Rei was bored. This was the third so called haunted house she’d investigated this month. Yet again she took photograph after boring photograph with no result. Just a run down house.
As Miku packed away, Rei wrapped up the last few shots. Centering on a corner she took the photo and gasped. As the flash died down a man was standing there.
“Yuu?” It can’t be him. He died six months ago, it just can’t be.
The man turned and walked away. Rei hesitated for a second then chased after him around the corner. She found herself in a graveyard. On the other side the man walked onwards towards the exit.
“Wait! There’s still something I need to tell you.” Rei had been driving the night of the accident.
Again she ran after him, deeper into the strange run down manor. Eventually she came to a courtyard, in which a huge tree was growing wildly. Small dolls were pinned to the upper branches. Across the courtyard, Yuu was waiting for her. As she came closer he turned and entered the door behind him.
“You’ll never escape.” The voice spun Rei around. The image of a small girl dressed as a priestess slowly faded away into nothing. Rei backed away then turned and ran for the door. As she entered it she blacked out.
She awoke an unknown amount of time later to find that she couldn’t move. Four young girls, all dressed as priestesses surrounded her. They lowered sharpened metal stakes to her wrists and ankles. As one they brought their mallets down on the stakes and Rei screamed.
“Are you alright?” Miku’s voice woke Rei from her daydream.
Later that night Rei was working in her darkroom developing the day’s photos. As the images became clearer she caught sight of a photo that stood out from the others. A man standing in a corner. A man that looked like Yuu.
So begins Project Zero 3 – The Tormented. That night, when Rei goes to bed she’ll be transported into the Manor of Sleep, a mythical place filled with malevolent spirits. There she’ll encounter the tattooed woman who passes her curse on to Rei. As Rei awakens her body is caught in a spasm of pain as a huge snake tattoo appears briefly on it. From then onwards, each night draws her back into the manor.
During her waking hours Rei will hunt for clues about her predicament. Her flatmate and assistant Miku will help her out as much as possible, but Miku herself has secrets to hide.
Rei will also be aided in her quest by Kei, an old friend of Yuu and of Miku’s absent brother. He has his own reasons for investigating the Manor of Sleep and it is he who puts Rei in contact with the Camera Obscura.
The camera is Rei’s only defence against the many spirits that she’ll meet in her time in the manor. Building on the superstition that cameras steal a piece of your soul, the entire Project Zero series has always pitted you against vengeful spirits with nothing to defend yourself except a camera.
Not only does the combat system centre around the camera, but so do many of the puzzles. Found a door sealed by a mysterious power? Take a photo of it. The camera will superimpose an image of somewhere else on the photo you’ve just taken. Find that place and beat the spirit that attacks you there and the door will open. Simple eh?
This installment in the series borrows heavily from both of it’s predecessors as well as several japanese horror films. There’s also a little bit of Silent Hill thrown in this time as well. Most players will liken it to Silent Hill 4 with it’s main setting being Rei’s apartment, but personally I find it to be more reminiscent of Silent Hill 2 and it’s underlying feeling of total despair.
So far, this game is the first that I can truly call a horror game. It creeps slowly under your skin as you’re playing. It niggles at you long after you put the controller down. This is not for the faint hearted.
This is for the tormented.