This review contains some strong language.
The Park has always interested me and I have to admit that I’m not the best when it comes to horror or psychological game. Outlast scared the bejesus out of me, Layers of Fear had me scared to walk around the house. It’s all down to how the brain interprets the game and makes you feel.
The Park was meant to be along those lines, having me scared to walk around the park in fear of what was going to happen. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case and the main reason for this was due to the shortness of the game and the lack of re-playability. Everything in the game can be done first time round, all Trophies can be earned in one play through and for all that it only takes just over an hour, 2 hours max if your really pushing it. I managed to get the whole game done, missing out 2 Trophies in around 45 mins.
I’m sorry, but for me that doesn’t represent value for money. I know the game is only £10/$15, but for that I would expect more than 45 to 90 mins of play or the ability to go back around the park again and make different decisions and have a different outcome to the ending. This was another thing that I was disappointed with but I will get onto that later in the review.
Graphically the game was fine, the unreal engine that has been used for it packs a punch, and this can be seen in the game. While the majority of the game looked good, there were elements that I found that did take a while to load in, and until this had happened and I got closer to the area did look rather strange, but was fine when it finally loaded in.
These type of game also rely heavily on the musical and sound aspect of the game to create the atmosphere and get the player in the mindset for what’s to come. The Park does this very well, especially as you are going through the house of horrors and you get stuck in what seems like a time loop replaying the one bit over and over again.
I did enjoy riding on all the different rides within The Park, such as the Ferris Wheel, Rollercoaster, Swan Ride and seeing the dodgems. It was also interesting reading the incident reports and seeing what had happened on each ride with a Dodgems Car going out of control and smashing through the barriers, a Ferris Wheel car flying off and rolling down the hill. I enjoyed those little flash backs.
The Park has some brilliant music as you’re walking around, however sometimes this is drowned out by the talking of the character you are playing, in what I found to be nonsensical ramblings that didn’t seem to have anything to do with the story and her just talking about how much of a bad mother she was… The beginning to the game confused me, you’re at the ticket office asking about a lost teddy bear and your kid runs into the park…. You go after him, but before walking through the gates at the beginning of the park the guy in the ticket office says “I’ll just unlock the gates for you”…. How the hell did my kid get into the park if the gates were locked?? Doesn’t make sense. Also when your character starts talking while walking around and it stops you from running, that was highly annoying. Couldn’t she run and talk at the same time?
There are points within the game where it can be quite intense, some of the rides provide a couple of mindfucks, such as a swan ride telling the story of Hansel and Gretel and there’s a freaky chad squirrel statue with red eyes half the way around… Weird. As well as the psychological aspect of it all there were some hard hitting themes attached to the game such as drug abuse and self harming which was also a bit out of context in terms of the game.
I have to admit that there were times when my heart rate went up a bit, mainly in the house of horrors, but for something that was meant to be a psychological mindfuck, with the length of the game it wasn’t nearly enough time to get the player truly screwed over as other games have done to me, it felt like a mere tickle at times and others a bit more full on instead of a throughout experience.
Another element of the games narrative I didn’t get was the freaky guy with the long arms, I didn’t quite understand his purpose? Why he was there, and what beef he had with the main character?
Around the park there are notes and reports to read that tell help with the narrative and give more depth to the story, however I found these far too small to read, which is probably why I was left a little confused over things. The police and incident reports were fine, but the notes were poorly designed in my opinion.
Overall, The Park is a good game, there are a few rooms for improvement, and if it was longer with a more understanding narrative I think it would be a very good game and give players the Amusement Park thriller that they deserve.
It gets a 6 from Joon.