How to classify Siren: Blood Curse. Is it a sequel to Siren 1 & 2? Is it a separate standalone game altogether for the PS3? In a way it is all of these things combined. Read on to find out why...
Siren: Blood Curse (hereafter Siren:BC) is the third game in the series, based on the novels by enter name here. The game has you play as different members of an American television crew who have come to a village in the Japanese countryside to investigate the reported incidents that are taking place there. They then witness the sacrifice of a young Japanese girl, after which a siren (like those of the WWII era begins to sound, it starts to rain blood and mayhem ensues.
Compared with the previous games in the series, Siren:BC takes the innovative elements from its predecessors and adds its own new ideas into the mix to create its own individual feel within the survival genre. Rather than just be the third game in the series, Siren:BC is a new game in the franchise and has elements of remake about it but many additional new ideas to make it a good fusion of both.
The game is broken into chapters where you will take control of different characters as they try to figure out what is going on. Each chapter is introduced like the intro to a TV show with a catch-up segment at the beginning and a preview for the next chapter at the end. Its a nice idea and works well for a survival horror game, adding tension and giving the player the compulsion to keep playing on (with musical triggers that are reminiscent of TV series Lost).
The characters are a reasonably likeable bunch, from American student Howard Wright to reporter Melissa Gale and professor Sam Monroe, among others. Most of these characters can either sneak around the town's environments to attempt to sneak past the shibito (using the game's sight-jacking feature that lets you look through the enemies' eyes) or pick up a weapon to clobber the shibito to the ground. It adds some much-needed variety to the gameplay compared to the previous games in the series where being spotted resulted in instant death. You can either sneak through the stages or barge right through with all guns blazing, based on your preferred playing style. Granted, most stages require you to go from A to B but it is the path you take that makes playing the game something special.
Graphically there is very little to criticise with Siren:BC. The in-game environments look spot-on and the characters are highly detailed with fluid movement and sensible design decisions having been made. You can tell motion capture was used due to the attention to detail paid with the characters' movement and actions. It certainly absorbs you into the game's setting well and like any good horror game makes your heart rate increase when a shibito spots and runs right for you!
Playing through the game unveils the story to the player as they themselves try to figure out what is going on in the Japanese countryside village. Without any major spoilers the game has some great twists and turns and you can also pick up items through the chapters to help fill gaps in the game's story and the characters' backgrounds. The disc version of the game also comes with a making of featurette that shows the creative process of how the game was put together and developer interviews. It gives a nice insight into how the world of Siren:BC was created.
The gameplay may be too repetitive for some and players may get frustrated that the enemy can not be killed (the shibito only ever get knocked out). The game may also be too short for some tastes and you can't always go all guns blazing as the enemy will drop you fairly quickly (but this is just to add variety to the gameplay after all).
Minor criticisms aside, Siren:BC is a good edition to the Siren franchise, providing enough new ideas to keep the series fresh and find its own place in the genre of survival horror. Comes recommended to people who like to be scared and at the retail price (£19.99) is quite friendly on your wallet too.