Ju-On: The Grudge (Hands-On) (Wii) Preview

By Mike Mason 09.09.2009 4

Review for Ju-On: The Grudge (Hands-On) on Wii

I hate horror films. I've banned them from my cinema schedules, and I'll only watch them at home if they make me wet myself with laughter over fear. There are very few films involving ghosts in my flat, and on the evidence of Ju-On that's probably a good thing. Turns out that, contrary to Ray Parker Jr.'s famous song, I am afraid of ghosts.

In accordance to the film prejudices listed above, I've not seen The Grudge in either its Japanese nor American form - the whole long-haired vengeful girl thing reminded me too much of Ringu, thanks very much. There was no escaping the malevolent spirits for this playtest, though, so I gripped onto the Wii remote and prepared to jump like a little girl.

Rather than being a straight horror game ala Resident Evil/Silent Hill et al, Rising Star are keen to emphasise that it is designed not as a deep hardcore horror, but something rather usual and unknown - a more casual, social approach. As such, the controls and gameplay are simplified to the bare minimum; the remote is the only thing you need, and with it you can aim your torch with the pointer, interact with whatever you're standing in front of using the A button, and walk in the direction you're pointing by holding B. Levels are only a maximum of half an hour long so it's easy to jump in and out. A multiplayer mode seals the casual-friendly deal; allowing a second player to mash at buttons on another remote to try to frighten their partner (they're only allowed to do it every 20 seconds to avoid diluting the fear). More than any other horror title it is a social experience, designed to make the player a laughing stock amongst their contemporaries as they spring about.

An abandoned warehouse was the backdrop for my adventure - each level is roughly based around one of the Ju-On films - and from the very first door the scares begin, courtesy of a small ghost boy that meows, the long-haired girl with an axe to grind, and environmental mishaps. Lightbulbs explode as you enter corridors, rafters topple around you one by one, and it's all masterfully timed; a benefit of developers FeelPlus working with Ju-On director Takashi Shimizu. The shock moments are scripted, but some will only occur if you have your torch pointed in the right direction, so in theory you could trudge around looking at the floor to avoid much of it - in practice FeelPlus have thought about that and have ghost boy sliding in and out of the screen screaming to discourage it.

Screenshot for Ju-On: The Grudge (Hands-On) on Wii

The atmosphere is superb, and that's largely in part to the slow pacing. There's no run button, and players are forced to creep around the environments v-e-r-y slowly, building the tension hugely, and to make things worse the only accompanying audio is the sound of your footsteps, sharp jabs of music and the occasional monster noise or bang. Alright, there are a lot of those. You're lulled into, and lurched out of, false senses of security repeatedly. You're forced to repeat your movements in going back and forth between areas to solve simple puzzles, such as collecting keys, and it will wait until you're relatively comfortable with the area to thrust an attack upon you. The fact that you are powerless probably also has something to do with it; all you can do is watch the scare unfold or, in the case of long-haired girl, waggle the remote to escape.

The goal is simply to reach the end of the level without dying. Only the girl can kill you, but it's also game over if your torch runs out of juice. You've got to keep on finding batteries throughout the levels, and this ties in nicely with the exploration aspect. You're encouraged to search around as much as possible, opening drawers and such, as this increases your scare factor at the end of levels; one of the elements upon which you are 'scored'. In this early level I never had to go beyond the main path, but later on it will become necessary to go through cupboards and the like to continue. Being the intrepid explorer that I am, I poked around in everything and was punished with one particular door that I turned away from when all seemed well, only for an arm to appear and grab at me. Which caused me to jump and swear.

The other way of scoring is the sissy factor, which measures how much the remote/your hand is shaking around during shock moments; if you're jerking back, the result won't be too favourable. Based on your score you'll be taunted after each level, and whatever it says will be more personalised if you enter your star sign at the beginning. Happily, my sissy factor wasn't too high when all was said and done; but that was just the one level.

Screenshot for Ju-On: The Grudge (Hands-On) on Wii

Final Thoughts

Ju-On: The Grudge should be arriving just in time for Halloween (it's targeted to come out the week before) and there couldn't be a better time for it. There's a constant sense of foreboding, and with a like-minded group of people this is going to be a great social experience. Just make sure you're not preparing yourself for a full-on action game, as this is tense and slow-paced from the beginning. Dare you to play it with the lights off...

Developer

Feel Plus

Publisher

Rising Star

Genre

Horror

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

It's a shame the game only sold ~5,500 copies in its first week in Japan and then disappeared from the chart completely...I think it was unfairly panned by Famitsu (22/40) as it looks really good from the videos I've seen.

I love scary films and thought Nanashi no Game on DS was fantastic, so the idea of a scare-fest on Wii really floats my boat.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

Wow I can't believe my cousin got this and I got to try it Smilie I serched rarely but the last door I open I fucking flipped a shit and ran out of the room

[/img]
John:
I..I can't watch porn. My Mommy finds out
:}

Haha, it is surprisingly jumpy! Did you enjoy it though, Captian? Smilie

Mason said:
Haha, it is surprisingly jumpy! Did you enjoy it though, Captian? Smilie

Yea very Fun but at Times my cousin would scream and act like he saw her causing me to go crazy with my Remote Smilie

[/img]
John:
I..I can't watch porn. My Mommy finds out
:}

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