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Many devoted PC-boyars have probably heard something about the Japanese horror series Fatal Frame (known in their homeland as Project Zero), which was once almost on an equal footing with Silent Hill. But they couldn’t try it in person. Only now, on the occasion of Halloween and the 20th anniversary of the series, at least some game from this franchise has reached the PC for the first time, namely the fifth Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water. The original was released in 2015 exclusively on Wii U, so the current re-release visited all other key platforms for the first time.

By tradition, Koei Tecmo was especially “lucky” for the owners of the “Orthodox platform”. Immediately after the release, complaints began to pour in about the lack of mouse support, linking the speed to the frame rate and other problems – we wrote about it. And given that some fans of “Death Frame” call Maiden of Black Water almost the worst in the series, the question arises: is it worth playing at all?

Player cover
What is unique about this series?
Since the first game, released on the PlayStation 2 in December 2001, its game director and creator Makoto Shibata has been betting on two things. First, the Japanese folklore about ghosts and evil spirits. He was also inspired by old (again Japanese) horror films and his own memories – several times Shibata, to the laughter of his colleagues, talked about how he saw ghosts.

Laughter with laughter, and as a result, the Fatal Frame series has become one of the creepiest horror films in history. The authors very plausibly (no matter how strange it may sound in relation to ghosts) reproduced all this paranormalism. The spirits here look and behave in such a way that you begin to believe in what is happening. Because when a character finds himself in a coffin, starts pounding furiously on the lid, raises his head and suddenly sees the face of some woman in front of him, then this does not look like a cheap screamer, but like your nightmare come true.

FATAL FRAME / PROJECT ZERO: Maiden of Black Water: Overview
And what is so close and without a mask?
Secondly, all these ghosts in the games of the series can only be fought with the help of a camera. Different types of film act as ammunition (some do little damage, but charge quickly, others do the opposite), there are special attacks and combos for which you need to turn the camera and catch the right angle. And the most powerful, that very deadly frame is obtained if you click the shutter just before the ghost’s attack – an analogue of a perfect dodge / parry. And for the skills that the energy received for the expulsion of spirits is spent on, different types of lenses are responsible – with their help, they can powerfully restore health, slow down enemies, and so on.

FATAL FRAME / PROJECT ZERO: Maiden of Black Water: Overview
No, this is clearly not for a family photo album.
And all this is pumped through, again, points received for expelling ghosts. For them, in the break between missions, we buy consumables. This camera mechanic turned out to be both original and, again, very convincing – it’s easier to believe that the spirits are afraid of flashes and pictures (therefore, few people saw them), and not a shotgun or fire. By the way, sometimes you can take a picture of unexpectedly appearing ghosts without damaging them – these are special scenes that add suspense, and extra points are given out for such photos.

FATAL FRAME / PROJECT ZERO: Maiden of Black Water: Overview
Pumping the camera is implemented conveniently.
Why should you play it?
All this is also in Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water. The plot tells the stories of three characters that are closely intertwined. The writers flip us from one character to another and back again. Then we play for the girl Yuri Kozukata, who, after the death of her parents, began to see the dead and their past – once she wanted to commit suicide, and now she helps another medium, Hisoka Kurosawa.

FATAL FRAME / PROJECT ZERO: Maiden of Black Water: Overview
Yuuri immediately has a hard time.
We act as folklorist writer Ren Hojo, who is also well acquainted with Hisoka. Then we are looking for our mother, playing for 17-year-old Miya Hinasaki (Miu Hinasaki) – and her mother, by the way, is the heroine of the first and third parts. For help in finding Miyu, she again turned to Hisoka Kurosawa.

FATAL FRAME / PROJECT ZERO: Maiden of Black Water: Overview
I would also turn to such a girl for help. By the way, yes, here you can take pictures not only of ghosts.
But it is not the 23-year-old beauty and predictor of the future Hisoka that unites them all, but the ghosts, secrets and curses of Mount Hikami – it was once considered sacred, a cult of water was practiced there, and believers came to bathe in it before death in order to properly go to another world . There were also tragedies, murders, rituals, and the mountain itself became a place of pilgrimage for suicides. Yuri, by the way, also wanted to throw herself off the mountain, but she was saved by … well, you can guess who.

The authors skillfully shuffle and connect these lines, maintain the required degree of intrigue, and therefore following the story is not just interesting – this is what Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water is worth playing for.

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