PROJECT ZERO V
GamePad ghost-busting invigorates a conventional J-horror
Finally, the GamePad assumes the role for which it had always seemed ideally suited. We’ve been waiting for it to happen since Nintendo acquired co-ownership of Tecmo Koei’s horror series, but at last Wii U’s idiosyncratic, unwieldy controller can become the idiosyncratic, unwieldy Camera Obscura. It controls as you would hope: you press a button and look through your viewfinder on the GamePad’s display, turning to aim at malevolent spirits and tilting when necessary to get more of the ghost in the frame. Then it’s a case of maintaining your composure, waiting for the perfect shot, before squeezing the right trigger. A few flashes later, and the exorcism is complete. In practice, of course, it’s rarely quite that straightforward.
Still, the advantages to this setup are obvious, and Koei Tecmo fully realises that taking photos has never felt more intuitive. Beyond waiting for your flash to charge between shots and ensuring you have enough exposures remaining, there are no arbitrary restrictions in place. You simply lift, point and shoot. Now, you can move and aim at once; now, startlingly, there’s a dodge button. And therein lies the problem. The Project Zero series has thrived on making the process of photography as awkward as possible, finding that sweet spot between frustration and disempowerment. Can it still be scary when spirit photography is no longer such an onerous, anxious struggle?
The most obvious solution is naturally the one for which the developer has plumped: the ghosts are faster, harder, more unpredictable, and more plentiful. And while it pays to remain still – easier said than done when two lurching spectres are converging upon you, and the GamePad’s motion sensors are
Most ghosts jerk and twitch like spectral marionettes, but it’s the ones with an unearthly stillness that are the most unsettling.
Fortune teller Hisoka Kurosawa is related to
protagonist Rei in a link to past games.
As ever, you’re encouraged to let ghosts get close enough that the frame flashes red, allowing you to take multiple shots without recharging. Should they grab hold, a close-up snap should enable you to break free