When I first took a step into Atlantic Island Park in 1977 I was apprehensive. I do not tend to play horror games so I literally had no idea what to expect and spent the first half hour jumping every time I heard a noise, because I am a massive wimp. After I started to understand the dynamics of the character that you play, Lorraine, I became sucked into the story, which you learn about as you search the dark corners of the park for notes and clues. Lorraine has returned to The Park in search of her son, who seemingly loves the place and desperately runs back inside just before closing and you find yourself having several encounters for sinister characters along the way including a psychotic mascot.
Fundamentally, the story is one about a mother, searching for her lost son, Callum. As the story progresses you come up against various strange emotions felt by Lorraine, for the most part she is a loving, doting mother desperate to find her lost son and on the other she is damaged, broken and all kinds of crazy.
Personally I think an awful lot was crammed into a short game, and it wasn’t terrible. The story is both heart wrenching and disturbing and being a fan of more story based game I connected with this part the most. There was no doubt a lot of thought that went into it, as its approach to different states of mind and issues with mental health were a clear outline in the story. It was done so in a way that you understand and related to, leading you to have a huge amount of sympathy for the seemly disturbed protagonist.
I don’t want to write about the whole story itself, as the game is the story. Other then walking around searching, occasionally using a torch and riding creepy fairground rides there isn’t actually much game play at all. Although the atmospherics of the game are amazing, again this is coming from someone that can’t even play zombie games, but to me it was pretty terrifying. With only a small handful of jump scares in there that are on purpose, I firmly believe by the end of the game I was only scared of my own shadow. In all honestly others more then likely found the scares darkly amusing and also a little cheesy.
The Park is Funcom’s latest release and their first release onto console since Dreamfall in 2006, The Park had already been released on Steam last Halloween and became hugely popular amongst PC gamers so bringing it to the console made a lot of sense. It comes as a slight spin off from The Secret World which is a huge online multiplayer game and that just shows how versatile game developers can now be. I have no doubt that this short experimental game will now have an impact on something bigger and better to come.
Haven’t seen the trailer yet? Enter The Park here