Siren: Blood Curse PS3 Review

Other than the monstrosities that make up the monster designs of a survival horror game, as a whole the genre is short on innovation. The Siren series though, is a genuinely fresh experience.

Siren has all the hallmarks that fans desire from the genre. It’s tense and unnerving, and has some seriously freaky monsters (which has to make you wonder what kind of sick and twisted dreams the designers have at night), but it’s also a survival horror-cum-stealth game, where hiding is very much an option and is actively encouraged throughout. Siren: Blood Curse is a reimagining of the original game (currently only available on the PlayStation Store, in which it can be downloaded in either separate chunks or as a full 9.5 GB game) very much fit’s the above description.

Perhaps in a dubious attempt to make it better appeal to western gamers, the Japanese cast of characters have been traded for a bunch of Americans. None of these characters are at the height of characterization and are largely clichéd, but are still certainly likable enough to care for their plight. Siren: Blood Curse is also episodic and the end of each episode is usually steeped in excitement, whetting the appetite with a teaser for the next one.

Siren’s biggest innovation has always been the sight-jacking ability. This essentially allows you to see through the eyes of an shibito (on occasion, allies too), discovering their routes and picking up some useful hints. This in itself is an unnerving experience, especially when they come into close proximity of your hiding place and the fact that they make disturbing noises doesn‘t help matters. Unlike the previous two instalments, you’re still able to move around, whilst in sight-jacking mode, which makes for a much more accessible game, but could prove to be controversial to those who enjoyed the punishing nature of the original game in particular.

The characters handiness with household objects (to hit monsters across the head, of course, and not to clean up for example, and oh yes, there‘s good old guns too) can leave the sneakier elements of sight-jacking and hiding feeling optional. Melee combat is clunky, but as a long-time survival horror fan, I’ve grown used to it and after all, the cast here are ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, there’s not an Arnie amongst them.

On occasion, you’ll be without a weapon, leaving you with no choice but to play it at a slower pace, whilst at the conclusion of the game there‘s stats detailing the amount of times spotted and the number of times sight-jacking was used, amongst other things, which gives perfectionists something else to strive for once the game is completed.

The sections, where you play as the young helpless girl, Bella, are worthy of a special mention, as they’re some of the most tense moments in the game. Getting spotted here means mission failed, which essentially means hiding and sight-jacking are a must so as to plan and wait until an opportunity presents itself to slip away unseen.

Visually, Siren: Blood Curse has a grainy Silent Hill like look to it and some lifelike character models, which makes one care about the protagonists desperate situation and fear those hideous Shibito all the more, the results are a stunning looking and atmospheric game, which could quite happily sit alongside the best looking boxed games on the shelves (and indeed the game itself is getting a boxed release in the Autumn).

With Siren: Blood Curse, the series remains as one of the most inventive survival horror games in existence, but is fine tuned so as to make it a bit more gentler and far less frustrating. Quite simply, Siren: Blood Curse could be the start of something big and exciting for console digital distribution.