Siren PlayStation 2

Metascore
72

Mixed or average reviews - based on 48 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 48
  2. Negative: 2 out of 48
Buy On
  1. 90
    Siren’s ghouls not only search for you with flashlights and come at you with shovels, but they also skitter along telephone wires and snipe you from rooftops. They don’t die.
  2. It's very insistence on realism is what makes it so successful as an experience. It makes you feel that you're just an ordinary person (not a videogame hero, for example) in extraordinary circumstances and with very little chance of survival.
  3. This game could have been a complete disaster but in the end it really turned out to be a gem. With saying this, many people will not like this new concept.
  4. This is one game that will kick your butt if you don’t use your brain. The best part is how it keeps you on your toes by forcing you to alter strategies to fit the situation, which is something far too many games ignore.
  5. If you’re patient and relish a good challenge, hear the call of the Siren, open your mind and prepare to be utterly terrified.
  6. The combination of brutal, mostly unwinnable combat and the level-scouring required to solve some of the puzzles might be frustrating to some.
  7. 85
    While it shares many common flaws found in the genre, Siren is the most innovative (and scary) survival-horror title we've seen in a while.
  8. I found the game too dark to really enjoy and the patience required just didn't grab my attention enough to really feel strongly about this title.
  9. Despite the average graphics you'll find this game to be quite intriguing and I'm certain you'll not be able to put it down.
  10. The sight jacking feature is one of the most ingenious inclusions, and something that now it’s here, I wonder just why it hasn’t cropped up in the gaming world somewhere before.
  11. Siren has a few basic problems that keep it from being truly exceptional, but its groundbreaking mechanics and brilliant execution of fear make it something survival horror fans won’t want to miss.
  12. GMR Magazine
    80
    From top to bottom, every aspect of the game oozes atmosphere. [June 2004, p.78]
  13. 80
    This isn't a game for the twitchy or easily distracted. But get into Siren's head and you'll find a singular horror experience that keeps its teeth in your neck from start to finish.
  14. It’s the atrocious voice-acting that provides the most enjoyment, which sounds as though everybody was put through English elocution lessons firstly or had a role in 'Just William'.
  15. 80
    Perhaps what sets Siren apart from such a large number cheap "Biohazard" clones and the kings of the genre, is how the general real-time gameplay is equally terrifying, if not more so, than any of the subtle scripted moments. For all of "Silent Hill’s" positive attributes, the atmosphere is largely all bark and no bite... For Siren, the player is always in danger, and the game will never let you forget this. [JPN Import]
  16. Cheat Code Central
    80
    The characters are well designed and the animation is smooth. The creatures can really put a chill down your spine. A terrible oversight is the voiceovers which are poorly done.
  17. Walks a very fine line between addictive gameplay and pure frustration.
  18. 80
    The trial-and-error nature of gameplay and the repeating loops of the plot require certain degrees of patience and repetition that not everyone will want to pony up. In our opinion, however, the game's well worth the effort.
  19. Weekly Famitsu
    80
    9 / 7 / 8 / 8 - 32 gold [Vol 778]
  20. Siren is most definitely a worthy addition to a horror junkie’s collection, but with only really one strong standout piece of gameplay, and some seriously frustrating elements, I’m considering this a small hidden gem.
  21. A mixed bag, pairing a genuinely frightening horror experience with gameplay that's somewhat hit or miss.
  22. This is a game that is somewhat eerie and evolving, but the mood is broken by the interface and even the sightjack feature, while an intriguing concept, detracts from the mood.
  23. 77
    The positive in Siren outweighs the negative, and for players willing to give the storyline and weaker gameplay elements a chance there's one hell of a ride in store for them.
  24. Resident Evil's idea of terror is to give you limited ammunition. Siren's idea is to give you practically none at all.
  25. Most of the game is trial-and-error, leading you to play the same stage multiple times until you figure things out. Get seen by a shibito? Go ahead and die, because it's likely that running and hiding isn't worth the effort.
  26. Siren is a good game with plenty of innovation, but the general "sightjack, sneak, repeat" gameplay gets stale after a short bit of time, and the lack of action makes the game hard to stay interested in.
