Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
Buy On
  1. I waited several days after finishing the game before writing this review, so that the initial enthusiasm would subside and I could be objective. Now I can honestly say that with Fatal Frame 2 we are presented with what is probably the scariest, most haunting and most unsettling of survival horror games!
  2. GameNow
    The game actually generates emotions: fear of the unknown, an impending sense of dread, and utter confusion due to the mind-bending plot. [Jan 2004, p.56]
  3. The story is very perplexing at times, no doubt. There’s an awful lot of backtracking and some really tough spots. But the game does everything that it wants to and everything it needs to to secure itself at the top spot of scary games chart.
  4. When it comes to scaring the crap out of players, Fatal Frame 2 can't be beat. For those looking to shoot up a ton of monsters or zombies, this may not be your cup of tea. For players looking for a terrifying tale that's swmped with ambience, look no further.
  5. Warning though, this one's not for kids (unless you don't mind them staying up all night, too scared to go to sleep).
  6. A wonderfully disturbing jaunt into the world of the supernatural. While the time spent with the game is less than perhaps many would have liked, this is an experience that will not soon be forgotten.
  7. Easily the scariest game (or movie for that matter) available on the market.
  8. Cheat Code Central
    If you were freaked by the "Blair Witch Project" you will definitely find this scary. People with a more sophisticated imagination will get the most out of this game though there are some damn good shocks as well.
  9. Without a doubt in my mind, the scariest game ever made. [Jan 2004, p.124]
  10. 90
    An extremely stylish and -- please take it the right way -- icky excursion into the supernatural that has learned from its predecessors, and from itself, how to entertain and unnerve the player.
  11. Characters are animated smoothly with uncanny lifelike emotion. Not to mention that extra attention has been given to ghosts in terms of clothing facial expressions and overall creepiness.
  12. A wonderful achievement in storytelling, an experiment in horror if you will, that no “scary movie” fan or gamer should miss.
  13. Survival horror fans will have a ball with it, and if you like that kind of "scare the you know what out of you" gaming ... you can’t get any scarier than Fatal Frame II.
  14. It may be a lot easier than the original, but in almost every other way--graphics, sound, atmosphere, storytelling, sheer style--it's a drastic improvement.
  15. The controls are much more responsive this time round with simple combat techniques such as the circle strafe now being a breeze to perform. Heck, there's even a limited combo system for players that just can't do without!
  16. 85
    Things appear and disappear out of the corner of your eye, and you're never completely sure of what you've seen. Nothing has to say, "Boo," because there's an underlying Boo-ness to the whole experience.
  17. 85
    Bigger, longer, and scarier than the original, Butterfly not only manages to do exactly what it sets out to do, it also succeeds in becoming one of the best pure adventures on the PlayStation 2 thus far.
  18. One of the most chilling games available today.
  19. Play Magazine
    How impressive it is to see a game feed off restraint and subtlety for its power. [Jan 2004, p.48]
  20. A great horror game if it stood alone, but being a sequel, the title feels too much like the original. There isn’t one significant upgrade that the game makes over the first; the enemies are the same, the environments look the same and feel the same, and quite frankly, it doesn’t sound any different either.
  21. While the game isn't terribly difficult and doesn't create an entirely new mold for itself, it still manages to weave an unsettling tale--full of secret sacrificial rites--that draws you inexorably deeper.
  22. Tecmo has effectively played it safe and delivered a game that while very good, does not offer the same enhancements to the genre that the original achieved. It's definitely worth picking up; just don't expect anything startingly original.
  23. There’s not much innovation here — the gameplay is far too linear and there is too much emphasis on key searching to trigger the next cut scene — but for atmosphere alone it is hard to beat.
  24. A masterpiece that will tickle the spines of even the most courageous survival horror fan.
  25. 80
    With a great core story and plenty of incentive to replay, Fatal Frame 2 is a horror-themed title that anyone should consider playing. If you're brave enough, consider playing with the lights off.
  26. Before you get your first set of prints back, you’ll find clues in maps and diaries—even encounter the phantasmagoric—to unravel a plot with more slimy twists than a barrel of Udon noodles.
  27. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    One thing I can guarantee: If you like to be scared, you owe it to yourself to play this game. [Feb 2004, p.102]
  28. Incredibly frightening -- so much so that it’s hard to recommend it to everyone. The game is rather short, but the goodies you can unlock on the title screen mean there’s a bit of replay value for those willing to run through the game on a harder difficulty level.
  29. If you enter All God's Village, enter with a spare pair of underwear.
  30. Still, discarding relatively minor mechanics issues, Crimson Butterfly gets along by virtue of its intensely unnerving atmosphere, crafted by delicious graphics, decent storyline and even better-than-usual voiceovers.
  31. PSM Magazine
    Proves that skillful camera work, music and sound effects can creep the hell out of us more than a gore fest. [Feb 2004, p.35]
  32. Despite the fact that Crimson Butterfly is much longer than the original, it might have been preferable to trade the extra length for a little less backtracking, as it often slows the progress of the adventure.
  33. 75
    So merely by presenting the clearest puzzle design and most interesting combat yet seen in survival horror, Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly has already staked a strong claim as one of the genre's finest moments.
  34. So genuinely terrifying, you can't help but appreciate its incredible art direction. [Feb 2004, p.114]
  35. Edge Magazine
    A victim of its own success. By creating a story and an atmosphere so far in advance of what we have come to expect from a videogame, it throws harsh light on the conventions we accept without question in lesser titles. It maps out just how far there is to go in marrying sophisticated narrative and meaningful interactivity. [Feb 2004, p.96]
  36. There are no bosses to pelt, and the puzzles and plot kinks keep you looking over your shoulder rather than shooting from the hip.
  37. 70
    There are moments of such genius that it is almost impossible not to become entirely immersed within the game’s haunted world. Yet all its terrifying beauty, with a better-judged difficulty and the problems with the second character ironed out, FF2 could have been the finest game in the horror genre.
  38. games(TM)
    Exploring the lost village is a terrifying experience that's enhanced by a greatly improved graphics engine and a well-structured soundtrack. Tecmo's latest effort may be flawed and far from innovative, but it's still an enjoyably scary experience. [Feb 2004, p.114]
  39. As for actual challenge or feeling of gaming accomplishment it doesn’t always succeed in making its mark and it falls all too readily into genre clichés that are already beginning to look stale. A finger across the lens really.
  40. 60
    Its hair-raising visual creep-outs and deft handling of foreboding folklore are undermined by a steadfast reliance on survival/horror-genre trappings and boring gameplay execution.

