The Park

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The Park on Steam

MSRP: $12.99

Platforms: Windows, XBox One, PS4

Release: 10/27/15


Just this once, I’m going to frontload my conclusions here so I don’t mislead anyone into thinking they should buy this game.  Because really, there’s no good reason to buy this game.  You’re unlikely to get anything out of it that you couldn’t get out of a good Let’s Play.  The entire game is about an hour long. It’s heavily narrative based, so there’s pretty much zero replay value, and there is no gameplay to speak of.  And I’m annoyed just writing that, because what’s here is good, especially if you’ve played The Secret World, but when all is said and done, it feels like something that should have been some kind of free promotional material for Funcom’s MMO, and not a stand-alone $13 game.

Now that I have that out of the way: I enjoyed the hour I spend with The Park, although I won’t lie, I’m a little miffed that I missed two achievements. The creep factor was fantastic, and it was a great touch that if you really wanted to get all the story bits, you had to actually ride the rides. What I can’t say for sure is how much of my affection for this game was a direct result of loving the associated area when I was playing The Secret World.

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The game is played from the perspective of Lorraine, a single mother looking for her missing son in an after-hours amusement park. It won’t take long for you to realize that things here aren’t quite right, especially since your main form of interaction with the world is looking at scraps of paper as you wander around the deserted park.  The secondary means of interaction – using the right mouse button to call out to your son – doesn’t add a whole lot to the experience, especially if you do it often enough that your character starts recycling dialogue.

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Playing the game at the recommended contrast means that things are very very dark indeed, which not only makes for really terrible screenshots, but makes the interactable items stand out so much as to take away from the atmosphere.  I’m not sure what a better solution would have been here, but every time I found something I could click on, it took me right out of the game.  Between that, a sequence at the end that drags on far far longer than necessary, and the incredibly short length, it’s hard to appreciate The Park as a stand alone title.

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As a promotional tool, it’s pretty fantastic, but it’s just not that great as a game.  Buy it only if you feel a desperate need for the in-game swag for The Secret World that you can unlock from the extras menu.  It is currently available as part of the Demon Bundle on Bundle Stars, and is worth the tier upgrade if you were going for the tier 2 anyway. Otherwise, turn off all the lights, grab some popcorn, and watch the Let’s Play embedded above.

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