Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir ReviewJustin Ling
Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir is a spin-off game of the popular Fatal Frame series for the Nintendo 3DS. As befitting the series, the game has you equipped with a camera that, by taking pictures of ghosts, can exorcise the vengeful spirits. For this particular game, you yourself are the protagonist who receives a mysterious purple book known as the Diary of Faces. This diary has an urban legend about it: if words appear in it and you read them, you will be cursed and your face will be taken. Sure enough, words appear in the diary when you view it through the cameras of the 3DS. You also meet a ghost by the name of Maya who begs for your help trying to escape a mysterious woman in black who she says is responsible for the curse.
The game has quite a few flaws that may hurt one's gaming experience. The first one is that most of the game cannot be played without the diary that is included with every game. While the diary helps players immerse themselves into the game's setting quite well, its main problem lies in the fact that it may have problems being detected on the 3DS camera. It requires a well-lit room in order to register properly, meaning it is almost impossible to play the game during nighttime, the time when a spooky atmosphere is most easily achieved for quite a few people. Some of the effects when the camera does register are quite frightening though, especially the moment when your own face appears in the book with the eyes and mouths crossed out.
The other main problem with the game is its length and replay value. The game itself can easily be finished in a few hours, nowhere near as long as the other Fatal Frame games. There is almost no replay value; completion of the story mode unlocks an extra difficulty mode that provides a little more backstory and an additional costume for Maya, but not much else. There are also additional modes such as taking pictures to seek out ghosts, taking pictures of people's faces to turn them into spirits to exorcise, and the ability to have rematches with the game's ghosts with added difficulty. Overall, this is a rather short game that one might not want to spend over thirty dollars on.
The controls of the game are solid and require players to move around quite a bit in order to chase after ghosts or seek out Maya to speak to. The ghosts themselves are uncanny to look at though the horror in this game is rather tame for a Fatal Frame game. The main strength of this game is that it is atmospheric and immersive; Maya speaks directly to the player and the use of the diary makes it seem as though you really have been sent a cursed book. However, this is a game one might consider buying at a bargain price. The horror is not frightening enough and the game is not long enough for this game to be considered worth full price.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.