The Park Reviews

The Horror Network
The Horror Network
TSA Score for this game: 154
Posted on 06 September 17 at 02:08
This review has 4 positive votes and 0 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
The Park is a psychological horror game that is set in the same universe as The Secret World, the latter of which I have never played; thus I'm unsure of any correlation between the two. After playing The Park, I can say that the game can be thoroughly enjoyed without having any knowledge whatsoever of The Secret World. While the developer and publisher, Funcom, have not brought us a plethora of releases, they are known for their quality work. The Park is their first true adventure into the genre of horror, and they take the leap very well.

You play as Lorraine, a mother who has gone back to the Atlantic Island Park to retrieve her son Callum's teddy bear. As you head to the information booth to see if Mr. Bear has been spotted, Callum takes off into the park and it's up to you to chase him down. It doesn't take long for things to take a disturbing twist, as a bright sunny day turns into a dark night where shadows are cast long and the rising mist is at its thickest. Your first of many rides will be taken through the Tunnel of Tales, where you ride in a swan boat and listen to the story of Hansel and Gretel; while this part is quite calm, the game quickly escalates into a full-on escapade of psychological terror driven by both narrative and visuals.

The dark secrets that Lorraine has lurking inside of her go from bad, to awful, to nightmarish as you progress through the story. Take special care to pick up and read any notes and documentation that you may come across, as these help fill in the blanks and enhance the story. The good thing about these notes is that they're never out of the way, and you will be hard pressed to miss any; they're always laid well within the beaten path. The Park itself is extremely linear, and as such there is no way for you to get lost. Even if you somehow cannot manage to find where to go next, you are able to press B (on an Xbox controller) to "shout" for Callum, and the game will then highlight your next point of interest.

The scenery is as creepy and disturbing as the story itself, and the further that you delve into both the more ghoulish it all becomes. During the latter part of the game, there is a very obvious ode-to-Silent Hills PT that is just astronomical. If The Park had implemented this sort of progression throughout the entire game, I feel as though it could've been even better than it already is; especially given the background and history of Lorraine. On the other hand, it's great that this title has its own unique spins to it, and the addition of actually being able to get on some of the amusement park rides is the icing on the cake.

Without a doubt, The Park is one of the better horror games to come out in the last couple of years; despite its short longevity of about two hours. The price is steep for a game with such a small amount of play time, with no replayability once its finishes, but the quality of the content is high. Even though the experience comes with many relied upon jumpscares, there is enough atmosphere, ambiance, and overall chilling backstory to push passed the cheapness of them. Highly recommended, especially on sale, I would not advise paying more than $10 CAD for this title, though it is a must play at some point, for all fans of the horror genre.

Rating: 5.0/5.0 - An astonishing achievement, this game must be played.
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Titanium Dragon
Titanium Dragon
TSA Score for this game: 154
Posted on 21 November 17 at 09:24
This review has 3 positive votes and 0 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
The Park is a first person horror walking simulator made by FunCom, the makers of The Secret World. The game is about Lorraine, who returns to the titular park to search for her son, Callum, who has run off into the park in search of his teddy bear.

Well, maybe.

This is one of those games that relies rather heavily on mind screw, and at the end, it isn’t really clear what is real and what is fake, or even what actually happened. The protagonist is clearly going crazy and being messed with by The Park, but in the end, the whole thing feels slightly pointless – you walk around the park in a disguised linear loop, but while you see stuff and get to know Lorraine a little bit, ultimately I was left feeling cold. Why should I care? What greater context is there? Some bad guy built an amusement park on bad land and something bad happens as a result. All of the horrible stuff doesn’t really touch me because I’m left wondering why I should care about any of it; there’s no greater connection to the world, and Lorraine isn’t a particularly sympathetic protagonist.

As a walking simulator, the only gameplay is walking around and clicking on stuff; there’s a few dozen interactive objects within the game, including a few rides that you fade to black to get into rather than organically climbing into them for whatever reason. There’s a couple weird scenes that feel kind of inconsistent with everything else and make little sense until you get towards the end, and even then, you might not realize what it meant unless you think about it (I didn’t realize what a certain scene involving electricity meant until I was writing this review).

As there isn’t really any gameplay, and the story is confusing and kind of hollow, I’m not really left with a whole lot here. The game looks nice enough – the parking lot at the start of the game looks nice, as does the park at times (especially when first entering), and there is a nice “blood running down the walls” effect, but the game is a rather generic haunted park, and while some moments are nice visually, on the whole there’s nothing particularly memorable about the game.

As a fan of The Secret World, I did enjoy the nod towards that game in the ending, and indeed, the whole game takes place in a location in that game (or at least an analogue thereof), but, really… I just couldn’t bring myself to care about this game.

My recommendation? Avoid this.
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