Project Zero [Fatal Frame]: Maiden of Black Water – Review

During the early 2000s, Resident Evil and Silent Hill were the only horror franchises that had mass appeal. There was a huge shortage of horror games and there weren’t enough publishers that were willing to take a risk in creating one. Thankfully, Koei Tecmo and Makoto Shibata decided to create a new Horror franchise with unique ideas. Fatal Frame, better known as Project Zero in Europe. The game made it’s debut on the PlayStation 2 in 2001. The franchise has been around for 20 years with five main entries, an anime, and a live action movie.

After the fifth entry, the franchise was on hiatus for many years. Koei Tecmo decided to remaster Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water for current gen consoles and PC. The game originally released exclusively on the Wii U and was highly praised by critics. An idea of remastering of this hidden gem is something I can get behind as not many people got to experience it. I got to play the PC version and without any further ado, here’s our review of Project Zero: Maidens Of Black Water.

Maiden Of Black Water Takes place in a fictionalised Mt Hikami. This location will draw you in where in where you’ll experience a world of the unseen. Besides the super natural activities, the origins of this mountain are unknown but there’s an unknown religion that was originated there. One of the core beliefs of this religion is that humans were born in water and they return to it when they die. There are many cases at this mountain that seem to be a suicide incident but there’s more to it then what meets the eye. This is where I’ll stop talking about the story because of our strict policies on spoilers but all I can say is that you’re in for a rollercoaster ride. The game takes heavy inspiration from classic Japanese horror movies and yes! There’s are many jump scare moments. The main story has 14 episodes and you can run through them at a reasonable time. The game doesn’t overstay it’s welcome but you can replay the episodes to get a higher rank.

When it comes to gameplay, it has a unique approach when it comes to combat. You’ll encounter many evil sprits that you’ll have to extinguish. The main way to fight them is by using your camera obscura featuring the ability to repel vengeful ghosts. With the camera equipped, you can snap photos using the right trigger. Depending on what you’re using, the camera can also perform bust shots to get a higher score. You also carry a torch that’ll help you get on the right track. You get to carry recovery items and you’ll come across items to upgrade your camera. You can change the lenses that can benefit you during your encounters. The controls hasn’t been improved from this remaster as it can feel unpleasant during combat.

You won’t notice a major change with the graphics or the overall art but the high resolution visuals does improve the image quality. The game’s atmospheric feel is something I haven’t experienced with other horror games. Some of the cut scenes pay homage to movies like Blair Witch. As far as the graphical settings go, it’s pretty much bare bones. The PC version doesn’t really have any options to turn off the film grain. The effect does give it a cinematic feel but a toggle switch to turn it off would’ve been great addition.

The sound design is something I appreciate with this game. From footsteps to the jump scares,  you’ll really appreciate the overall sound if you wear some quality headphones. The sounds of the spirits can cause anxiety and the music can also creep you out.

Overall, I enjoyed my experience with Fatal Frame: Maiden Of Black Water. The story was interesting and the gameplay felt different. The English dub wasn’t amazing but it was tolerable. If you’re a fan of horror games and Japanese horror movies then Maiden Of Black Water is a game I’ll highly recommend.

A review code was provided by Koei Tecmo Europe 

Developer: Koei Tecmo  / Publisher: Koei Tecmo   
Release date: 28/10/2021
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam



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