The Echo Night games are unique and hard to compare. This is the first in a lineup of three. Echo Night 2, also on the PSone, was only released in Japan. Echo Night Beyond was released on PS2s worldwide. Sadly, not a lot of people have played these games even though they are fantastic.
Story. The basic idea is to help ghosts find peace. You do this by looking for items, listening to their stories and solving puzzles. In Echo Night, you are drawn into the story of a haunted ship called the Orpheus. Something has gone terribly wrong and you must find out how your grandfather is connected to the tragedy. The ghosts you meet reveal clues about the events that happened. You also weave in and out of other times in the past, sometimes from the past lives of ghosts, which gives you a better picture of what's going on in the main story. When the spirits finally cross over, you receive Astral Pieces. You collect one for each ghost.
Controls. The world is 3-D and you can investigate the environments at will. Unfortunately, the right analog stick is unused. Instead, you use the shoulder buttons for strafing and tilting up and down (like King's Field). Also, to kneel, you have to hold the circle button for a short time. This all felt awkward at first, but you get used to it.
Graphics. I have to admit, the graphics are poor even for its time. However, there are lots of positive things about Echo Night to help you overlook this.
Mood. Your challenge is to help the troubled ghosts, even the malevolent ones. Their stories are simple to the point of being melancholy. You are practically alone in the game and when you come across the spirits, they typically do not bother you. There are only four "fights" in the game.
Music. Really, really good.
Ending(s). There are multiple endings for Echo Night, depending on if you save all of the ghosts. The ghosts in the casino are particularly hard to save since you need a bit of luck to do it. Overall, the endings are definitely worth it. The entire series is known for its strong stories and endings.
More. The Echo Night series is worth visiting for any horror game fan out there. What it lacks in graphics, it more than makes up for in other areas. If you do like to be dazzled with pretty graphics and button-mashing controls, Echo Night will probably disappoint you. But if you're more into story and mood, I think you'll love it.
This game isn't hard to find or expensive. Even though I wanted to play it for years, I only played it for the first time about two years ago and it mesmerized me. If you're not into PSone games, try Echo Night Beyond for the PS2. It is also inexpensive and has a similar feel to it.