Get in the box!

Well, despite a bad first impression, Project Zero 5 was an okay game in the end.

Shadow of the Colossus
Shadow of the Colossus

I’ve spoken about the controls issue already. Perhaps the biggest problem however, and the one that puts this game below the others, is just how much padding there is. While other Project Zero titles would always have some backtracking, the areas were relatively contained so in the end it didn’t hurt much. So this time Tecmo removed the backtracking, and made the areas a lot bigger. And also filled them with ghosts. Which I suppose is not that much of a problem, but the combat is very easy, thanks to lock-on and the fragments system, while the ghosts’ health is pretty high. Expect to spend a lot of time doing slow, dent damage. Until you get a Fatal Frame chance, at which point you can chain them together with the right timing. I was usually able to get about 5 shots in a one-second span.

The Restore lens, which is a new addition, makes things even easier by allowing you to restore your own health by damaging the ghosts. Not that it would be necessary, since there’s plenty of healing items around. But if you don’t use any of your items, you have a good chance of getting a higher rank, since every item taken and not used will add to your final score. Your time is not counted either, so you should explore a lot and find many items, as well as random ghosts to fight. It becomes a slog after a while, although I appreciate the general concept.

Example of the score screen. See how the less items are used, the more points you get? Also, the time clock is effectively wrong, since it took me almost 3 hours. I guess it doesn't count cutscenes, timespent in the menus, etc.
Example of the score screen. See how the less items are used, the more points you get? Also, the time clock is effectively wrong, since it took me almost 3 hours. I guess it doesn’t count cutscenes, time spent in the menus,  maybe even the time spent opening doors?

The good is mostly the story, which albeit confusing, keeps things interesting. Some of the characters are nice, some others not so much, but they all hold it together well enough. The fragments system in combat is actually quite fun, though it’s clearly there just to give people a reason to tilt the Gamepad. And one of the best new things is how ghosts now need to somewhat obey the laws of physics: they will tend to not disappear inside the walls or terrain. This can lead to some jarringness (you can actually push ghosts off a cliff!), but also fairer combat.

Anyway, with 24 hours of real time spent playing according to the Wii U Daily Log (not the in-game counter), obtained at least S-rank in all the stages, and got the supposedly best ending for everyone, this is as far as I go. I also got the Zero Suit Samus costume! Can’t really say how, unfortunately. It just kinda happened.

In the end, it all made for a decent Halloween this year. Who knows what next year will bring, then. Maybe another spinoff like Spirit Camera. But possibly a bit better than Spirit Camera.


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