Project Zero 2 Got Right
- + Survival-horror at its finest
- + Insanely chilling and creepy setting
- + Unique gameplay
- + Still feels fresh even nine years after release
Project Zero 2 Got Wrong
- - Graphical capabilities of the Wii hinder what had the potential to be a stunning revamp
- - Slow gameplay may not appeal to some
- - Controls can feel a little clunky
Anyone confused on the exact meaning of “survival horror” (due to today’s dwindling standards) need not look any further than Project Zero 2: Wii Edition. After coming off a playthrough of Resident Evil 4, I thought I was ready for whatever Project Zero 2 could throw at me – oh boy was I wrong. Unsettling doesn’t even begin to describe the atmosphere within the game - yet no matter how much you may be cowering, you won’t want to stop playing.
For those who may be confused, Project Zero 2: Wii Edition is a remake of 2003’s cult hit Project Zero 2: Crimson Butterfly on the PS2. In a nutshell, the game centres around twin sisters Mio and Mayu (though you’ll control only Mio for almost all of the game), who stumble upon a lost, fabled village filled with the angry souls of the dead – and staying true to the horror genre, decide that going in and exploring the extremely creepy town is a far more sensible idea than running away and going back where they came from.
The game does start off a little slow, with the player forced to rummage through the interior of a seemingly-abandoned house whilst frequent visions of ghosts will have you second-guessing your real-life safety. It doesn’t take long for the real fun to begin though, as you’ll soon stumble upon the Camera Obscura – a vintage camera that will exorcise the spirits of the undead with each photo you take.
Returning to the game now, the unique premise behind it feels as fresh as ever, especially when considering the fact that today’s market has become extremely infatuated with guns and “killing people”. Taking photos of the spirits in order to exorcise or “kill” them may seem like an odd concept, but the Camera Obscura possesses a deep combat system that allows players to charge the shot to deal more damage, whilst the Camera can be upgraded in a variety of ways.
I’ll be the first to admit that I tend to stay away from the horror genre for the emasculated feeling I get from hardly even being able to look at blood on the screen – but even a sissy like me can appreciate Project Zero 2’s amazingly chilling atmosphere. Everything happens extremely slowly, whether you’re opening a door or reaching for an item – all of which the player is made to feel more involved in through holding the A button to open doors/reach for objects, which only adds to the intensity of having absolutely no idea what’s in store for you.
Whilst the dark tone of the game is one of the main contributors towards its eeriness, the game felt like it could have been so much more in high-definition. The cutscenes with Mio and Mayu are absolutely screaming out to be rendered in HD and would have looked stunning – the Wii’s graphical ineptitude can at times leave you feeling like you’re playing the PS2 version. That’s not to say it doesn’t look a whole lot better on the Wii – in fact, many will argue that it is the vintage visuals that create the uneasy atmosphere.
The gameplay can at times feel a little slow and clunky – navigating the camera with the Wiimote can prove to be a struggle in itself. If you’re someone who thrives on action, guns and big explosions, Project Zero 2 might not be for you.
The Final Verdict
Project Zero 2: Wii Edition is a remake that certainly lives up to the cult status it created for itself nine years ago on the PS2. Survival-horror afficiandos should definitely have this in their collection - and the re-release on the Wii allows those who may not have ever heard of the series a chance to experience its deep, dark world. One can only hope that Nintendo's decision to release a Wii edition of the classic is in order to resurge popularity for perhaps a fifth instalment of the series on the Wii U.
By Jake Galouzis - Bio