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Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse Review – Capturing Ghosts and Lost Memories

Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse is a brand new game in the series that has received its first official English localization. As the Fatal Frame series slowly gets a resurgence with the launch of older games for modern platforms, Koei Tecmo deemed it fit to bring Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse, which was a cult entry in the series previously playable in Japanese only. It was also exclusive to the Nintendo Wii for more than a decade, but this recent remaster effort has made it easier to play the game.

The Fatal Frame series is deeply rooted in Japanese history and culture, and its games are vastly different from what we expect from traditional survival horror games. Mask of the Lunar Eclipse is set on the fictional Rougetsu Island, and the story centers on a group of girls who were once held captive on this island and saved by a detective. They still have memories of being here and becoming part of a mysterious ritual that involved a mask, thus the subtitle of the game. In typical Fatal Frame fashion, it is full of ghosts to hunt using the popular Camera Obscura.

I have always enjoyed the Fatal Frame games and appreciated what they tried to accomplish. Camera Obscura is a gameplay tool itself that allows the user to hunt down ghosts. These ghosts appear as a warning on the screen, and it is up to us to get rid of them using Camera Obscura. This is made immediately clear in the opening chapter of Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse, which features one of the survivors, Misaki Asō, and Madoka Tsukimori, who come back to the island to discover the cause of the mysterious death of their friends. However, there are multiple playable characters in the story, each offering a different point of view on the events that occur in the game. The story is divided into chapters and plays out in a non-linear fashion.

One issue that I had with the story is that it is hard to follow. The way the timeline is laid out in the game is confusing because cutscenes go back and forth with flashbacks to provide insight into what has happened, but not all of it is made immediately clear. If you pay attention to the world and lore, you might be able to better piece together the chain of events, but if you are just looking for a casual playthrough, it can be a confusing mess. Even if we manage to learn and understand everything, I didn’t find the story engaging or the ending compelling enough compared to some of the earlier Fatal Frame games.

This brings me to the gameplay itself. Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse feels rather antiquated with its controls. The camera is fixated on a third-person view but in a way that feels odd. The main character is awkwardly placed in the middle of the screen, and their walking or running animation is slow. This makes it harder to move or turn around, and since there is plenty of backtracking, it can lead to slower-paced gameplay, which is not ideal. I understand that the game was designed around the controls of the Nintendo Wii because how the flashlight plays an important role in highlighting key items around the environment, but it still doesn’t shrug off the criticism that the controls don’t feel good.

So the gameplay revolves around going around in abandoned locations, exploring their various rooms, and trying to find hints about their history and locate the survivors. There are also plenty of ghost encounters with a lot of jump scares thrown in the mix, but their repetitive nature means that we stop getting scared since they become predictable. Most of the ghosts are dealt simply with the Camera Obscura by opening it up with a button and then pointing the camera at the ghost until a meter fills up. There are also upgrades to the camera that improve its efficiency. It is a simple but effective system, but it is marred by a slightly poor control scheme. Thankfully, the PS5 supports gyro aiming, so it makes it slightly easier to keep aiming at the ghosts.

The visuals have been cleaned up; however, the game still sports a rather grainy look reminiscent of classic Japanese horror films, so the remaster might not look significantly better. More than a remastered look, the highlight here is the official English localization, as this game never saw the light of day in the West. In that sense, it is a good effort overall, except for the dated controls. The addition of a photo mode is also a nice extra to have, although it bears no weight on the overall gameplay. It can be a fun distraction, coupled with the new costumes.

Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse is a good entry in the series that has received its first official English localization after being exclusively available in Japanese for over a decade. While the visuals have been cleaned up, its grainy look may not appeal to everyone. The story can be confusing and difficult to follow due to its use of flashbacks and cutscenes, and the controls feel dated, making it hard to move and turn around. However, the use of Camera Obscura as a gameplay tool is effective and allows players to hunt down ghosts, which is a central theme in the game. The remastered version also supports gyro aiming controls on the PS5, making it slightly easier to aim at ghosts.

Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse Game Information

  • Price: $49.99
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo
  • Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
  • Platform: PS5 (Reviewed)
  • Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher


Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse's English localization has cleaned-up visuals, effective Camera Obscura gameplay, and gyro aiming support on PS5, but the grainy look, confusing story, and dated controls are drawbacks.

Total Rating

Salal Awan

Salal's main hobby is photography but he is also interested in learning the latest about Technology including Smartphones and PC Hardware. He is the co-founder of Twisted Voxel and always on the lookout for the news.

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