While the idea of shunting a decade-old PS2 horror game onto Nintendo’s soon-to-be-usurped family console may sound like a recipe for disaster, playing Project Zero 2 feels better than ever using the Wii motion controls.
A survival horror game that failed to capture gamers’ imagination as successfully as Resident Evil or Silent Hill – but can still hold its own when it comes to creating a foreboding atmosphere and delivering knee-jerk shocks – Project Zero 2 follows a pair of twin girls as they explore an eerie town that’s haunted by the souls of its former residents. But whereas other terror games use a combination of brutal gunplay and canny stealth to outwit the undead, in Project Zero your best friend is a magical snappy camera.
Taking photos with the Camera Obscura sends the screaming spooks caught in your lens back to hell, and wielding this supernatural kit feels more intuitive than ever using the Wii’s motion controls. When a ghost is in your sights, moving the Wii remote allows you to adjust the angle of your shot, and by locking-on with the Z-trigger players can charge up an attack and take the perfect ghost-busting picture. However, as the spectres you frame wriggle like a fish on a line as you try to capture them, and can even pop up behind you during these tense first-person sequences, the camera battles are an anxious and nerve-wracking experience, where the scares are intensified by the uncanny visuals that have aged remarkably well despite the game’s 2003 vintage.
A new, but forgettable, Haunted House mode – where you have to avoid jumping in fright as you walk through a mansion plagued by spiritual pests – also brings an air of freshness to this old adventure, as do the re-recorded voices and polished movie sequences. But the main reason to try Project Zero 2 is an opportunity to catch up on a console shocker that’s been unfairly overlooked, but offers a more original approach to digital horror than its brutal competitors.
Reviewed by David McComb