Recently I have seen a resurgence in coverage of ”Rule Of Rose” for the PS2 due to the recent 10 year anniversary. Everything I saw about it declared it as a ”flawed masterpiece” and ”underrated as hell” so I figured there was no better time to dust off my (incredibly rare) copy of the game and finally give it a go.
Now this article is not a critical review by any means, merely a quick playthrough of the game and my thoughts as I went. (mostly spoiler free)
I started the game confused, stuck in the middle of the road as a girl named Jennifer in a decidedly Silent Hill-Esque setting, as I begin setting off towards the orphanage in the distance. This should of set the first alarm bells as to what this game would entail, but I persisted anyway.
As I got to the orphanage, I was greeted by a group of children beating a bloody bag on the floor. I couldn’t get in through the front gates so I decided to make my way around the orphanage to the left, and after about 20 mins of roaming around (joined by the haunting echo of children’s laughter) I eventually made my way into the Orphanage.
Normal events entail and I eventually wake up and roam around a new setting a little bit more until eventually I pick up a fork. You read that right, my first weapon is a fork. I then equip this, and carry on forwards before being greeted by the creepiest looking kids I have ever seen.
This is where I understood the games first flaw, the combat is fucking awful, like, really REALLY bad. I would stab this kid with my fork when stood right in front of him and it would completely miss and he would pounce on me. In these initial stages of Rule of Rose, I thought this might just be due to the range of my weapon however as I picked up longer range weapons and began meeting groups of these enemies the problem just persisted.
This was such a shame, I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline to Rule of Rose and the way events unfolded as the lines blurred between what was real and what was simply in ”dirty Jennifer’s” imagination but the actual gameplay section of this game really let it down.
If, like me, you can see past this the next big question on your mind for a survival horror such as this would be: Is it scary? Fuck yes it’s creepy as hell. Think of the themes as a cross between Silent Hill and Lord of The Flies and you should be somewhat close to what Rule of Rose is.
As a whole package, Rule of Rose is better than the sum of its parts and I really enjoyed the game. I can definitely agree with modern media that this game is truly a flawed masterpiece.