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Spirit Camera: Cursed Memoir
 

Spirit Camera: Cursed Memoir

ESRB: Teen - T
Platform: Nintendo DS , DSI
Category: 3DS
 
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Developer: Techmo Koei
Publisher: Nintendo

Spirit Camera: Cursed Memoirs is a spin-off of the Fatal Frame series. An ‘augmented reality’ horror story, the game immerses the player in a world of ghosts and spirits while at the same time showcasing the technological capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS.

Graphics

The graphics are actually quite impressive considering it’s a hand held. Specifically, the game takes advantage of the AR features in a nicely unique fashion. Granted, the only other games I’ve played that used the augmented reality are the cards that come with the system and Kid Icarus: Uprising; it’s good to see a game that takes it away from the usual game genres you see coming out of Nintendo. I don’t necessarily mean to disparage Nintendo here. Nintendo games have a style that works for them. It’s just nice to see something different.

The booklet that comes along with the game (in lieu of the cards you may be familiar with if you own your own 3DS) is used to good effect but one of the things I found neat was the scenes away from the booklet that take place in the ‘real’ world. Your character (well, you, sort of) actually more or less interacts with spirits in your living room or kitchen or… café, basically wherever you find yourself playing the game.

Sound

It’s a haunted house/ghost story. I went in expecting spooky music and sound FX and the game delivered. This really is the type of game where it pays to play it safe. It’s not the type of soundtrack I’d go out of my way to buy, but it’s not really a setting where you’d expect that kind of soundtrack.

The voice acting isn’t bad though this is one of those situations where I’d have encouraged a little more chewing of the scenery. Maybe it would take away from the intended creep effect but a little overacting here would have been awesome. I think that’s more of a personal preference than anything though. Your mileage may vary.

Gameplay

Again, I want to point out that this game really does put the 3DS technology to good use and one of the few games I’ve played for the 3DS (okay, the only game) where I like using the gyro sensor function. The scenes in the haunted house let you look around using the gyro and the main character that you interact with, Maya, requires you to point the ‘camera’ at her as she floats around in your living room. Like I said, it’s one of the few games where the gyro sensor works and doesn’t get in the way when you’re trying to use the more standard controls.

The story is actually pretty interesting. The focus is on a purple diary that mysteriously comes into the player’s possession. Apparently, people looking at the book see words appear after which they are pulled into the book by a woman in black with a nasty habit of stealing people’s faces. A physical copy of the purple book is included with the game to be used in the Story Mode and a few of the side games included. As you play the game, you encounter a woman in white named Maya who has some connection to the woman in black. Part of the gameplay involves fighting off spirits that escape from the book into the ‘real world’.

The mini-games I alluded to above are kind of neat. One just lets you take regular pictures and superimposes the images of ghosts into them. Another involves just fighting off random spirits with your camera (taking their picture damages them). Another allows you to take a picture of yourself or another person and then find out about a spirit that is haunting you. The fourth is a game that uses the booklet. The game presents you with four portraits and a creature who asks you various questions requiring you to use your observational prowess.

For me, I found there to be two main flaws with the game. One of them may be more of a personal issue. I find that the places I’m most likely to actually play the 3DS don’t allow for the physical space requirements to play the game. Maybe in bed trying to get to sleep or be on the bus or in a café (where moving around is technically possible but requires a level of geekdom that even I find awkward and I’m usually a fairly shameless geek with several friends who use dork as a term of endearment towards me). That, I admit, has more to do with my video game habits and may not be a big deal for everyone.

The other flaw, and one I’ve noticed on several other reviews, is not so much the quality of the content so much as the quantity of the content. The main story line is only so long, and without multiple endings and with such a linear path to get to the end, you find yourself finishing the game and thinking “Okay, now what? Play it again?” Sure, there are a couple of mini-games but the amount of content is a limiting factor in this game. I mean, the what content that exists is good. There’s just not enough of it. Basically, I would recommend this game but only after it drops in price a little to make up for this. Also, it’s a flaw that makes it harder to write a review with a decent length just because there’s less to cover. Still… it’s a good game while it lasts.


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