Siren 2 improves the game play of its predecessor and stays faithful to its atmosphere and art style.

User Rating: 8.5 | Siren 2 PS2
Just as any sequel, Siren 2 is better defined in comparison to its predecessor. While it's definitely an improvement in game play, most of its core elements remained the same. More of the same its not always bad and in Siren's case its actually very good. The first game offered a lot of new ideas that highlighted it from other survival horror games and Siren 2 brings the same ingredients to the table.

The game follows the dark events on Yamijima Island, which led to the unexplained disappearance of all its inhabitants. The plot is told through the eyes of 10 different characters, whose story intertwine.

Siren 2 is played in chapters, putting you the control of one of the characters, in a given time, with objectives that range from escorting AI controlled partners through zombie infested buildings to literally driving over zombies in a yard. The chapters do not follow chronological order so at one time you might be playing at 11 pm with a given character and find an item that was left behind by another character at 10am of the very same day, in a chapter that is yet to be played.

Aside from the main objectives, there are side missions that have to be accomplished for the story to progress. For example, if one of your strong characters does not break through a door in the mine, you won't be able to play the mission where a child has to flee the mine through that very same door. Side missions are hidden at first but once you complete a chapter, the game kindly tells you what to do to unlock another chapter. What made the first Siren so hard was the fact that side missions were never explained. Basically, one had to play the same chapter over and over trying to interact with all the objects in the scenario, hoping to unlock a hidden mission.

The chapters might seem confusing at first as it's not explained why you're in control of a 12-year-old Japanese girl aboard a ferry full of zombies at one chapter and on the next one you're trying to stealth your way out of an angry fisherman village with a blind man but Siren 2 does an excellent job of putting the pieces together. As you progress in the game, each of the characters connection to each other and to the main plot is explained. The story also benefits from the archieves, a section with the notes, diaries and items that are relevant to the story. After playing one or two chapters, one would benefit to stop and read the scrolls, notes and examine the items found.

Just as the first game, Siren 2 will require one to play the same chapter at least twice to complete the 2 main objectives, side missions might require one or even two replays. The chapters haven't been created to last more than 30 minutes but if you can't take repetition, it's definitely not the game for you.

Is also worthy of notice that Siren 2 is heavy on stealth. As only a few of your characters are actually able to take down a lot of shibito (zombies) before dying, the best strategy is usually to avoid combat. That doesn't mean the game does not offer you the opportunity to put zombies down - with firearms or melee weapons - but as the zombies endlessly re-spawn and ammo is limited, it's usually best to gun and run or to avoid combat, that's specially true when the main character is a woman (can't handle automatic weapons) or a child (can't equip any weapon!). To avoid making the player cry in frustration, for a reason tied to the plot, all the characters are able to sightjack and see the world through the eyes of any other character, including dead ones. That allows one to understand patrol patterns and avoid combat if needed.

Siren 2 has very nice graphics, that follow the same art style of the first game. It also offers plenty of in game movies, that serve mostly as the prologue or epilogue of most chapters, and use the same art style that the game.

It's definitely a game for those why enjoy exploring the setting, reading notes and putting together the pieces of a story told in chapters. If you're too attached to your shotgun and if trial and error make you yawn, it's better to stay away from Siren 2.

In my opinion it's a great survival horror game. It would've benefited from better acting and maybe a game play that did not require that much backtracking but its original approach to sightjacking and multi-character structure make the whole experience worth of its price tag. How many games allow one to play a scared six year old kid that can barely run and a ground defense soldier armed with an automatic rifle?

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