nail, it’s ambience.  Instead of resorting to jump scares, the game resorts to tension, and if you want a constant feel of heightened stress and goosebumps, it’s here.  There were many times where the hair on my neck raised, and nothing scary was even happening: it just FELT like things weren’t quite right with this place.  AND, speaking of this place, remember I told you the ghosts are properly curvy?  There’s a reason for that.  Remember I told you there’s a lot of reading?  There’s a reason for that.  When all is put together, the story of the maidens and Mount Hikami actually DO come together, and I felt a bit of emotion for the tragedy that has befallen the place when the story came to a close.  It’s a properly weaved tale: you just have to make some effort to get it.


If you’re looking for jump scares, they’re not here.  If you’re looking for goosebumps and boobs, they’re here.  While I think a retro gamer might be able to more readily appreciate the incredibly dated movement and complete lack of modernized facial animation, and the snail’s pace of opening doors helps lead to a healthy amount of gameplay hours, there’s something to be said when I have to refer to the Gamecube era for comparison.  This game is dated, and while it does weave a good story, and the hair on my neck was reaching for the stars thanks to perfectly spoopy ambience, this game does fall drastically short of achieving stardom.

I give Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water… a 7/10.

Check out ZyroXZ2 on YouTube for more gaming videos layered with sarcasm, and sometimes humor.  Mostly sarcasm.

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About The Author

Jason (ZyroXZ2) created a gaming channel on YouTube centered around Nintendo to show his love and support for them and their latest console... And also because he's sarcastic and loves to make people laugh while in deep thought. People can do both, right?