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'Project Zero II: Crimson Butterfly' for PS2


Today I'm here to review a PS2 game that I had wanted to play for almost 3 years!
This game is... 'Project Zero II: Crimson Butterfly'. The original 2004 release for PS2.
(To be honest, I've never even thought about playing the Wii version, they changed too much)
I only managed to get hold of this game in February this year...
And it was a birthday present from my lovely boyfriend Jamie because I turned 16 xD
I've had it since February but I only sat down to play it properly the other day~
(It was his way of saying 'here's a game you're old enough to play' haha)
This game is a survival horror game, originally from Japan,
It's set in Japan with Japanese character, etc. And focuses heavily around Shinto rituals.
Your enemies in this game are... Ghosts!
(Those of you familiar with the 'Project Zero' series will know)

I have to admit, I've been steadily playing through the first 'Project Zero' game for the past 2 years...
It's taking me a really long time to do because I find it's just very, very repetitive.
But, I've actually completely played through this game (I finished it the other day)
And it only took around 11 hours to complete (not continuously), so it wasn't a relatively long game.
However, whilst it wasn't overly long, a lot was packed into this game to keep it interesting.
I feel that is where 'Project Zero II' surpasses the first game in the series. There's a lot to do.
Very little repetition is used in this game, compared to the first 'Project Zero'. So that's good.

Now, on to the review itself~

O V E R V I E W:

In 'Project Zero II: Crimson Butterfly', you play as a teenage girl named Mio Amakura, alongside her twin sister, Mayu Amakura. The two girls visit a place where they used to play as children, as it is due to be destroyed soon and so they wish to say goodbye to the area. This is also the place in which Mayu developed her limp after an accident during their childhood. As the pair sit down next to the river to rest, Mayu walks off following a red butterfly, triggering Mio to go chasing after her. 

The pair eventually find themselves trapped in a mysterious abandoned village called 'All God's Village', which has been cursed to remain in eternal night. As they begin to search around the village, they discover that a catastrophic event in the past caused the village to become completely void of all life and the only inhabitants are ghosts of the past villagers. Within this village, there used to be a tradition of The Crimson Sacrifice, during which, twin shrine maidens would need to be used as a sacrifice to satisfy the Gods and prevent the opening of the Hellish Abyss. 

As Mio and Mayu continue through the village hoping to find a way out, they come across the Camera Obscura, a mysterious camera that allows them to take photographs of spirits in order to exorcise them. Events unfold as Mayu is lead astray by the ghosts of the past and Mio enters a battle against time to save her sister. 

C H A R A C T E R S:

Mio Amakura

Mio is the protagonist of 'Project Zero II', you play as her consistently throughout the game. 
The only times when you do not play as Mio are the rare occasional Mayu sequences.
(During which, you just move Mayu from one annoying location to another)
Mio cares deeply for her twin, and after Mayu wanders off alone into the village, Mio doesn't rest as she tries to find her troubled sister. Even when given the opportunity to escape the village, she remains to protect her sister.
She wears what appears to be similar to a school uniform, with a white skirt and black stockings.
Her outfit is very similar to Mayu's, some differences being that Mayu's outfit is a dress and socks. 
The basic template of their outfits is very, very similar. 
Mio is also different from Mayu with hair. Whilst Mio has side-swept bangs, Mayu has full-bangs. 
Out of the two sisters, Mio is the braver twin. She has the courage needed to protect Mayu. 

Mayu Amakura

Mayu is the twin sister of Mio. She takes the role of 'character-you-love-to-hate' in the game.
To put it simply, Mio would have a lot easier a time if Mayu didn't exist. 
Or if Mio just knocked Mayu out at the start of the game when they first entered the village.
It really would've saved her a lot of trouble. Really. This girl just cannot stay where you ask her.
Mayu is the nervous type. She is constantly seen hiding her face when entering rooms, etc.
Whenever a ghost attacks, Mayu stands amply on the sidelines and crouches down. 
This causes her to be very useful as a shield in the game, as you can allow the ghosts to attack her. 
So, whilst you start to despise Mayu and wish to leave her behind which you can choose to do 
Sometimes she does have her uses as being a shield to let you get Zero Shots of the ghosts.
Mayu is easily persuaded. She's naive, basically. 
She follows the butterflies into the village, then basically follows every ghost that shows an interest. 
At one point in the game, you witness Mayu become possessed by the spirit of the antagonist, Sae.
During this time, Mayu is one of the creepiest psycho girls in horror game history. 

