Excerpt: The fabled emotion engine remained just that, an official fable and simply a fancy title given to the processor powering your PS2. It was something that was completely blown out of proportion for reasons we cannot comprehend. Regardless of this unfounded Emotion engine hype, gaming can indeed convey emotions without the need of such a processor; Haunting Ground is all about the panic of being pursued for instance.
Excerpt: Poor Fiona Belli. First a car crash that claimed the lives of her beloved parents, then waking up, only to find herself naked except for a flimsy sheet, locked in a dog cage. Not a great way to start a day, now is it? The gorgeous CGI intro weaves her sad tale beautifully, but this will be the first and only time you see CG in Haunting Ground . The rest of the game is comprised entirely of in-game graphics and they are breathtaking.
Excerpt: Haunting Ground never transcends itself. There are some good elements at work here: the graphics are strong throughout, the story is initially interesting, and Fiona's inability to fight back makes the onset of an enemy extremely tense. But the story quickly fades, the controls are often spotty, and the game experience doesn't vary before it all becomes monotonous. There are the inklings of a solid game within Haunting Ground, but what's here is mostly mediocre.
Excerpt: Almost every horror survival game I can think of relies in some way on the player getting good at combat. Some like the Silent Hill series are more adventure driven, though combat is a huge part. Others like Resident Evil will have you blasting so many creatures you will be the customer of the month at the local gun store. Haunting Ground puts you into a similar situation as these other titles with one major exception: you don't have any real weapons.
Excerpt: The survival horror experience is largely built on one of two elements: grisly action, or heaping helpings of tension and suspense. Haunting Ground, Capcom's latest thriller, is one of the latter, pitting a frail young woman against a myriad of mysterious dangers with only her wits and a canine companion to keep her alive.
Pros: Plenty of creepy places and mysterious machines to explore, Genuine thrills, having to run and hide ratchets up the tension, Hewie makes an interesting and unique partner
Cons: Dog doesn't always feel like helping you out (they made him too realistic!), Almost complete lack of any real defense, Enemies like to cheat to find you
Excerpt: Perhaps then as I've always suspected, the problem can be found in the formula itself. As a way of instilling panic in players, the chase is an effective means to an end. Like any good horror however, over exposure breeds familiarity, and in familiarity we find ourselves numb to the fear.
Conclusion: Graphically, the game looks good. Nothing too impressive, the game still needs a bit more work in the degree of detail in the backgrounds as they don’t look impressive enough to be very scary. But it definitely looks good. This title was already released in Japan under the name of Demento. It looks promising to say the least. We can only hope Capcom can bring something good and innovative this time around. Expect to be haunted May 10th.