  27. Heavy on story and atmosphere and with a massive number of missions to complete, Siren should appeal to devoted fans of the survival-horror genre. But it's simply too complex and unwieldy to be appreciated by less hardcore players.
  28. Play Magazine
    75
    It takes patience and tremendous dedication to learning new ways to draw on instinct for progression. Even when it's not all clicking, Siren's a rare breed of new imagination. [May 2004, p.48]
  29. Siren is a game that tries to do too many things, while not doing many of them well.
  30. The implementation of sightjacking works well in achieving contemplative gameplay, as well as heightening suspense; on the contrary, the complexity of the game’s organization and the Scenario Link Navigator may turn some away.
  31. If you can deal with several gameplay mishaps, you’ll enjoy the game since Siren does a great job at telling its story in a new and involved way.
  32. Siren's grand ideas are to be applauded, but savouring them takes effort. If you can invest the time, and look away in all the right places - such as the genre's trademarks of outrageously bad combat and dogsbody objectives - then there's a uniquely suffocating horror experience waiting to be survived. [Mar 2004, p.99]
  33. For newcomers to the scene, getting into the designer's desired mindset will arguably prove too daunting, but veteran adventurers will admire the new ground that Siren breaks and its chilling atmosphere, and be able to forgive some of its basic flaws long enough to follow through with what is, at times, an immensely challenging and absorbing experience.
  34. games(TM)
    70
    In a game so clearly reliant on tension, ambience and atmosphere, it's almost unthinkable that somebody at one of the largest entertainment companies in the world would not choose dubbing rather than subtitling in such an Eastern title but, worse still, green-light the appalling finished dub which may well have permanently damaged our ears. [Mar 2004, p.94]
  35. Siren's dreamy, unsettling experience is ultimately marred by tedious trial-and-error-based design that makes it best suited to survival horror fans with a good store of patience.
  36. Its innovative concepts and creepy atmosphere are hampered by slow and tedious trial and error gameplay.
  37. The variety of innovating aspects are balanced by multiple flaws, making this one strictly for the horror-obsessed.
  38. It relies far too heavily on trial and error design, meaning it will likely only appeal to the 'hard core' crowd.
  39. Sadly this is another title that suffers from a lack of replay value.
  40. I really, really wanted to like Siren, but in the end, I just didn't have much fun or feel like the innovative parts of the game were used to their advantage. [May 2004, p.97]
  41. PSM Magazine
    60
    For those with a lot of patience and perseverence, Siren has its share of chilly moments. For most folks, though, the game is hellish in ways that simply aren't fun. [June 2004, p.26]
  42. Despite its unique approach though, the game is also very frustrating, and at times, feels more like work than like fun. The stealth gameplay is much too basic, and though the ability to see through the eyes of your attackers is creative (and spooky), it doesn’t help the player as well as it was intended.
  43. Difficult navigation and slow play require Zen-like patience, but riches await the persistent. You’ll revel in a bowel-loosening atmosphere, brain-twisting puzzles, and voice acting surpassed in horror only by "My Slutty Wife XIX."
  44. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    60
    The story is so fragmented, the missions so pointless, and the action so sparse that there's no drive to progress. [June 2004, p.90]
  45. Siren is an experiment gone awry -- a confusing fog-sacked combination of stealth and survival-horror that'll drive you batty with frustration before it can creep you out.
  46. Forbidden Siren’s greatest strength is that it hints at depth, even giving brief unnerving glimpses, but it still fails to express itself well enough for many of us to understand, and for the rest of us to bother.
  47. My biggest beef with Siren is that it's one and only really "key" feature, sightjacking, was played up to be a very useful tool that will be essential in your survival. What no one really bothered to mention is that sightjacking is about all the game really is (at least in the earlier portions of the game).
  48. I like Siren’s creepy presentation and honorable attempts at innovation, but the gameplay just isn’t up to par. Things are far too frustrating, slow, and boring to make you even want to finish.

