796th played so far

Genre: Survival Horror/Stealth
Platform: Playstation 3
Year of Release: 2008
Developer: Project Siren
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Siren Blood Curse has been living on our PS3’s hard drive as quite a chunky download for some time now. Its episodic release means that there are a lot of individual parts that, together, took quite a while to download, and there’s a part of us that (assuming the game isn’t that much of an all time keeper) would be nice to get rid off – at least once we’re done with it.

Although a rerelease/reimagining, the game this is based on is, for once, not a list game, but it sounds like the two diverge quite prominently anyway. The genre mixed in with the survival horror this time is stealth – looking at it, it feels like it’s somewhere between Silent Hill and Fatal Frame, although I’m not sure to what extent that pays off.

Our Thoughts

This game is frightening enough. The first cutscenes feel a bit over the top, but when you gain control for the first time, you have to avoid this zombie woodsman – in part making your way through a cabin, hiding as he goes past and runnign out past him. Although you can kill him at the end, for a lot of it he’s too scary to face. The game continues like that for a long time, with few opportunities to kill until you get a gun, and even then you want to be careful. Instead, there are plenty of situations where you can kill indirectly or need to avoid patrol routes. It’s decent for that stealth game in concept, but the execution is flawed.

Probably the biggest problem is that the game at times relies on you interacting with spots in the environment – using buttons and pushing things, actions like that – that are difficult to find and use. They’re small and several times I just ran past closets I had to hide in, doubling back to find it. I didn’t have enough time to do that and so I got attacked more than once because of that. It feels incredibly finicky in a genre where I want this to feel intuitive – I can get the tension from the actual game and don’t need these controls to ‘help’ with that.

It’s a dark game, at times gross and definitely leaning into the horror elements quite strongly. I guess that doesn’t help to find things, but it’s quite effective at painting the atmosphere, and it’s almost a shame the gameplay elements jar enough to pull you out of it.

Final Thoughts

I wanted to enjoy Siren: Blood Curse and the story is there – even if it seems a bit convoluted as well. The chapter system works quite well to set up the plot and take you through as you switch between characters. However, the gameplay doesn’t feel tuned enough to enjoy it and the controls could be a lot better to make the game less frustrating.