Fatal Frame V: A new horror?

A trailer for the upcoming Fatal Frame V was released that heavily featured gameplay. 


It’s left me feeling optimistic about the integration of the WiiU’s gamepad.  I love the idea of being able to angle the camera in order to better capture multiple ghosts.  I’m not sure about, at least what seems to be a mechanic to me, needing to angle the camera a specific way in order to capture non-aggressive ghost’s pictures and to get bonuses in fights.  It seems unnecessary and potentially annoying.

It was hard to not notice the jiggle physics.  Fatal Frame has always had an element of “fan service” (most of these characters are underage).  It’s not something I’m personally happy about.  It’s blatant and takes away from the atmosphere (and except in III it’s creepy).  It leaves me thinking about how obtrusive and obvious it is instead of freaking out about that shadow over there “Oh my god, do you see it!?”

My main fear stemming from the previous installment, Fatal Frame IV, is story.  The first two games were fine, they had some turns and were wrapped up well.  The third was alright, but definitely required a little more careful reading to deal with how convoluted the story was presented.  The fourth was terrible; texts within the game frequently didn’t make sense with one another, there were numerous story holes, and it just felt messy.  I’m scared this is going to be repeated in V.  In IV it felt like they were running out of storytelling steam, or they were trying to up the “mystery” and twists as a means to frighten.  Like Silent Hill, I would love a return to original form.

The scares in IV were also sub-par.  A lot of them were hollow imitations of former games.  Ghost designs copied from previous installments and in IV their A.Is were all the same.  Move/Teleport – rush forward – repeat.  The only ghost encounter with some semblance of interesting mechanics was the woman in the wheelchair with her sister.  The rest were “rushers” and group fights (of rushers).  I’d love to see new innovation in the battles for V.  Ghosts can be capable of all sorts of tom-foolery; they generally disobey the rules of space and frequently have telekinesis.

With the announcement it is getting a North American release I’m both excited and scared (not in a good way).  A Fatal Frame game is only as strong as it’s ability to tell a spooky story, create atmosphere and have genuine moments of fright.  I’m just not sure this series is still capable of it.