Review of The Park (PC/Steam, PS4, Xbox One)

Do you want to go to an amusement park with a haunted murder squirrel? Obviously. Take a ride on a roller coaster with your inner demons? Sign me up. How about going on a drug trip before heading into the house of horrors? Sure, why not?

The Park…this game was whacked. It was scary for sure, but not in a laugh-it-off-with-your-friends sort of way. More like a I-now-need-extensive-therapy way. Released in 2015 and developed by Funcom, it is available on PC/Steam, PlayStation 4, and the Xbox One.

I really hate to give games a bad review, especially indie games. I know the creator and developer put in a lot of hard work to make the game, and they really did do a fantastic job, but…The Park was confusing, sad, and just flat out terrible.

The controls are simple, and although you are allowed to explore, you are also guided to play the game in a linear way. More of a playable story than an actual game, The Park introduces you to a mother and her young son. The son left his teddy bear at his favorite amusement park, which the pair frequents.

They return to find the bear, but the park is closed. Before the mother can do anything, the son runs inside, and the owner unlocks the gate so she can retrieve him. You, as the mother, are tasked with following the boy to get him back.

However, upon entering the park, you find it vacant, overgrown, and in rough shape. It’s as if time has jumped forward. For the life of me, I still can’t figure out why this happened.

You follow your son’s voice throughout the park, where you (for some reason) get onto several rides. He has already gotten on these rides, so you follow him to get him, which makes no sense at all. Shouldn’t you just wait for him to exit the ride? Why get on and give him time to run away again?

It goes on and on like this, with a twisted Hansel and Gretel theme running throughout the story. You learn a lot about the park, the mother, and the son, but nothing makes any sense. For example: the mother blames her son for everything wrong in her life. She believes that he owes her for it, and that he needs to pay her back someday.

Another example: the father of the son worked on the ferris wheel at the park. He died in an accident (on the ferris wheel) before his son was born. However, this park is the son’s favorite place, and they visit a lot. Also strange is that the mother comments that she has never been on one of the rides, but there are only about five rides total. If they frequent the place, why has she never been on it? Especially if her husband used to work there?

To sum it up, there is a lot going on in The Park, and none of it is explained very well. I honestly had no idea what was going on, and when I got to the end of the game I was confused and depressed, and left with a bad feeling. It just didn’t feel good–at all.

I won’t spoil anything for those that still want to play, but I honestly cannot recommend The Park. Although the music, sound effects, and graphics are amazing, you should really skip it. If you do end up playing it, I can’t imagine you would play it more than once anyway. So is it even worth it? Not in my opinion.

So what about you? Will you still play The Park? Have you already played it? What did you think of it? And what other depressing games have you played that you regret picking up?

Copyright 2018 Ammon Hansen

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