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Siren 2 (2006)
Great second installment, though with minor improvements
The second Forbidden Siren 2 came out, I bought it. I personally couldn't wait to play this game. In my opinion, they don't make a lot of games with a really creepy grim atmosphere that sucks you right into a nightmare. Alone in the Dark was one of the first that got close, but for myself, the Silent Hill series managed to pull it off the strongest for me. Fatal Frame series is very good as well, and I know there are other ones too, but for me, the Silent Hill series are the best in its genre. So I was very surprised to find out that Forbidden Siren had that same effect on me. Even though some things weren't perfect, I gladly overcame them. With this second installment the game is just as good as the first. Both Forbidden Siren games are as creepy as the Silent Hill games, even creepier perhaps sometimes, and that says a lot I think.
The developers of course made some improvements. First of all, you can play the game with the Japanese voices now, instead of weird unsuitable English voices that the Japanese characters all had in the first Forbidden Siren, so that's a huge plus. The story is very awesome, and remains a bit unclear and weird, to keep it mysterious of course, but it's very well written in my opinion. It has some connections with the first part, but it's more a story of its own, on a completely different location, with all new characters. The game-play has stayed the same. There's the time-line structured missions, and a wide range of characters that you play with through the story. I was very glad they kept that system intact, because once I got used to that in Forbidden Siren 1, it just worked very well. So why would you change that? Lots of times developers change some element in a game, therefore ruining the concept for a lot of gamers.
Forbidden Siren 2 is in my opinion a great sequel to a great game, with just the right improvements. They could've made some things during missions a bit clearer, for example to be able to get all the special items, which gives you a different ending, some of those items are impossible to get without a walk-through. But besides that, the game is perfect for its genre. It's downright creepy with lots of drama and a great story. For people who like Lovecraft, I should say try it, because it has a lot of influence from his stories (without being a rip-off at all).
Forbidden Siren is really good, though may appear not at first.
At first Forbidden Siren looked to me like a sort of Silent Hill rip-off, but appeared to be far better than I expected. It is definitely NOT a rip-off, it's only in the same genre. The setting of the whole game is in a Japanese village. This is very original, because most of the horror-action games are placed in the U.S. The village is suddenly in a state of doom. Things that were gone for 30 years are suddenly back, and dead people reappear...Also the still living turn slowly in Shibito, which are some sort of monsters. First thing that is very annoying, is the dubbing. Luckily, you can't let the bad English-dubbed voices make the game suck in my opinion. The game is difficult, that without a doubt. You die easily, but that happens mainly because the game plays so much differently than the ones we're used to in this horror-action genre. The "sight-jacking" for example, is very important. With it, you can see through the eyes of the enemies. That way, you know where they are, and what they're doing. It has one of the most original ways of telling the story I've ever seen. Throughout the story, you play about 10 characters. You play with levels, which I thought at first sucked. I like one big area the most with this sort of games. But, they did this to be able to tell the story better. After every level, you see a list of all characters, with a timeline underneath each name. Every level you play, has a place on a timeline. This may sound complicated, but once you see it, it's quite clear. In most levels you can get 2 endings, which result in 2 different new levels. To actually get the second ending, you must do something in another level first. Example:If character A goes through street X on Day1,12:00, and that character opens a locked door he comes across, thanks to that, character B can go through that door when he goes through the same street on Day2,01:00. This may seem difficult, but they made it easy to find out what you must do the second time you play a level. There's still more to it, but it has already been much to explain. All I want to make clear, is that Forbidden Siren is a terrific game, once you get it. The story is also really, really good. Real Japanese horror-style story. Not too ultra-happy-ending and so, but really grim and dark.