Fatal Frame/Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water – Review

Our Score: 8/10

Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water is part of the Project Zero (known as Fatal Frame in North America, and simply as Zero in its original land of Japan) franchise developed by Koei Tecmo. A survival horror series of games, this is the fifth and the latest game in the series. Originally released in 2015 for the Wii U, the game is finally coming to eighth and ninth-generation consoles alongside PC. This is thanks to it being the 20th anniversary of the series.

Announced at E3 2021, this game was originally made for the WiiU with its gamepad in mind. One of the game’s most core gameplay mechanic was tied to the WiiU Gamepad being used as a camera. Thankfully, with this re-release, you don’t have to own a WiiU gamepad to experience the game. With lots of modern and quality of life improvements, this game is perfect for the spooky season.

What is Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water?

“Mt. Hikami was once revered as a spiritual place. It housed a unique religion based on beliefs and customs of worshipping water as a deity and is said to have been a site of many gruesome incidents and mysterious phenomena. This mysterious and intertwined story follows three protagonists—Yuri Kozukata, Miu Hinasaki, and Ren Hojo—as each of them explores the ominous Mt. Hikami, a place where many came to die, and the secrets it hides.”

Maiden of Black Water Ghost

Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water is a survival horror game where you play as three characters All three characters are working towards solving a mystery around Mt. Hikami. Each of these characters has their own special abilities by which they interact with the ghosts. And by which they keep themselves safe.

The core mechanic of the game has you walk around but one of the most prominent gameplay mechanics is the Camera Obscura. The Camera Obscura is a camera that allows you to see hidden spirits. Furthermore, it also allows you to protect yourself by taking photos of the ghosts. The closer you let the ghosts get to you before snapping their picture, the more damage you deal.

Maiden of Black Water Re-release Goodies

Due to the multi-platform release of this title, the gameplay controls have seen changes. They have been modernized so for modern controllers and keyboard and mouse. Besides that, there have been other new additions as well. Firstly, the game has a higher base resolution. This helps the game looks so much cleaner and sharper. With a game that’s got such a wonderful art style, they now allow you to make the most of it with a photo mode.

The photo mode also allows you to place and pose the ghosts so that you can get the perfect spooky photo. There are also new character outfits for all the characters, including crossover outfits.

Do keep in mind though that the original lingerie and swimsuit outfits from the Japanese release and the Nintendo-themed Samus Aran and Princess Zelda outfits from the Western release are not included in this re-release.

Look and Feel

This is a re-release of a 2014 WiiU game but thanks to bump in resolution and cleaner texture work, the game actually looks quite good. The original release was quite a good-looking and atmospheric game. And this re-release just accentuates that and allows you to experience it in the best quality possible.

The audio design hasn’t changed and matches the quality of the original. It’s solid all-around and incredibly creepy. I’ve never been on a spooky mountain all by myself but I cant absolutely tell you that this game nails that atmosphere. The voice acting hasn’t been changed either and retains the localization of the original release.

Final Verdict

Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water is a solid survival horror game with quite a dark tone to it. Thanks to the better visuals and modern controls, more people can enjoy this title. In a way, I feel this is Koei Tecmo testing the waters to see if there’s still interest in the series before deciding to develop a new one. It has been six to seven years since the original release so, maybe they’re gearing up to make a new one.

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