Awards & Rankings

#56 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2004
#9 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2004
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 42 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 16
  2. Negative: 3 out of 16
  1. Jun 27, 2015
    10
    That is like it should be. It was better then Metal Gear Solid 2. The control have clear interaction with environment, considered many-sidedThat is like it should be. It was better then Metal Gear Solid 2. The control have clear interaction with environment, considered many-sided plot. Of itself using clairvoyance was very innovative. Full Review »
  2. Sep 21, 2014
    9
    Probably my favourite horror game. I love its difficult And complexity. Its a real challenge. Only for real japanese horror gamers lovers. ItsProbably my favourite horror game. I love its difficult And complexity. Its a real challenge. Only for real japanese horror gamers lovers. Its atmosphere is supera. Not for all publics. Only for real gamers. Full Review »
  3. Dec 26, 2013
    8
    The Forbidden Siren series has taken its rightful place as my favorite horror games of all time. They are refreshingly difficult and oftenThe Forbidden Siren series has taken its rightful place as my favorite horror games of all time. They are refreshingly difficult and often exercise your mind instead of being a no-brainer shoot-em-up. Silent Hill used to have its spot as my favorite, but because of the treatment it has been getting in recent times, it has been growing more and more stale.

    This review is on the first of the Siren series, one which I found particularly favorable, although not as good as Siren 2. Even if this is true, the game does shine in certain aspects. Once again, the Siren series can be pretty difficult, and the first of the series is no joke, and possibly the hardest in the series: There is no difficult settings whatsoever, there are a plethora of inconveniences concerning clunky maneuvering, and puzzles are very subtle.

    Beating this game 100% REQUIRES a guide. I cannot stress this enough. Cast away all shame and embarrassment in this act. No one will look down on you for this. Siren is VERY subtle with its tasks and demands patience and exploration. The game is laid out in a very unique fashion in which you are given a timeline chart and choose missions of various characters. Most if not all these missions have a "secondary" phase. It's basically the same level, but enemies are scattered differently and you have to acquire different items and/or objectives. This chart you have access to is known as the Link Navigator, and is one of the most unique functions I've ever seen in a game aside from Sightjacking.

    Sightjacking itself is very interesting and a very effective mechanic in this survival horror romp. What Sightjacking is is just that...jacking into someone's sight to gain an advantage in stealth. This function is your SAVIOR, and you will be using it very often. The game's length itself is carried out by how much you will be trying to analyze your situation and the positions of enemies. If you decide not to be stealthy and try to just rush through everything, you are in for a rude awakening. This game does not hold your hand; even the MAP does not show your relative position and can cause great confusion. Enemies are also very powerful, and can off you with just two to three consecutive hits.

    Despite all these gameplay difficulties, this is where the strength of Siren begins to show. The game is IMMENSELY rewarding in just the completion of a level. You will feel STRONGER almost, being able to make progress of any degree. Completing a mission usually gives you a "Movie" which progresses the story and reveals some shocking new discoveries. The story of the game is very complex, and each and every character is memorable, despite the subpar voice acting, which isn't so daunting the more you play. There are a lot of different things to uncover, and that is mostly what kept me going.

    Now a question that is usually asked when confronted with a horror title: "Is it scary?" Yes, Siren is scary, but not in the OOGA-BOOGA closet scare we are so unfortunately familiar with in this generation. Siren puts genuine fear in the player's heart. The many characters you play are usually fragile and sometimes weaponless. You even get to play as a little girl in a few stages, and those ones are particularly stressful. If you do get a character that is fortunate enough to have a firearm, the game is still hard, as it compensates by laying out gun-wielding foes everywhere and giving you a meager amount of ammunition.

    In closing, the Siren series is a hugely overlooked gem that I regret not having played for years now. This is the true face of survival horror, and maybe even the closest we'll ever get to something genuinely frightening and tense. If I have interested you in this series, I would highly recommend playing the rest of the games as well. It is really difficult to get your hands on Siren 2 these days considering it's a DVD-9 PAL format, but it improves on the first game in every way and is far more superior. Still, Forbidden Siren has surely left its mark in proper survival horror. Only those that are very patient, appreciate real horror, and have not been pampered constantly by more casual games will find great satisfaction in this excellent horror title.
    Full Review »