Hysteria Project 2 Review

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Title: Hysteria Project 2
Developer: Sanuk Games
Game Type: PlayStation Mini
Download: 91 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download | Direct Download

EU Availability: Digital Download | Direct Download

Horror games on handhelds have been somewhat of a thing since the last generation of handhelds.  Way back in the days of the Game Boy Color, Capcom had intended, and nearly finished, a GBC port of the original Resident Evil game.  However, that didn’t come to light.  Since then, there have been other horror games trying to bring horror-themed games into the handheld market, like Resident Evil Gaiden.  Many of these games did have horror aspects to them.  However, they weren’t the least bit scary.

The PSP and DS generation is when it kicked off, with the Nintendo DS being able to handle games like Resident Evil: Deadly Silence and Dementium The Ward, the real place for horror games in the handheld market fell onto the PSP with games like Silent Hill Origins, pulling the creepy gameplay of Silent Hill straight, and faithfully, into a handheld game.  However, another contender was there as well, one that swapped consoles as well.

Hysteria Project had launched on Mobile platforms to provide a realistic, first-person, live-action horror experience of a hero escaping an axe-wielding killer.  The game later came to the PSP through the PlayStation Minis library, which we recently reviewed.  Along with this, it spawned a direct sequel that launched on Mobile as well as PlayStation Minis.  Here is our official review of Hysteria Project 2!

Story

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Hysteria Project 2, like its predecessor, has a plot that is shrouded in mystery from beginning to end.  Much like the first game, you awaken, disoriented, to find your arms and legs bound.  However, instead of being in a shed in the middle of the woods, you are bound and on a hospital bed.  Far away from any supplies to get you free, you are greeted by a woman, whom claims to be a scientist and wants to help you, with whatever is wrong that you do not remember at this point.

Just when you think you’re about to be untied, she flees the room, saying that “he” is coming back.  Players of Hysteria Project can easily put two-and-two together to realize that she is talking about the axe-wielding killer from the first game, back for more axe-swinging action.  The story then shifts to you, trying to escape the killer’s grasp with the help of the scientist Lisa, as well as searching and finding clues as to what, exactly is going on, and what the strange H symbol on your arm means.

The story of Hysteria Project 2 is much less of a mystery than the first game, but it still has many, many questions that need to be answered.  Though, for those interested in the lore, it does help clue you in on whom your stalker is, and how he’s able to follow you so well and precise.

Gameplay

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Like the previous game, this is a first-person Full-Motion-Video adventure as you move your way around the hospital to escape the axe-wielding killer that is set on adding you to his collection of body-bags.  You will be making choices as you move from scene to scene and the choices you make greatly affect whether you will get to the next room or end up with an axe to the face.

How this plays out has greatly changed from the first game, though.  In the first Hysteria Project, you watched a scene and then had a menu with 2-3 choices to choose from.  In Hysteria Project 2, it is much more of an interaction-based experience.  Some scenes will have you actively tilting your character to keep them from falling over or constantly working to keep a door from slamming shut while the killer prowls around the room you’re in.  These scenes can prove to be particularly difficult as even one false move can mean the difference between life and death.

The biggest change here is that not all of the game is Live-Action.  There are many scenes and areas where you will find yourself looking at a stand-still, computer-generated version of the scene you had just watched with a Pointer in front of you.  These are scenes where you must look around and interact with objects, which can be as simple as finding a knife to cut your bindings or as difficult as searching the morgue for a communication device.  Some of these are also timed, so you may have to search quickly.

The difficulty is one of the biggest aspects of the game, as the scenes are much harder to figure out than in the previous game.  While everything is much more interactive, it is also much more confusing.  The game gives you a slight hint before the opening scene that you will be using the Directional Buttons and Analog Stick mostly, but it doesn’t explain where you use which, and what other buttons you have to use.

This is especially apparent in some scenes like hiding in wardrobe closets where you have less than one second to start moving the doors to keep them from slamming by pushing the Analog Stick to the right, and the game doesn’t even tell you what you need to do.  It took me nearly 15 minutes of constant failures to figure out how to move the doors and to figure out I needed to keep them from shutting or opening all the way until the killer left and closed the door behind him.  It felt like I was just like the hero, disoriented and confused.

Aside from the difficulty retries, the game proves to be a bit longer than the first game, normally spanning about 30 minutes per run, as opposed to the 20 minutes for the original, along with the opportunity of collecting pages throughout the game to form a journal that clues you into the identity and background of the killer.

Controls

Being a PlayStation Mini, you will not be using the touch screen or rear touch panel for this game, though you can certainly set buttons to it, as strange as it may feel to do so.  You will, otherwise, only be using the buttons on the system for this game, and very few of those at that.  Hysteria Project 2 is a very control-light game.

The main controls you will be using are the D-Pad and Left Analog Stick.  They are both used for moving the cursor around the stand-still scenes as well as helping you balance and move around during the scenes where you must keep your balance.  There are also sections that require one and not the other, like the Wardrobe Door sequence as well as the extremely frustrating ending escape sequence.  The face buttons are also used in the game, though very lightly, having the X Button select interactions with objects, and the others being used in certain scenes when navigating around your killer’s axe.

All in all, the game is very light on controls.  While it is a hassle learning what does what from the game’s lack of a tutorial, the game doesn’t have a lot of extensive controls once you do know what does what.

Presentation

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One of the most critical and negative parts of our review of the first Hysteria Project was its Presentation section.  Unlike the first game, Hysteria Project 2 had a much better transition between the PSP and the PS Vita.  The picture quality isn’t as clear, but still remains very clear, unlike the incredibly-blurred scenes from the first game.  The game does a much better job at looking the part, even expanded and stretched onto the Vita’s screen.

The game also plays better than its predecessor.  The load times are all short, only taking around 3 seconds or so to get to the next area.  The game also plays and flows very smooth.  I experienced no slowdown, lagging, or crashing as I played through the game a couple times.  The developers definitely found the faults in the first game and vastly improved them with this one.

Overall

Hysteria Project 2 is a horror game shrouded in mystery.  While the game’s visuals took a minor hit when stretched onto the Vita’s screen and the whole experience lasts a short 30 minutes, it plays well and provides horror fans with a much more jumpy adventure than the first game of the series, as well as more insight to the series’ plot.

The PlayStation Review Network Rates Hysteria Project 2 a 7.5/10

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