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Calling Review(Wii)

Calling Review (Nintendo Wii)

MSRP: $19.99

1-Player

If there’s one thing I love about the Nintendo Wii, its the abundance of horror titles available for it. From Ju-on: The Grudge, to Resident Evil 4, there’s no shortage of scary games to play on the system.

Calling is a bit like Ju-on, in that it is a psychological/supernatural thriller that casts the player as multiple characters throughout the game’s story. The game plays a bit faster than Ju-on as the characters are able to run and perform quick turns; as well, the game’s overall pacing is much more fluid.

Calling casts the player as four key characters that are trapped in some kind of otherworld called the “Mnemonic Abyss.” A world that a person enters through a cursed website that alledgedly allows people to contact the dead. The protagonists must find out exactly why they’re trapped and how they can escape before vengeful ghosts claim their souls.

Most of the environments are shrouded in darkness and the player must make use of the flashlight (using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk) to look around and traverse the haunted locations. The game also makes use of the Wii Remote’s speakers as it acts as the player’s cell phone. The player has to perform the same motion as if he or she is putting the phone to their ear to listen to whatever is on the other side of the line. Later on in the game, the players can call other cell phones in order to teleport to a new location. It’s a very cool gimmick that adds to the fear of cellphones that Japanese horror filmmakers established through J-horror films such as One Missed Call and others.

The game is at it’s best when it’s building tension throughout its levels. While some of the ghostly payoffs aren’t as interesting or scary, the travel to get there is a hair-raising, tension-filled ride. As mentioned, the ghosts, while creepy can get annoying during confrontations. Instead of having genuinely scary spectres like the ones in Fatal Frame, the ones in Calling are hit or miss. Combat consists pretty much of waggle motions to shake the ghosts off the player then running away. Rinse and repeat.

Technical Presentation

Audio – Calling’s audio presentation is a mixed bag. The English voiceover is laughably bad, however, players have the option to turn on the original Japanese v/o which is miles better. Sound effects and ambient noises all work together in immersing the player in the terrifying Mnemonic Abyss.  The use of the Wii Remote’s speakers as a cell phone is pure genious and it would be great to see it used in more games in the future.

Video – Graphically, Calling looks pretty good for Wii standards. There’s enough detail in the environments to make the game look relatively believable. The game’s graphical highlight is the flashlight which effectively illuminates places where the player is looking.  Environments are pretty creepy too, places like deserted hospitals, schools, and Japanese houses bring a sense of dread to players who dare to step in.

Final Thoughts

Anyone who’s played Ju-on and is looking for similar games need to look no further than Calling. The game is genuinely creepy, and keeps the player in suspended tension the entire adventure. The game has a distinctly Japanese horror feel to it from the cliches, the ghosts, environments, and situations, yet all of these factors come together to create a new and interesting way to play horror games on the Nintendo Wii.

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About janhutchings

Canadian Game Industry Blogger / Contributor for @Sonyrumors & @ShogunGamer / Communications and PR Professional. Voice of Canadian and Indie Gaming. http://jtmgames.com/

Posted on May 3, 2011, in Game Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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