More Reviews
REVIEWS Astro A38 Wireless Headset Review
With the launch of the A38s, Astro has clearly shown that they can rock our eardrums off even if we aren’t sitting in our living rooms.

Destiny Review
With Bungie's leap to next-generation platforms and interstellar space closer to home, I wonder if E.T. is out there somewhere.
More Previews
PREVIEWS Skylanders Trap Team Preview
While younger gamers have flocked to the brand, more mature consumers remain reluctant to jump on board. Skylanders move forward with trappable enemies, though I doubt it’ll turn stubborn heads.
Release Dates
NEW RELEASES Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
Release date: 09/30/14

Alien: Isolation
Release date: 10/07/14

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel
Release date: 10/14/14

The Evil Within
Release date: 10/14/14


LATEST FEATURES Assassin's Creed Unity Interview: Ubisoft Talks Multplayer, Next-Gen Development, More
Ubisoft's first "truly" next-gen entry in the Assassin's Creed franchise takes the fight to France. Here's what you can expect.

PlayStation Download September 2014 - Updating Each Week
Sony's platforms always get plenty of new digital software and we'll bring you the list each week with the rest.
MOST POPULAR FEATURES The Updating List of PAX Indies
We're heading to PAX Prime! Are you looking to check out a few unique indie games while you're there? UPDATED: Dragon Fin Soup, Dungeon of the Endless,

LEADERBOARD
Read More Member Blogs
FEATURED VOXPOP shandog137
A Letter to the Big “N"
By shandog137
Posted on 09/12/14
I have and will continue to have a place in my heart for Nintendo. In fact, my first console was a Super Nintendo. The video game market has changed drastically since the early '90s and it seems like what once was platinum is more so along the lines of silver now. Nintendo has always been...

Rule of Rose Review

Mike_Reilly By:
Mike_Reilly
09/13/06
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Adventure 
PLAYERS
PUBLISHER Atlus 
DEVELOPER Punchline 
RELEASE DATE  
M Contains Blood, Intense Violence, Suggestive Themes

What do these ratings mean?

Be molested. Be very molested.

After being traumatized by zombie dogs, loons with giant scissors, and demon infested apartments, today's unflinching gamers have grown a layer of skin over their eyes tough enough to strike a match on. Developer Punchline recognized this and crafted their new adventure, Rule of Rose, to be psychologically horrifying, effectively bypassing our hardened gamer eyes, and going straight to our soft brains.

It's a great theory, and Rule of Rose does an admirable job of making you feel eerily uncomfortable. But while we gamers, as a group, can certainly relate to its many scenes of public humiliation and pervading sense of discomfort, those are generally the kinds of things we trying to escape by playing video games. After a couple hours, you’ll wish Punchline would have kept their hands to themselves.
 
click to enlargeYou experience this creepy tale in the cute, little shoes of Jennifer, an unlucky teenage girl in 1930s England. As you're riding a night bus, a faceless little boy hands you an evocative story book with many blank pages. The bus stops in the middle of a desolate country road, the boy takes off, and just like in a B horror flick, you inexplicably run after him. Further down the road you arrive at a decrepit orphanage with little kids in paper masks beating on a bloody sack. Not heeding what is clearly a bad sign, you follow the boy into the orphanage. Once in, the doors lock behind you, and you are trapped by a sinister society of children called The Aristocracy of the Red Crayon. Dun Dun DUNNNNNH.
 
Since you’re a newcomer, the aristocracy gives you a rank of “Beggar” (the least respectable echelon of creepy, undead orphan) and tasks you with finding gifts to offer The Aristocracy, lest they kill you with, presumably, a red crayon. While you search for these, random awful things will happen. You'll eventually witness some animal torture, and a slobbery little girl will crawl up your body, stick a dead rat in your face, and then apologize profusely. For the record, apology not accepted.  
 
The overall experience is neither frightening nor emotionally gripping, and the only thing that will keep you playing is a sense of curiosity about how far Rule of Rose will go to try and creep you out. There is a mystery at the center of the orphanage, and if this developed more quickly, Rule of Rose might have been an interesting ride. Instead, its personality is entirely creepy, and its gameplay is sadistically boring; not a winning combination.   
 
click to enlargeIf you can imagine the original Resident Evil without any guns or interesting puzzles, you have a pretty clear picture of Rule of Rose. To make matters worse, you’re supposed to explore this huge orphanage, but you move really slowly, and your map is completely inadequate. Expect to backtrack a lot while checking long hallways full of locked doors. When you finally find an open one, something terrible and creepy happens to you. It’s like a visit to the urologist’s, but cheaper.
 
And you aren’t nearly as good at fighting, thanks to inaccurate collision detection, slow melee combat, and easily exploitable, cheesy A.I. You also get a dog named Brown, although he’s hardly Rin Tin Tin, or even the violent canine beast in Capcom's Haunting Ground. Instead, Brown is only capable of stunning smaller enemies by barking at them and grabbing the legs of larger foes so you can whack them from behind. But if he gets hurt, prepare to get smothered by one unavoidable attack after another. Instead of a best friend, Brown is more of an incompetent henchman.
 
He does have one, extremely useful talent, though, the ability to sniff an object in your inventory and miraculously lead you to the next cut scene, giving you a much appreciated sense of direction, and in turn laying the game's complete linearity bare for all to point and laugh at. There’s only ever one thing to do, or have done to you at a time, and Brown obediently leads you to your fate.
 
click to enlargeWhich is usually at the end of a really creepy hallway, dripping with atmosphere. The dissonant symphony playing in the background as you sluggishly jiggle locks is ominous, as are the environments’ bleak color schemes, highlighted by strange crayon scribbles and little posters hung by the children. It’s definitely creepy, but not very memorable. There's even a gritty layer of static that gives the game an old, dusty look, foreshadowing its fate in your closet after the painful loading times make you eject it once and for all.
 
And eject it you will, because Rule of Rose has almost nothing going for it other than sheer creepiness, and as you are probably aware, creepiness doesn’t count for much. Gameplay and an interesting story, on the other hand, are big features, and both were carelessly pruned. Since it isn’t scary or interesting from one moment to the next, what truly qualifies Rule of Rose as "survival horror" is the actual, real-life experience of playing it. Take our advice, don’t let this one live.
D+ Revolution report card
  • Story is weird...
  • ...but not engrossing
  • Lots of atmosphere
  • But no memorable locales
  • Boring to play
  • Horrific combat

More from the Game Revolution Network




comments powered by Disqus

 


More information about Rule of Rose


More On GameRevolution