Project Zero: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse review (PS5)

The Project Zero games, perhaps better known under the name Fatal Frame, can be considered as cult classics within the horror genre. Many have at least heard of them and have a general idea of what they’re about, even more have never played them. The newly updated version of Mask of the Lunar Eclipse makes that a little easier, now that it’s out for modern systems – we played the PlayStation 5 version.

Project Zero: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse launched on the Nintendo Wii a decade and a half ago, and although most horror fans will associate the Wii with its excellent version of Resident Evil 4 this one was definitely worth a look as well. Its atmosphere tapped into the then-popular Japanese style of horror films like The Ring and The Grudge, and that element has certainly held up well in this remaster.


In a crowded horror game market, Tecmo’s take on the genre taps much more into specific cultural and supernatural influences than other games do, so it’s nice to see this one finally reach Western shores after the Wii one never did outside of the small scene of gamers who imported it. And speaking of shores, Mask of the Lunar Eclipse takes place on a remote island called Rogetsu – a haunted place where five schoolgirls were abducted to and used in an occult ritual. When two of them return to try and make peace with what happened, they find that the place is crawling with evil karma in the shape of spirits and creepy abandoned locations. And as per the norm in the Fatal Frame series, your choice of ‘weapon’ is a camera that lets you see and capture the souls that linger here.

The remaster treatment that Project Zero: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse received applies mostly to the game’s visuals, which have been updated – adding to the already strong sense of atmosphere that the game had. The audio treatment deserves a special mention as well, because when played through a good surround system or headset you’ll find that one is filled with tons of creepy sound effects to unnerve you – sounds in the distance, scraping, footsteps and even children crying – it’s all here.


The gameplay itself is what makes Project Zero/Fatal Frame a bit of a niche title, and that element of the game has remained unchanged – slow walking, sometimes awkward controls and outdated camera angles are all accounted for. Enemy encounters are nervous affairs not just because of the tense atmosphere, but also because you can find yourself fighting the controls to make sure you have the right lens, timing and aim. From that perspective, a modern remake of the formula would certainly be welcome.

This isn’t that modern remake though. It’s a remaster that was made to give those nostalgic for the franchise’s unique take on horror a chance to play a highly atmospheric game – perhaps for the first time. Its flaws are intact, but fans of Japanese horror should seriously consider overlooking them because there’s lots to enjoy when you look past them.

Score: 7.0/10

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