SIREN: Blood Curse Hands-On

Japanese zombies need shooting too, and we oblige in our look at this horror action game from Sony.

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The video game world has seen its share of horror games over the years, from straight-ahead zombie games like Resident Evil to the more mystical fare of the Silent Hill series. With the upcoming SIREN: Blood Curse, a sequel of sorts to the original PlayStation 2 game from 2004, you can add one more series to that list of creepy games. We had a chance to check out a brief demo of the game at today's Sony press event in Los Angeles, and even in broad daylight, it managed to give us the creeps.

Set in a mysterious Japanese village that, rumor has it, disappeared 30 years ago, Blood Curse follows the crew of an American television program sent to the country to investigate the strange reappearance of the village. During the playable demo, we took control of a character who stumbles upon two Japanese zombies, known in the game as shibito, as one viciously attacks the others with a blade. Seconds later, the mauled zombie returns to life and shambles off into the darkness, leaving the main character shocked and grasping for a hold on reality.

As you take control of the character, your first goal is to sneak past the shibito ahead of you. The game makes light use of stealth techniques: To crouch (and thus make less noise as you move), you simply press the circle button. Granted, the stealthy approach isn't always the best one, as sometimes you'll need to bust a few zombies in the head with whatever weapon you can find, be it a pipe, a scythe, or a gun.

During the demo, our hero was accompanied by a female companion. Though you don't have direct control over her, she came to our rescue at one point, when we were overrun by a flesh-craving zombie. In fact, SIREN will have seven main characters, each of whom you will control over the game's 12 episodes, each of which will be released on the PlayStation Network as a separate download. After our brief playable demo ended, we were treated to a brief cutscene that introduced a little girl into the cast of characters, though it was unclear what role she plays in the overall plot.

SIREN's most intriguing feature--the ability to share the sight of enemies and allies alike--was unfortunately not playable in this build. With this feature, you'll be able to take over the sight of another character or enemy temporarily, which sounds like it will be a good way to stay out of trouble when things get hairy, as they are bound to do.

With a gritty, grimy look, plenty of blood, and lighting effects that look like something out a claustrophobe's nightmares, SIREN looks to offer plenty of scares. The first release of this episodic game is due later this year.

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