After having played some pretty decent games recently, including the likes of Firewatch, Gone Home and the not quite as decent The vanishing of Ethan Carter, I have fallen in love with walking simulator games or ‘Walkie Talkies’ as I like to call them. After doing some research and finding a whole crap-load of these to play, I decided next up I would try a game called The Park.
The Park is pegged as a first-person psychological horror adventure game or a ‘scary Walkie Talkie’. That’s what I called it before I played it. In actuality the game is a jumpscare-attempting, mostly boring, press X to Jason, predictable tale. It threatened my new found love for these games.
You take the role of Lorraine, who within the opening minutes loses her son in a closed amusement park. The guy at the gate lets you go in to look for him as day turns to dusk. While entering the park Lorraine rides a long escalator up to the attractions and shit starts to go a bit crazy. It was at that point I knew exactly what the storyline was going to be and how it was going to end.
It makes me a little sad when the plot is easily predicted and it made me not want to play the game. “C’mon Wayne!” I said, “Give it a go anyway.” So I did. The world is linear rather than open world, which I think is better for a Walkie Talkie. You go from one attraction to the next searching for your son, constantly shouting out to the missing little bastard. I haven’t seen that mechanic since Heavy Rain, and thankfully that was just for one small part in that game. In The Park this is required to find all the note scraps and newspaper article that present the story. Well, you could probably not bother shouting out as most of these are easy to find anyway.
As for the attractions, they are meant to be there for story development and Lorraine’s monologues. Mostly it’s not too bad and only takes a minute or two, except for the ‘Story Tunnel’ which is a long, boring retelling of Hansel and Gretel. I even stopped paying attention to the screen and missed a few of the attempted scares, which were just some loud noises. There weren’t particularly any scares in the game that weren’t expected and without the threat of failure or death I had no fear running headfirst into any area.
Aside from a few cool moments, the first three quarters of the game are quite ho-hum. Once you leave the theme park things get pretty good. Without spoiling the predictable story too much, you end up going through the same five or six rooms several times, each time with some changes that reveal the true nature of what’s been going on. I wish the whole game was this.
IS@VG UNCONVENTIONAL REVIEWS
DID I SUCK AT IT: Well, I didn’t suck…
SHOULD YOU PLAY IT: I wouldn’t, but I ain’t yo’ daddy tellin’ you what to do.
HIGHLIGHT: The last quarter of the game.
LOWLIGHT: A predictable storyline, that probably isn’t as good as it thinks it is, with a poor attempt at scares.