The Park Is Two Hours Of Jump Scares And Sadness

The Park opens with a boat ride. The player travels a set path and is told a story they have probably heard before, interrupted by the odd jump scare. It's excellent foreshadowing.

I whimper quite a lot during my first 15 minutes or so with Funcom's bite-sized horror adventure, but that's because I am scared of just about everything in The Park. Dilapitated park rides, the possibility of clowns, frightning chipmunk suits — that's some horror right there.

Then there's the idea of losing a child, as protagonist Lorraine does in the opening of the game. As a father that real possibility is the most terrifying aspect of The Park.

Unfortunately Funcom takes all of the ingredients of a classic horror adventure, mixes them together, puts them in the oven and then wanders off to focus on cheap jump scares. Instead of fresh fear we've got overdone twists that even a genre coward can smell coming a mile away.

The Park Is Two Hours Of Jump Scares And Sadness

Yeah, yeah, creepy skinny guy. Moving on.

The main problem is that aside from documents scattered across the park offering background info, the story of The Park unfolds through Lorraine's internal monologue. Due to the nature of the narrative and brevity of the game, key plot points are given away early on — some five minutes after the video above ends. Sympathy with the main character is lost, and after that who cares what happens? Oh, scary chipmunk again? Great. Now where did Funcom leave those end credits?

The Park, released today on Steam, is based off of the amusement park level of Funcom's paranormal MMO The Secret World. The massively multiplayer experience is much more frightening. That's kind of sad.


Comments

    I found the stream voiceover from Mike actually quite silly/annoying here, to the point I stopped playing it as it was a jarring contrast to the subject matter. I also disagree that there should be a need to empathise with the main character.

    That aside, I actually found The Park a great experience overall. I agree that there were some cheap scares and that there were no *massive* surprises in the plot but it was executed very well. The atmosphere was great, the visuals were stunning and considering this actually started out as a technical experiment rather than a product, I think they've delivered an amazing treat in time for Halloween. (http://massivelyop.com/2015/10/21/chaos-theory-sneaking-into-the-park-with-joel-bylos/)

    There's a disclaimer at the beginning of the game that most people will ignore but it really is a mature themed offering with a slower build rather than a campy scare game. Some players may find it confronting but if you're up for an interactive, story driven experience then don't overlook The Park.

    At the cost of less than the price of entry for a movie at the theatre, this brief yet poignant story of a parent losing her child is a great 'experiment' for Funcom. I hope they bring out more of these in episodic fashion as it also complimented and tied in to the lore in The Secret World very nicely.

      It's hardly poignant, it's a bunch of clichés with an ending that you can see coming from a mile away. I would say it had a good amount of tension in the opening parts of the game if the main character didn't constantly switch between being alarmed and worried to reminiscent and calm; it's jarring and removes you from the experience. The best description I've seen of this game is that it's a Goosebumps story with mature subject matter.
      It's pretty but so was Dear Ester, the only real difference between the two is that The Park has a sprint button, they're both games where all you do is walk around (granted there are things to click on and amusement rides in the The Park, at least) and listen to a bunch of pretentious poetry until you get to the end. If you want to be scared, a unique story, or gameplay that requires more than walking and mild clicking, this game isn't for you.

      Thank you for a realistic, empathetic and considered perspective. So much more relatable than a professional writer generalising everything to the point of irrelevance.

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