Review by Mazinger_Kaiser

Reviewed: 04/11/06 | Updated: 04/14/06

"Haunting Ground? Cool!"

CAPCOM introduces a new survival horror game for the PlayStation 2: HAUNTING GROUND a.k.a. DEMENTO (Japanese Version)

The Graphics: 10/10

Let me start with the obvious, Fiona (the main character) is very beautiful looking, so much so that it is very creepy. Her looks can almost be compared to a real live girl. Most notably are her very shapely body and the ‘bouncies’ that she has. The wardrobe that she wears including those of the other characters (Daniella, Ricardo, Lorenzo & Debilitas), are also very detailed and matches up pretty well with the background environments.

The background environments like: the plants, the shelves or cabinets, vases, fire, water, doors, cutlery, blood, meats, curtains, tables, chairs, dolls, structures, sofas, bathtub, sink, boxes, beds, candles and candle sticks, the sky, the lighting detail (whether night or day), graves stones and a whole other bunch of stuffs found in-game, are very well made and finely detailed.

The emotion that Fiona depicts in this game is pretty good too. Her body language is awesome and the way she looks terrified when someone or something is chasing her is so convincing. And the enemy characters are not to be scoffed at as well, Daniella charging you with and an empty look complete with 2 different types of deadly weapons, is not a pretty sight. Debilitas by the way is the most unforgettable because of the way he’s created, freakish looking with half a brain who scratches ‘something’ very often.

Now we go to Hewie (the dog). In this game Hewie is also very realistic and his motion perfectly depicts that of an actual dog. The way Fiona pats his head when she praises him, is very compelling, it feels like your actually petting your own dog. When Hewie’s fur rises as enemies approach is also wonderful looking, not to mention the way Hewie attacks them which is also superbly done.

The FMVs are all great and well made, although some would say that the introduction movie could use some work, to me it was no prob and it is still all thumbs up.

I give the Graphics a 10/10. Not just because of the bouncies but because of everything, it’s just so realistic. That’s hot!

The Sound: 10/10

CAPCOM is excellent when it comes to sound ambiance, most especially in this game. Haunting Ground is scary for the eyes but also for the ears. Every moment, whether you are resting from a chase or just plain saving, the music/BGM adapts so beautifully. Voice Acting of the Seiyuus (voice actors/actresses) is very top of the line quality. You are pulled deeper in the story because of the very superb voices that the Seiyuus (voice actors/actresses) provide.

There are plenty of awesome sound/sound effects that can be heard in the game, like: Hewies’ barking, water gushing, Debilitas constant ‘My Dolly!’ banter, Daniellas’ hysteric laughters, mirrors breaking, door opening or closing, ‘flame sounds’, vases breaking, sound of footsteps, gunshots, mandragoras screaming, earthquake rumblings, sound of rocks falling and Fionas’ constant ‘Hewie!’.

The background music plays very timely and was well placed within the game, which greatly adds more tension while playing Haunting Ground. Picture this: a soothing melodious sound starts to play while scoping some objects then someone appear out of the blue, the music then changes and he or she starts chasing you, sounds pretty delectable ain’t it?

I gave the Sound a 10/10 because every bit of sound you hear in the whole of this game is so excellent. Soundelicious.

The Gameplay: 10/10

The following are the controls for Fiona: the Left D-Pad/Left Analog Stick moves the blond girl, X Button is the run button, the Circle Button is used for examining or opening doors or closing doors, the Square Button is for kicking but while running this button turns into a shoulder ram, the Triangle Button is for using equipped items or weapons, the L1 Button is for crouching and the R1 Button is used as a backstep but if combined with the Square Button it becomes a push. The following are the controls for Hewie: Right Analog Stick Up is for the attack command, Right Analog Stick Down is for the come here command, the Right Analog Stick Left is for the scolding command, the Right Analog Stick Right is for the praise command and finally the R3 Button is for ordering the animal to stop or sit.

One of the things I very much like in this game is that there are no loading times except during the load game at the main menu. This greatly increases your enjoyment as a gamer who might not be so fond to those loading screens featured once in a while (or maybe all the time??). Most notably is that even if you enter another room, the game flawlessly continues with no interruption which is so cool.

There are also some unique elements, wherein you can use a door as a weapon or with a little order, unleash an ultimate attack via your animal companion: Hewie. Plus the fact you can use unique weapons featured in this game. I’m afraid that there are no actual starting firearms when you start your game for the first time. Basically you are naked and your kick, wits, Hewie and hiding places are your very basic tools that you have to use against your deadly foes.

One thing I forgot to mention is the fact that if Fiona goes into some kind of panic; aside from the fact that the whole screen becomes monochrome; the blond girl goes hysterical to the point that you can barely control her, if the enemy is anywhere near Fiona during her panic attacks then heaven help you. But there’s no need to worry though, there are special places where you can ‘hide’ from your pursuers which by the way is very helpful and an important element of the game.

Hewie is also an excellent help in coping with the ‘villains’ in this game. He can find items for you or you could order him to attack your pursuers via ambush tactics or aggressive frontal confrontation. This gives you ample time to run and hide or prepare an item of sorts to use and help Hewie while he engages the enemy. Although a word of caution, you can literally hurt him if you kick him by accident, not to mention that he may attack you (yes, you!) if you’ve damage him greatly.

All in all I give the Gameplay a 10/10 because of the way an enemy appears out of nowhere and before you know it, you are running for your life. Raise the roof FTW!

The Story: 10/10

I won’t spoil it for ya, a beautiful blond girl finds herself trapped in an unknown place and surrounded by a host of mysterious, deadly and demented people. Smokin’!

Replayability Factor:

Let’s see:
-An extra option to unlock
-An extra difficulty to unlock
-Dozens of cutscenes to unlock
-Dozens of BGMs to unlock
-Dozens of picture (in the gallery section) to unlock
-4 endings to unlock
-3 new costumes to unlock for Fiona
-2 new looks to unlock for your dog Hewie
-A new mini-game to play with four challenges
-11 play type/ranks to find depending on the things you do in-game
-7 things to gain via plate keys

Need I say more?

Buy or Rent?

If you don’t know about Haunting Ground a.k.a. Demento (Japanese Version), the story and the characters or don’t wanna know about them or their story, then RENT THIS GAME. But if you’re a newbie in survival horror, a dog lover, or itching to play a scary game with an awesome story then this game is made just for you. BUY IT!!!

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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