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Shutter Up

  • Frogge
  • 02/15/2019 02:56 PM
  • 335 views

Deadly Shutter (REMASTERED) by jai2016
Length: ~1 hour


The Fatal Frame series has always been one I've been really interested in getting into. Sadly, with how the games are not really available on many consoles, I've not been able to get my hands on them. While I hope that the games might eventually get a Nintendo Switch port, I stopped to give Deadly Shutter a go, a game highly inspired by the Fatal Frame series. The main idea here is the mechanic of having a camera based combat system where you have to shoot pictures of ghosts to deal damage to them. Sadly, the game does not do a particularly great job of handling that concept. I should've seen the red herrings when the game started in fullscreen mode, eww, but I decided to give it a fair chance, ultimately leading to disappointment. Now, I believe Deadly Shutter might actually be one of this developer's first games, if not their first game. As such, I'm willing to accept this game's many flaws. Most of us make horrible games when starting out, and this one's not particularly bad for a first game, but the developer obviously has a long way to come. This is not something you are to blame for, buddy, literally all of us make bad games when first starting out, and you'll improve over time, but it's essential to take your mistakes to heart so you can. And oh boy, there's a lot to point out here.

The weirdest thing you might notice is that while Deadly Shutter is about cameras, you know, it's in the name and everything, you don't get the camera until the final 15 minutes of the game. You only end up using it for two battles before the credits roll. And while that's an extremely weird thing to do, I can give it a pass because I'd much rather not do the camera combat in the first place. You see, the camera system in this game is extremely wonky. Even after having finished the game I can't explain to you how it works. I got through both battles by complete dumb luck by taking pictures randomly and hoping for the best. I assumed the idea was that you have to move the camera until the ghost shows up and you can snap a picture, but the ghosts are actually invisible and nowhere to be found. Occasionally, they will approach you, but they do so so fast that most of the time you won't even have the time to actually snap a picture. I found that the best strategy was just to hold the camera in place and hope for the best when the ghost begins to approach suddenly and really quickly. Moving the camera feels like a huge pain because it's just so heavy for some stupid reason. When it hits the edges of the map, strangely enough, it actually snaps to them and takes a few extra frames to move in another direction, which makes it really annoying to go near the edges of the screen knowing your camera might just stick to the walls for a minute.

And considering that most of the game doesn't actually utilize its titular camera mechanic, I would at least hope that the rest of the gameplay can sort of make up for it, but that's not the case here. I was already annoyed with the gameplay the moment you got to move around due to how slow your characters are. You can run, but it won't do you any good because their running speed is basically like the default rpg maker walking speed. The game's pacing in general is seriously bizarre. Not only do you only get the camera in the last 15 minutes, you actually cannot save in the first 20 minutes. Luckily I couldn't find any ways to die in that time span, but it's still really dumb because it's not like the intro is 20 minutes or anything, it's just that a save point doesn't show up. It's even dumber because those lanterns that are in the entrance actually end up becoming the save point later on, but the ones in the entrance never do anything the entire game. For the most part, it's a linear game where you have to read notes and get keys, but the game likes to throw in occasional chase scenes and puzzles at you. The first chase scene is fine, it's actually very easy, you just have to go down the ladder. The second one near the end though... it's dumb. You're never told where to go so you just kind of have to run blindly. My first time I actually tried leaving the house, and then got caught and the game softlocked. I didn't die, I just got stuck and had to reset. Then I just let the thing catch me intentionally, and it actually didn't seem to do anything until I interacted with it myself. It really doesn't help that you don't get a save before the chase because there's a cutscene you have to rewatch if you die. As for the puzzle, it's not particularly good either. You have to push a few statues onto these green rug things that are on the floor, but you're never told which statue goes on which carpet, and if you get them wrong, you actually have to reset the puzzle, so it basically boils down to trial and error.


You have a face graphic now?


But even if you look past the trial and error, the larger issue I had with the puzzle was that you're never told what to actually do. I ended up pushing the statues but had no idea where they were supposed to go because the game never really mentions that you're supposed to push them on those green rugs. You can even push some of the statues up the wall at certain spots, interestingly. The game's actually filled with those. Passability errors, I mean. There's a huge lack of polish in Deadly Shutter in general. I came across multiple bugs and managed to stand on a lot of objects that should have been impassable. Interestingly, though, the opposite is also true here. A lot of objects that feel like I should have been able to walk over them, I actually can't. Sometimes the passabilities even actually contradict each other. There's one room with two beds on each side that are both on the floor. Since they're on the floor, I expected to be able to walk over them. The weird part is that you can, but only the one on the right for some reason. The one on the left is impassable. I also find it really annoying how the text never actually reaches the end of the message box. The amount of empty space left on there can really get on your nerves. There's also the fact that, for some reason, most doors in the game are two tiles wide but you can only open them from one side? This can easily lead to interacting with a door from the wrong side and assuming it doesn't actually do anything, and also becomes a general nuisance when you lose your momentum and time when you stop to check the wrong side of the door and then have to go check the other to actually use it.

