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Project Zero: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse Review

Project Zero: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse Review

Early in 2023, I checked out the demo for Project Zero: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse. At that time it was entertaining but had a lot of bugs and graphical issues. Let’s see if any of these problems were fixed before the full game was released. Project Zero — also known as Fatal Frame — is the fourth entry in the Project Zero series that was released for the Nintendo Wii in 2008. This release was not worldwide however, it was limited to Japan and this is the first time that the rest of the world gets to play it. Publisher Koei Tecmo has remastered it, so it looks better than ever.


Project Zero takes place on the mysterious isle called Rougetsu Island. This location is home to strange events like all of the residents dying and being found with their hands covering their faces. The cause is unknown, but scientists at the time claimed that it must have been some sort of disease. Years later, a group of five girls were held captive here for some inexplicable reason. The girls were rescued, but two died due to mysterious circumstances and the remaining three all suffer from amnesia and can’t remember the events that took place on that island. They decide to return to see what they can learn.

PROJECT ZERO flashback

Project Zero begins with a prelude called Blossoming where we see Madoka and Misaki returning to the island and entering the abandoned manor where they were held. Walking through this dusty and neglected building brings back old visions that resemble old black-and-white film for Madoka. We see the group of young girls bound and forced to wear ceremonial masks. When the vision suddenly disappears Misaki is gone. 


You play as Madoka searching the house trying to find where Misaki went. Madoka suddenly sees Misaki and tries to follow her, while spirits and creepy entities appear. This is where you will learn how to use the controls for the game like how to walk, strafe, and run. In my preview article, I complained about how slow you walk, but I now realise why it was done this way. There are multiple clues and items that you can examine while you explore, and if you are running — I call it power walking — you may miss something important. A red circle pops up saying “explore” and if you are going too fast it’s barely a flash on the screen. If you notice it and try to go back to find it, sometimes it’s a bit tricky to get the perfect angle to access it. Madoka sees Misaki and tries to follow her while spirits and creepy entities appear. 


You find a journal written by Professor Aso that describes his "camera obscura" and its special ability to capture entities that are invisible to the average person. These are the souls of the dead and when you photograph them it seals the wraith away, just like performing an exorcism. Once Madoka acquires the camera, she is surrounded by supernatural forces and the prelude ends, we start the main game. 


Project Zero: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse is a surprisingly nice-looking game, especially since the original came out in 2008 on the Wii. One of the most annoying issues I had with the demo was areas of the game looking blocky, where some spots looked like dark rectangles where someone turned down the brightness. I am excited to say that these issues are totally fixed, and neither has been an issue in the hours that I have been playing. The one issue I did have when I started playing was the screen was constantly shaking, not a lot, but enough to notice and make you feel a bit queasy. In the options, I turned off the V-Sync option and I changed the resolution of the screen to be 1080 x 600 and windowed. This stopped the shaking and made the game a lot more enjoyable to play! 

PROJECT ZERO ghostlist

The spirits and ghosts that you encounter are super creepy and look just like an entity that you would see in a horror movie. I made sure that every time I was going to go around a corner I would have my camera out, ready to snap a picture in case there was a wraith standing there waiting for me. The music is atmospheric and does a great job of making you feel tense and a sense of dread. Accompanying this were sound effects like creaking doors that shut behind you, voices coming through intercoms, and sounds from the camera that would let you know when the entity you were trying to capture was in focus or when the camera was charged to take another picture.

project zero photostats

This time I played the game on my Steam Deck through the Steam Dock then used the Xbox Controller. I had no issues at all controlling the game this way, even using the Camera Obscura worked a lot better than in the demo. When you use the Snap Mode, I just use the screen capture button on my controller. These images are more for your own photo book and aren’t required in the game. This was one of the things that confused me in the demo, it seemed odd that I could use the controller for everything, except actually taking the picture. This mode wasn’t included in the game when it was on the Wii and feels like a fun addition to the game.


I have been having a great time playing Project Zero: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse. Based on the demo I was hesitant to try playing the full game, I never expected that all the issues I had previously would be taken care of. There is an interesting story here, told in phases just like the moon, which is a big element of the story. You get to play as multiple characters, and when you are at a lantern to save your game, you can also change their outfits and add accessories. Make sure to visit these lanterns whenever you see them as there are no autosaves here, so it is easy to lose some progress and items if you aren’t careful. That is one of the scariest parts of Project Zero, not knowing if you will be able to save before you are attacked and die.

7.50/10 7½

PROJECT ZERO: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse (Reviewed on Windows)

This game is good, with a few negatives.

Project Zero: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse has fixed all the issues that plagued its demo and is a title with a creepy story and startling moments that will make you jump. Make sure you save often because, with no auto-save, it will be easy to lose progress and items.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Alana Dunitz

Alana Dunitz

Staff Writer

Lover of cats, coffee and all kinds of videogames! With a soft spot for retro and import games.

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Jon Wilson
Jon Wilson - 04:17am, 26th May 2023

It's nice to see series like these making a comeback! And such a unique take on the horror genre, too.