PROJECT ZERO V

GamePad ghost-bust­ing in­vig­o­rates a con­ven­tional J-hor­ror

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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

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