But I've played games that had bad gameplay that were saved by their other aspects in the past. Guardians of Gold, for example, a recent one I've reviewed had some of the worst puzzles I've seen, but I still gave it a solid 3.5 stars because the story was really well written and the visual style was pretty unique. Deadly Shutter doesn't really have that either. The story's not too bad, by any means, but it leaves a lot to be desired. It's largely influenced by The Grudge, which the credits even point out, but I think it doesn't have a great understanding of what made that movie's story good in the first place. It's not the stuff about the house's backstory or whatever, the interesting part of it is that it tells a story through several timelines, and what makes it spooky is that there is absolutely no way to escape the curse, and the ghost will follow you anywhere. Deadly Shutter is your average haunted house story. I don't think it's bad to have something like that, but there's really nothing to make it stand out among the countless others that use the same concept and usually do it better. I'm happy to give plain, average stories a pass when they're not the game's main selling point, but the story is the only thing I could've recommended this game to someone over since the other aspects of it aren't any good, but the story is just so plain that I would recommend other games over it anyway. I mean, it's not even just a plain average story, it has a few striking issues too.

The first thing I'd point out that the game does very poorly is following the basic philosophy of show, don't tell. The game likes to tell you every time the characters perform an action through the text, such as the littlest things like winking. The game even occasionally likes to tell you their current mood, like if they're scared, and as you can figure out, it goes against show don't tell by telling me how the characters feel rather than letting me make it out from their speech myself. It's really hard to care for the characters at all when they're both so flat and one dimensional.

Also, why does Kujiro's corpse lowkey just shatter into dust after you read his note? Is it the ghost... of his corpse? What? How does it make any sense?????



The only thing making me squeal here is how weirdly aligned those trees are.


Even if you're in for the scares, expect to be disappointed. Deadly Shutter fails hard at setting a good atmosphere and relies way too much on cheap jumpscares. The characters have a lot of lighthearted exchanges, which isn't always too bad, but it needs to be handled with extreme care because that can easily ruin horror if not done right. The cutscenes themselves are very plain and rarely feature any sort of movement, mostly just characters standing in place and talking. The awkward zooms during a few sections are just really ugly and unnecessary, and sometimes even downright cheesy. It feels more funny to watch the camera suddenly go all up in the characters' faces when a rat jumps out at them then scary, not that the cheap jumpscare did the scares any justice.

And the game also has this really strong fog effect the entire time. I feel like it's meant to look atmospheric, but it's so fucking thick that it's near impossible to see two feet ahead of you half the time. Hell, even right around you the fog still covers way too much, so you can't even see your character that well. Besides, why is there fog indoors anyway? I personally suggest that the fog get toned down, and not slightly. I suggest it gets toned down to the point where it's at like 10-20% opacity at most. Sometimes less is really more.

That being said, it's not exactly as if the rest of the game's visuals are up to par. Some maps aren't too bad, but there's still tons of mapping errors all over the place. The trees outside in particular look ridiculously ugly with how closely stacked they are to each other and how irregular the shape looks. Like in the intro where the trees just sort of fade out into the sky. I suppose the idea is that they're meant to be on a cliff, but you'd still be able to see the edges of a cliff, I doubt the trees would cover the entire thing all the way, and even if they did, I feel like it would be more visually pleasing to actually look at the edges of the cliff. Carpets are another big issue, they all bend themselves around rooms in really annoying and unrealistic ways. When using carpets, it's best to only stick to rectangle and square shapes and not have the carpet bend around corners. Even the font is ugly because it has all these white spots around it, making it look like one of those poorly photoshopped images that have those white spots around the original image was on a white background. The second camera section has all these weird cut-offs and singular patches of dirt, like the developer parallaxed it but got too lazy to actually make any proper paths with the autotile so they just copy pastes the autotile over and over. Deadly Shutter is anything but a pleasing game to look at. It's not nearly as ugly as a lot of people's first games are, but it's got a lot need for visual touch-ups.


I'd point out the perspective issue with the wall being 1 tile high both on the 1 tile raised platform and the area below, but I wouldn't blame you for not even being able to see it.


I find it hard to recommend Deadly Shutter to anyone. The story's the only thing here that's not done badly, and even then it's just really average and you've probably seen the exact same thing a hundred times before. The scares are cheap, the gameplay is filled to the brim with poor design choices, and even the visuals are not fun to look at. I suppose sound design isn't horrible, but it's not a game with such an amazing soundtrack that it saves the entire experience. All in all, Deadly Shutter is far from being a good game, but I think it provides a decent enough starting point for its developer. I'm sure they will improve as they move through their future works, and I wish them the best of luck with it. I give Deadly Shutter a total of one and a half cameras out of five.




Oh, yes, I suppose that is the only logical explanation.

Posts

Pages: 1
pianotm
The TM is for Turtle Motivator
20902
Oh, jeez! I forget to mention the terrible walk speed in my review!

Also, you can save. There's a save point right by the front door after you come in. I didn't notice it until I was being chased by the baby ghost because how the hell would you know it's a save point at the beginning of the game???
Frogge
"nothing can beat the power of gay"?
10535
author=pianotm
Oh, jeez! I forget to mention the terrible walk speed in my review!

Also, you can save. There's a save point right by the front door after you come in. I didn't notice it until I was being chased by the baby ghost because how the hell would you know it's a save point at the beginning of the game???


That's weird as hell, because I'm sure I checked the entrance multiple times and there was no save point. Either that or I am completely blind.
Haha, ty for the review, I've not really put much effort into making this, it was my first horror RPM game, took me only like a month or so, but at least for future references, your review helps me in what I should and should not do.
Thx again, really appreciate it. :)
Frogge
"nothing can beat the power of gay"?
10535
author=jai2016
Haha, ty for the review, I've not really put much effort into making this, it was my first horror RPM game, took me only like a month or so, but at least for future references, your review helps me in what I should and should not do.
Thx again, really appreciate it. :)


No problem, man! You absolutely have the potential, so please don't take anything I've said too harshly. I'm excited to see what you end up making in the future!
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