Sae Kurosawa:
Sae is the antagonist of the game, and the reason for the deaths of all the villagers.
She is the twin sister of Yae Kurosawa (who is Miku Hinasaki's great-grandmother btw.)
In the game, we discover that Yae and Sae were supposed to be the next pair for the Crimson Sacrifice
However, Yae ran away from the village and left Sae to complete the ritual alone.
Because the ritual needs twins, Sae's sacrifice was a failure, and from the Hellish Abyss, her spirit returned.
However, her spirit had been corrupted and had become evil. 
She unleashed her revenge on the village, killing everyone. During which, she laughed manically. 
The legends of All God's Village tell of manic laughter drifting on the wind. This is Sae. 
Throughout the game, Sae is basically the only ghost that genuinely scared me. She was insane. 
Feeling betrayed by her sister, Yae, after she was abandoned, Sae carries a vengeance for twins. 
When Mayu and Mio enter the village, she sees it as an opportunity to re-do her (Mayu) sacrifice,
However this time, she would be able to have 'her sister' (Mio) there with her. 

Azami & Akane Kiryu

Akane and Azami are previous sacrifices in All God's Village. 
They are the ancestors of Mitsuki and Itsuki. 
Although we don't know a great deal about how they link in with the main storyline
We do find out that Azami was the one who was killed, and Akane was the one who killed her.
After the grief of losing her sister and being the one responsible, Akane swears never to kill again
(The Crimson Sacrifice ritual requires one twin to strangle the other)
Because Akane was so depressed by her sister's death, her father, Yoshitatsu Kiryu, built her a doll in Azami's image. However, Akane treasured the doll so much and treated it like the real Azami that the doll became possessed by a hostile spirit. This spirit then went on to manipulate Akane. 
Azami's spirit communicated with her father in a dream and told him to throw the doll into the Hellish Abyss to destroy it, however, Akane refused for the doll to be destroyed after the doll told her of her father's plan. And so, Akane dismantled the doll and hid the parts around the mansion. 
Akane, now fully controlled by the evil spirit, strangled her father. 
The spirit then consumed Akane's soul and the Kiryu family was ended.

Itsuki & Mitsuki Kiryu are male twins who also participated in the Crimson Sacrifice ritual. 
They are the descendants of Akane and Azami. Mitsuki was the sacrifice, and Itsuki became the remaining.
The two of them were friends with Yae and Sae, and it was Itsuki whom persuaded Yae to leave. 
On the night of Sae's sacrifice, Itsuki was locked in the Storehouse, where he then hung himself.
Itsuki's ghost helps Mayu and Mio to escape from the village by telling them the way out, the Old Oak.
Itsuki and Mitsuki also had a younger sister, Chitose, whom was locked in the house when Sae attacked.
Sae cut off the power to the Kiryu home before murdering Chitose as part of her Repentance. 
Thus, causing Chitose's spirit to return in the game as a hostile enemy. 

'Project Zero II: Crimson Butterfly' has completely original characters that do not appear similar in appearance to those in the first game at all. However, there is a clever link between the two games, which is Yae being Miku Hinasaki's great-grandmother after escaping from the village. A lot of people believe the only link between the two games was the Camera Obscura, however, with Yae being Miku's ancestor, it gives more depth to the bond between the games. I really loved the character designs for this game, and the way that their stories intertwined really impressed me. So, for characters, I give this game a full
5/5 
G A M E P L A Y

The gameplay in 'Project Zero II' is very similar to that of its predecessor.
The controls are the same. And also the functions of the menu are pretty similar.
One of the differences between the two games is that 'Project Zero II' doesn't feature in-game time
In the first game, it displayed the 'real life' time, and then also the time that it was within the game
I felt that was a nice touch, and I was disappointed to see that it wasn't brought back for the sequel. 
The way in which you fight the ghosts in this game is very similar to the first game, 
with the R1 button being the trigger for the camera, and also having the viewfinder sensor that glows when there are any hostile ghosts of things that need to be photographed. 
One of the most notable issues with gameplay in this game is the camera angle.
The camera was in a fixed position throughout the game, meaning that sometimes it was quite difficult to see what you were doing in between rooms as the camera sometimes took a while to catch up with where you were. This is a feature that was kept from the first game that I feel shouldn't of been.

