A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Park is a very mature downloadable adventure game that deals with disturbing themes such as murder, kidnapping, psychoses, and more. It has many frightful scenes and themes. There's some violence and blood, with bodies and descriptive notes about injuries to people. There's also a lot of strong profanity in the dialogue. Minor references to sex occur in the backstory from the main character, and main character also takes a number of drugs, either to cure or cause psychotic episodes. Players will also notice that this game is a standalone adventure in the MMO universe of The Secret World, and playing the game can unlock additional items for that game. It also pitches the MMO subscription in the extras menu of the game as well.
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What's it about?
THE PARK is a short single-player adventure that drops you in the middle of a terrifying tale of murder, mental illness, and personal demons. As if it weren't scary enough to lose sight of your son in an amusement park, imagine the park is closed, it's night, and not only are you unraveling accounts of many deaths that took place here, you're also sensing a predator on the premises. Without giving much of the story away, you play as a mom, Lorraine, searching for her son, Callum, in this creepy and atmospheric location. From a first-person perspective, you'll sit on rides, read notes and reports, pick up items, explore the grounds, and eventually uncover who or what is responsible for the game's dark secret.
Is it any good?
This short horror story isn't like most other games, which is a good thing for those looking for something fresh and fascinating. It can be completed in a couple of hours or less, but the story -- as disturbing as it is -- and frightful locations make it a worthy $10 ride. Those who like scary games such as the Five Nights at Freddy's series will especially get something out of this creepy Windows game -- though the game relies less on jump scares and more on psychological horror. The game isn't perfect, mind you. Even if you have a powerful computer, it's full of bugs and choppy frame rates that make the action feel extremely slow. Fortunately, the story atmosphere and simple controls don't ruin the overall experience.
Without giving much away, parts of the story are also questionable, such as Lorraine having no problem riding on a Ferris wheel alone and late at night. The same could be said about notes that mention how someone close to her was mysteriously killed on one. And isn't she supposed to be looking for her son? Maybe if Lorraine said something like "maybe I'll be able to see him if I'm high up" or something to that effect. If you can forgive the game's brevity and few shortcomings in the technical and story department, mature gamers who love psychological horror will no doubt find The Park a disturbing, intriguing, and memorable adventure.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about horror. Is a video game such as this one a legitimate medium for horror games, or should they be reserved for fun, "light" content?
Discuss drug addiction. Why do you think some people succumb to addition and others don't? With all the dangers attached to drugs, why do you think people still use them?
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