Horror junkie that I am, I started playing Tecmo’s Fatal Frame II for the Playstation 2 this morning.
Knowing the Japanese’s mastery of horror, I was expecting a thrill ride with this game… and I was not disappointed. Fatal Frame II is one of the creepiest games that I have every played. Yes, the Americans can also make good horror games (like The Suffering, Clive Barker’s Undying, Doom) but when it comes to consistency of quality, white-knuckle horror, and an almost cinematic pacing I doff my hat off to the Japanese. They have really got the formula right.
In fact, almost all the games that come from Japan boast of the kind of mastery of atmosphere and storytelling that always keeps me coming back for more. Games like Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid series (the first PlayStation title of which is considered as one of the most cinematic and innovative games of all time), Shigeru Miyamoto’s Legend of Zelda, the slew of Final Fantasy games that virtually define the limits of in-game immersion every time one of the latest iterations is released, are just some of the many video games that are blurring the line between cinema and gaming as well as reinterpreting for the new millennium what story telling should be about.
I don’t know what the Japanese videogame creators’ inspirations are that make them continually push the boundaries of creativity in making video games. Every time someone from another country is proclaimed to have the edge, the Japanese just quietly release a slew games that are so jaw-dropping in its ingenuity, level of immersion, and quality that just leaves its competitors biting digital dust.