Something to note about the sequel was that it contained a lot more additional features for the Camera Obscura. For example, being able to make the ghosts slower, or having a sensor that signaled when you could get a Fatal Frame. These additions made the harder boss fights a lot easier in-game. This was a feature that wasn't included in the first game, with one of the only real changes you could make to the Camera in 'Project Zero' being the type of film. Mentioning films... 'Project Zero II' completely scrapped Type 7 film, as well. Although this is mainly a good thing, as Type 7 was the weakest, and it boosted us onto Type 14 immediately. In a way though, I also feel like the Type 7 film was an important part of 'Project Zero'. It was the 'I don't really need this film so I'll use it for random ghosts' film. So, in a way I was sad to see it go. 

One thing I will say about this game was that it had a surprisingly large map. 
Compared to the first game which was all set in one house, this game featured an entire village, 
and everything in the village was interact-able. You couldn't enter every building, however, there was information about every building, or some description of what it was, etc. 
I found that this made the village really come to life, as there was a story behind everything. 


And each of these houses had its own individual map as well... For example:



These aren't even all the house maps, but these were the only ones I could find. 
Of course, there's also maps of the cave systems, Osaka house, etc. 
But it meant that there was plenty of different places to explore, which was great.
I think that's why I finished this game in such a short amount of time compared to the first game
(which I still haven't finished even now T-T) 
It was really interesting the whole way through, and the houses were scary.
Every time you opened a door, you got a little bit nervous that something would pop up.
Whenever you looked out of a window, you got a little bit worried that a ghost would appear.
And during times when you knew that Sae was in the same building as you, that was terrifying.
So many doors. So many rooms. So many sets of stairs. Eventually it became impossible to navigate.
But then that also made it realistic. Would two girls know their way fluently in a strange place?
No, of course they wouldn't. So it was realistic that you found yourself getting lost.

For gameplay, I'd give this game a solid 
5/5

F R I G H T  R A T I N G:

Now, it's time to analyse how scary this game was.
The 'Project Zero' series has been hailed by critics as being a perfect example of how survival horror games should be. But how did I find the scariness to be in this game?
Well, I'll tell you now, it was one hell of a lot scarier than the first game. 
I have to be honest, my favourite ghost for scariness was Sae Kurosawa. She was a crazy little girl, but her insanity made her really scary. Although we played the game in Easy, which meant we didn't actually get to fight Sae or the Kusabi (which I didn't realize when I selected the difficulty and I was really disappointed at the end of the game when I got the generic 'Crimson Butterfly' ending) you still had encounters with her, or you could hear her laughing from the next room over, and that laughter alone was enough to make you shiver. Sae was just one scary woman. 

Sae will be Sae, I guess... Aw look, isn't she happy?
Fighting the twins Azami and Akane was more annoying than it was scary. As they tag-teamed you and constantly repeated the phrase 'Why do you kill?' it just became a little tedious. It wouldn't have been so bad, except these two just kept on coming back. And to make it worse, only one of them could be hurt, and they were identical, which meant each time you would be wasting tonnes of film trying to figure out which ghost was the 'real' ghost. Because of this, I didn't find Azami and Akane scary at all.

A ghost that I did find scary was your brief encounter with the Kusabi when playing in Easy mode. 
(In Hard mode, or even Normal mode, you would get to fight both Sae and the Kusabi at the end)
He was a really freaky dude, and he was also a one-hit wonder. If he so much as touched you, that was it.
And because it was so early into the game, you really couldn't afford to let him kill you, because you didn't have any Stone Mirrors to resurrect yourself at that point in the game. He's a big deal, the Kusabi.
He was a big ghost, with a load of smaller spirits coming out of him. He's also referred to as the 'entity'. 



This little girl here is Chitose Kiryu. The younger sister of Itsuki and Mitsuki, remember?
Now, whilst she was only a little girl, and your fights with her (all 5 of them) were more of a game of Hide and Seek than anything else, there was something about Chitose that makes her special. Scary, even.
Because she was murdered in the pitch black, her power is that she can turn the entire house pitch black.
Even your torch has zero impact on lighting the way. However, she can only do this during a fight.
Some may find this annoying, and I suppose it is, but there is also something scary about it. Because it gives Chitose the opportunity to completely catch you by surprise by appearing out of the darkness she summoned, and appearing really, really close to the camera, giving you literally a second to snap her before she attacks you. And when she's close up, you can see how creepy she is. (Pictured above). 

