I’m currently in a Project Zero phase, thanks to that poor Wii game. Not a bad thing: having an excuse to play through these games again is always good.
Getting through the games almost in order, means you also get to see the technical progression. There’s no getting around it: the first game looked like a Nintendo 64 title with slightly better models. It had the best ghosts though. One thing that doesn’t seem to have changed, at least, is the strange shadowing system. Characters themselves have a fixed shadow, some objects don’t produce anything, while other objects react to the light of your torch in a somewhat peculiar way.
I’m fairly sure the PS2 could do real time shadows – if I’m not wrong, the Splinter Cell games did it, although they had less light sources than the Xbox versions. Still, this solution might have been less expensive for a smaller japanese team. The budget for these games must have been a lot lower.
These are nitpicks though. The Project Zero games are always as atmospheric ever. And when you have crazy little girls trying to impale you, who needs real time shadows?