Awards & Rankings

#34 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2003
#16 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2003
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 128 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 5 out of 128
  1. May 26, 2014
    Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly is and improvement from the first in some ways, and weaker in others.

    Where it improves: -Well to start
    Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly is and improvement from the first in some ways, and weaker in others.

    Where it improves:
    -Well to start off, it all the Fatal Frame games, items do not res-pawn, so if you used up all your film in the first one when fighting ghosts, you were screwed. Same went for medicine, and towards the later parts of the game this started to piss me off, and rather than feel like a difficult challenge, it felt like an unfair trap. Fatal Frame 2 offers a default film that doesn't run out, but is weak. This at least gives you a fighting chance if you run out of film, and makes it so that you are still provided with a challenge

    -More interesting and difficult puzzles. The puzzles Are more difficult to solve, and actually vary unlike the first one

    -Is more scary. The ghosts are scarier. They look scarier, and creepier, and act creepier too. They can be unpredictable, and hard to see even when visible because they blend in. Where in the first game, the ghosts were blue, so easy to see, but in this one they are grey.

    -THE GAME IS LONGER!! Fatal Frame was between 4-5 hours long. This is almost 11 hours long!

    Where the game weakened:
    -Well, just as a side note, the game still has you backtrack a lot, but thankfully the game varies wile you do this. But what really hurts the game a little bit is that it's wide open, so 1/6 of the game feels like running long distances all for the sake of backtracking. This is not really a major issue, because the game keeps you entertained while doing so.

    -Some of the puzzles can be unfair. This happened twice in the game. There are two puzzles where there is a door in the wall, and it doesn't look like a door, it just looks like a wall. Unless you walk around pressing "X" on EVERYTHING in the entire room, you won't find it. I ended up searching up where these doors were.

    All pros and cons aside, Fatal Frame II is an improvement with inevitably a few problems, but it has interesting gameplay, scary moments, and creates the effects you expect from it's genre :D
    Full Review »
  2. Jan 30, 2017
    This is a beautiful horror game and most importantly it is VERY Japanese. 10 years ago this game actually motivated me to learn JapaneseThis is a beautiful horror game and most importantly it is VERY Japanese. 10 years ago this game actually motivated me to learn Japanese because I wanted to understand the plot. After I got quite fluent I watched the playthrough again and appreciated it much more because of all the puns as well as elements related to Japanese culture and history.

    I think it's very unfortunate when people do not get FF games because of cultural differences. I would say it's worth to learn Japanese for this game :)

    On the game itself, 2 is the most unique and perhaps most beautiful entry out of the 3 PS2 FF games in my opinion.
    1. It's quite easy compared with 1 and 3. (Difficulty wise it's 3>1>2) Camera also lacks charging mechanism.
    2. It's not as scary and claustrophobic. Except for a few the black and white chasing sequence...
    3. Colour palette is more vivid and warmer than the two other games.
    4. It's about sisterly love, while 1 and 3 are about loss of loved ones, sorrow and agony.
    5. Ending is legendary. You just have to play the game to watch it for yourself. I thought (and still think) that there is no place for songs with vocal in a game unless they are ballads, but "Chou" by Amano Tsukiko changed my opinion.

    There is a reason people still pick the original PS2 game over the remake including myself. Not only gameplay mechanism is better and characters look more authentic (because of the unnecessary face job, Mio and Mayu in the remake look artificial, almost like dolls), but the perfect blend of the intro of the song and ending movie created the most shocking, haunting and beautiful PS2 game experience, while the Wii ending does not evoke the same feeling.
    Full Review »
  3. BonbonA.
    Aug 7, 2005
    Have u ever been in luph with a scary stuff? o_O Well, this game is pretty charming n very scary ;) I never play the 1st Fatal Frame, but Have u ever been in luph with a scary stuff? o_O Well, this game is pretty charming n very scary ;) I never play the 1st Fatal Frame, but this 1 is amazing. The graphics r just the best. The sound n the gameplay r pretty good :) Full Review »