Over-all, being stuck in a creepy abandoned village where a lonely little girl who got left behind by her twin sister and was thrown into the depths of Hell, only to return as an insane murderer who massacred the entire population of the village isn't a happy experience. It's pretty scary. So scary in fact, I'll give it:
4.9/5
And the only reason for me not giving it a full 5/5 is because there were some ghosts that just made me laugh. I'm not sure if I'll be able to find a video of one particular ghost but I will try....


This should be the ghost I'm talking about xD It's so funny, you can't take it seriously at all...


G H O S T S:

To give a general idea of the kinds of ghosts you'll be fighting in this game, I'll give some information:
Please note that in this game, there are ghosts relevant to the story, which include the ghosts mentioned above, and also random ghosts that are there either; just to scare you and won't even fight you, they show you the direction to go or help to unlock doors, etc. and also hostile ghosts that are there plainly to fight you and try to kill you. So, it's not just the types of ghosts that are relevant to the story. There's lots of different types of ghosts for you to exorcise. For example:


This woman is actually somewhat related to the storyline, so she's more powerful than random ghosts...


Here she is again... Although this is how we first see her in the game. (This may be from the Wii version)



Same for this guy, he's one of the priests involved in the Crimson Sacrifice ritual, so...


Whereas this guy over here, he'll just keep on reappearing again and again... And he's weak.


As for this woman right here... She makes a second appearance, but she's kinda strong...
I'm not sure whether I'd consider her to be a random ghost or not, as her location is important.



Both of these images depict more random ghosts. These spawn again and again. They're super annoying.
But, where would we be in a ghost survival horror game without stupidly high amounts of ghosts?
So, I suppose, whilst they keep reappearing and it's annoying, it's also improving gameplay. Huh.

There is quite a wide range of ghosts in this game, from 'The Grudge'-esque women in Kimono boxes, to women with broken necks and lacerations all over their face and body, to creepy little girls that chase you around and have stupidly high amounts of health. 'Project Zero II' has all your ghostly multiculturalism needs sorted. And, if there's really any good reason to play this game, it's to complete it and unlock the 'ghost list' so that you can go back, play the ENTIRE game again, and find every single ghost in the game. Checking them off as you go. That's what I plan to do now~ I'm quite good at finding the secret ghosts, but I feel there are probably a lot that I haven't found. 
For ghost variation, I give this game:
5/5

F I N A L  T H O U G H T S:

'Project Zero II: Crimson Butterfly' in a nutshell;

CAGED BISHIE GHOST

REALLY SUGGESTIVE INCEST/YURI SCENES

OH MY GOD A GHOST, NOT LIKE THERE'S BEEN HUNDREDS ALREADY

HELLO MAYU, I'M A GHOST COVERED IN BLOOD, LET'S BE BEST FRIENDS

I CANNOT BELIEVE NOBODY HAS POINTED OUT THEIR RIBBON TIES ARE BUTTERFLIES

All-in-all, I highly recommend this game to anyone who wants to play an actually scary horror game.
The 'Project Zero' franchise didn't disappoint with this second installment, in fact, it really out-did itself.
The scenery in this game is absolutely stunning, in that beautifully-eerie way. You know what I mean.
The storyline was intricately put together, and delicately explained throughout the game. It wasn't all just dumped on you in one go, they let it slowly explain itself. You uncover more about the ritual as you go on.
Choose to explore as much or as little as you like, because once you've found your main rooms, that's where all your necessary items are. But, if you're a brave one like me, you can explore all the houses thoroughly and find loads of extra ghosts and items that most people completely miss! 
Not to mention, bonus photo chances! There are so many that I guarantee people miss because they can't be bothered to explore. Exploring the mansions is fun. They're big and dark and creepy. C'mon guys. 

Over-all, I give this game:
5/5 Must-Play Ranking

Thank you for reading my ramblings, I hope this review was useful to those of you hoping to play this game~
It's definitely worth every second of those 11 hours, but if you're going to play it, I highly recommend investing some extra time and playing it on Normal difficulty. I feel you'll get more from the story that way, and you'll be much more satisfied with the Normal ending than the Easy one. 
(Trust me, the Crimson Butterfly ending makes no sense what-so-ever and is extremely boring). 
I felt really unsatisfied at the end of the game. All that hard work and no scary boss fight at the end? Bah.