There is a new Playstation 3 exclusive launching this week, in a unique way. In the US and Europe, SIREN: Blood Curse will launch as a downloadable game on the Playstation Network. This is exceptional as it is a full size game. Players have two options, as well. They can download 4 episodes at a time, 3 packs total, at $14.99 a pack (£4.99 in Europe) or purchase the whole game at once for $40 (£19.99 across the pond). The game will be available on Blu-ray as well in Japan. If U.S. and European gamers really want the game on disc, consider this a friendly reminder that games for PS3 are NOT region-encoded, and an import, while it would cost more, would certainly work (and has an English-language version included).
That’s all well and good, but what about the actual gameplay? Well, as publishers have taken advantage of on Xbox Live and PSN, Sony put out a demo of the game ahead of the actual release. The demo takes the player through two short missions, letting prospective buyers get a decent taste.
The good outweighs the bad here, for sure. The Japanese atmosphere is great. Darkness and fog, while a bit cliché in survival horrors, work to set the mood. The graphics are tight, and the enemies are eerie looking. Every sound unnaturally echoes around you, amplifying the tension, especially when you’re trying to sneak by a Shibito, the game’s version of zombies. The full game has seven playable characters, but you only play with one in the demo. The downside to this is we don’t know how different the gameplay will be with each character.
As for the gameplay itself, the controls are very easy to jump into. Starting off with just a flashlight, it is easy to point around, with effective lighting showing what hides in the darkness. The controls are responsive, making slow and fast movement easy with the single control stick. The camera takes some odd angles sometimes, especially on a standard definition screen- your character winds up taking too much of the screen space, leaving you wondering what lurks beyond. This can get a bit annoying, but it does serve the suspense well. Fighting and shooting mechanics are showed off in the demo, and are once again easy to jump right into. Also, some motion controls are mapped in, using the Sixaxis function to reload or struggle to hold a door shut. Simple, but effective is the name of the game, and it turned out great.
Based on the demo, SIREN: Blood Curse will be worth checking out. Gamers do have the tough decision of trying a single pack or diving into the whole game. If you get a pack first in the US, and decide to purchase the whole thing, you wind up spending an extra five dollars. This still clocks in cheaper than a game at your local store, however. If you’re on the fence about this scarefest, stay tuned to Newsarama for a review of the full game next week.
SIREN: Blood Curse hits the Playstation Network worldwide July 24, 2008