A Story Too Cruel... Rule Of Rose
"A story too cruel — too beautiful — to go untold..." the tagline for Atlas's Rule Of Rose, which embodies the games essence very well. Rule of Rose is everything a survival horror should be; disturbing, frightening, sometimes upsetting and still remains to be tragically beautiful. A coming of age story that isn't afraid to go where most games won't.
The game deals with some pretty heavy subjects such as murder, animal abuse, childhood trauma, discrimination, peer pressure, mental disorders, suicide and rape. Which is why it got mixed-reviews initially and caused a lot of controversy, and was even threatened to be banned in some parts of the world based on drastically misleading gossip.
So Rule Of Rose is obviously not for the weak hearted or easily offended. The game is set in the 1930's, in what seems to be an abandoned orphanage. It progresses using months of the year like chapters, from a crudely crafted children's book. It's puzzling storyline keeps the player on their toes and guessing every second. You play as 19 year old Jennifer "The Unlucky Girl" who while riding a bus, receives a storybook given to her by an odd little boy full of blank pages. The timid girl follows the child and finds her self lost and afraid.
Along the way Jennifer finds an unlikely companion a dog named Brown. A Labrador Retriever that will stop at nothing to protect and defend his dear friend and her loyal companion. As the girl advances she begins to encounter monsters that seem vaguely familiar to her and imps. Along side Brown, Jennifer perilously searches for a way out of this strange world. That is run by the cruel and sinister children, of the unforgiving Red Crayon Aristocrats Club.
Made to play on the PlayStation 2 Rule Of Rose is like an old fashioned survival horror. So it goes without saying that the controls are gonna be difficult to maneuver sometimes. Their are many weapons to choose from ranging from a small fork to a revolver, and if you have the time the game is filled with easter eggs and unlockable items. Having similar save points to that of the early Resident Evil games. Replacing typewriters with bucket knights, and herbs with a variety of food and desserts.
The game makes up for the lack of a great combat system, by telling you a story that is so worth playing for. But if not for the story, play this game just to hear the amazing soundtrack. Rule Of Rose is scored and produced by real musicians using string instruments, a majority of the time among others. Composed and arranged by Yutaka Minobe (Skies of Arcadia.) The music does its job by alluring the player, while harmoniously bonding with the games environment which is equally enticing.
I'll be honest, it's a difficult game to complete and can sometimes get a bit frustrating. Which makes completing it, all the more satisfying. Around only 15000 copies are known to exist in North America, making Rule Of Rose one of the rarest games to find for the PlayStation 2. This game is probably not for everyone, but it is certainly one of the most underrated survival horrors. So that's why I believe you should make Rule Of Rose your Next Adventure.