Developed By : Funcom
Published By : Funcom
Category : Adventure, Horror
Release Date : Oct 22, 2019
Horror games are always a fun and interesting area for me as a player. I’m very picky about the ones I enjoy, and whether or not I feel they’re done right. But then the other side of that same coin is the ones that get done right, I don’t want to play because they scare the crap out of me. It’s a balance that has many factors, and a formula that can be difficult to master. Still, Funcom steps up to the plate with their terrifying experience The Park for the Nintendo Switch.
You are Lorraine, the mother of a young boy, Callum, and the two of you have just finished up a day at the local amusement park, Atlantic Island Park. As you buckle your son in the car, he complains that his teddy bear is missing, so you tell him to stay still while you go over to the information booth to ask about it. Like every child, Callum doesn’t listen and as you greet the worker at the booth, the two of you catch the briefest of glimpses as Callum goes sprinting by and into the park which has just closed for the day. Reluctantly, the worker lets you in so you can go retrieve your son and his stuffed bear.
What unfolds as you play the game is an experience that seems unable to grasp what direction it truly wants to go into. The Park does away with combat and action sequences, and instead gives a heavy focus on exploring and telling you a story. The main problem though is that the game really is trying to tell you three stories at the same time, and it has a hard time of focusing on which one is most important.
As you wander the park, chasing after Callum, you’ll be able to interact with a number of items in the world. A handful of the attractions are still up and running (despite the fact that everyone left and went home?) and can be ridden for a unique experience that advances the story. Scattered around the park though you’ll also find a number of notes and reports that will give background to the history of the park itself. Meanwhile, as you walk between the parks attractions you’ll be treated to Lorraine speaking to further the other two stories, about her current search for Callum, and her life with him up to that point.
There’s basically nothing to talk about with this game in terms of difficulty, since there isn’t any to be found at all. At best, The Park is a walking sim that tries to provide a handful of creepy moment and jump scares that are, for the most part, sub-par. Although I must admit I was caught off-guard by a few of these later in the game, even in moments when I could tell one was coming.
But, when your focus is on the story, you almost need to deliver on that, and I felt The Park was a bit of a let down in that area. Mostly because, as I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t know how to focus on which narrative it wants to deliver. The notes you find all around the park allude to some sort of supernatural force being fed via the park. Between that, Lorraine’s troubled past and even the search for Callum, when the game reached it’s final moments I wasn’t sure if anything had even been wrapped up.
It’s a short experience, with a playthrough only taking about an hour, maybe longer if you try and explore everything, but in the end it’s an experience I feel isn’t worth enduring at all. Maybe a longer gameplay would have allowed proper time to expand on all the storylines, but in the end the scariest thing about this game is the pricetag.