The Park is developed and published by Funcom. ‘Set in a creepy amusement park hiding a dark and sinister secret, The Park is a one to two hour long first-person psychological horror experience focusing on intense storytelling and exploration instead of combat and action.’
Let me start by saying that as a game heavily driven by its story and narrative, I will try my best to avoid any spoilers during this review, although there may be a few hints as to what is going on. As I’ve just said, The Park is a game that focuses on telling a story, and can be compared to games such as ‘Gone Home’ and others like it. The basic story of the game is that Lorraine and her son Callum have visited Atlantic Island Park, and on the way out Callum realises that he has left behind his teddy bear. Lorraine goes to ask at the information desk if it has been found. Meanwhile Callum runs back in to the park, and Lorraine sets off after him.
As you take control of Lorraine you are given on screen hints for the controls, which, as you would expect in story telling game, are pretty simple. You press the A button to interact with things such as ‘notes’ and other object that you find along the way. You also press B to call out for Callum as you play, prompting him to respond in various ways. this also doubles as a hint tool, as when you call out, items of interest will have a strange ‘pulse’ around them letting you know where they are.
As you start playing, the initial experience is about being in the park at night, and you get to jump on a few rides while Lorraine talks to herself, but not all is as it seems, and the experience slowly changes and starts to become very strange indeed. The game does contain a few jump scares throughout but it did feel like there could have been a little more down the horror route. But overall the story and the way it’s told is very well done and definitely gives you food for thought.
visually The Park is spot on, the overall look of the park at night with all the lights off to the eerie fog in the distance it captures the essence of the story perfectly. This coupled with the audio, from all the weird noises to Callum’s distant calls of “over here” and “this way”. Not forgetting the brilliant voice acting. All of which come together to really immerse you in to the experience of the story, and Funcom should be praised highly for. A solid well thought out story, that if built upon could become something pretty spectacular in the horror genre. A sequel with a bit more of a hands on experience and action wouldn’t go amiss