Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water wasn't anything special back in 2015 on Nintendo Wii U, and it's no better six years later. A sub-standard remaster ports the horror title to PlayStation 5 to conveniently coincide with Halloween, but for as creepy as it can be, it's not a particularly enjoyable game to actually play.
If we were offered the chance to watch a compilation of its haunting cutscenes and skip the gameplay altogether then we'd happily take it because the title simply doesn't feel good to play in 2021. Clunky and overly responsive controls unite with questionable button mapping to make the battle with your PS5 controller just as difficult as the one with the supernatural. There's a very dark and distressing atmosphere to the whole thing, though, which at least complements the story of three different characters up Hikami Mountain.
Camera combat is what the series is known for and it returns here with points scoring and an overall rating at the end of each level. You can emulate the Wii U gamepad to a degree through PS5 gyro controls, which is a welcome inclusion even if we turned the option off pretty much immediately. As you explore the linear landmarks of Hikami Mountain, completing objectives as you go, the three protagonists defend themselves from ghosts by snapping pictures to deal damage. Different types of film rolls have various perks — a shorter cooldown time, for example — and they are what give combat at least a little bit of depth. It's a neat approach to engagements that, even after five main entries, still feels fairly novel.
What really lets the package down is the work put in to claim this is a remaster. Comparing it to the Wii U original, effort appears to have been put into making the title a little brighter, but that's about as far as it goes. It honestly looks like an Instagram filter has been slapped on top of the visuals and the job's considered done. You could maybe say it looks like a late PS3 game. Maybe.
You could do a lot better than Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water this Halloween season; the PS5 has built up its horror library up just enough for there to be something else worthy of your time. Those cutscenes, though. Very creepy.