Start Date: May 9, 2016
End Date: May 9, 2016
If Firewatch represents the “walking simulator” genre at its best, then The Park… um, doesn’t.
In this one, you play a mother who sneaks into an amusement park after closing one night to search for her missing son. Turns out it’s a spooooooooky haunted amusement park, though.
Every horror game cliché is in full effect here. Startling noises, creepy messages scrawled onto walls, disturbing bastardizations of childhood iconography, expository diary entries lying around everywhere. You get the idea.
Most of the gameplay consists of wandering around the park, checking out the scenery, finding clues, and calling your son’s name. Callum! Callum! CAAALLLLUMMM! Yeah, his name is Callum. It’s a stupid name. Calling him is actually controlled by a button-push, so I have no one to blame for myself, but there are a lot of times when it’s pretty much the only thing to do. CALLLLLUMMM!!!!
As the story progresses, you eventually find out – spoiler alert – that all the scary stuff is just a manifestation of your character’s guilt, Silent Hill 2 style. Oh yeah, spoilers for Silent Hill 2 also, I guess.
This all culminates in a really long and stupid P.T. rip-off sequence where you find yourself looping through a series of rooms over and over again, with things getting creeeeeeeepier every time. It goes on well past the point where you’re bored to fucking tears, and then the stupid game ends.
Having said all that, I still kinda enjoyed The Park in spite of its own suckiness. Why? Well, because it takes place at a spooky amusement park! The park itself is beautifully portrayed, the perfect representation of a smaller, independent theme park. It’s pretty fun to walk around this place, and on top of that, all the rides are actually rideable! You can go on the ferris wheel, the bumper cars, the roller coaster, etc. My favorite was the Hansel and Gretel-themed dark ride.
If you’re a sucker for theme park stuff, like I am, then maybe The Park is worth playing? Probably not, though. As much as I enjoyed the setting, I think I would have liked it even better if the game took place during the day, when the park was open. And if there was no dumb story. And no scary stuff. I just want to go to an amusement park, I guess.