While I’ve done my best to keep my review spoiler-free, it’s extremely difficult to criticize that Martha’s Dead partly reflects some of the more problematic story beats. So despite my promise to minimize them, it’s unlikely this review will be completely spoiler-free. Apologize!
The scene everyone’s talking about now – the scene where a girl skillfully cuts off her twin sister’s corpse face at the start of the game – is not the scene where our Masha dies should are talking about.I don’t think this is our scene will are talking about. In fact, there are a few sequences that might spark the wrath of pearl catchers everywhere, and the scenes are so obscene for no reason that I — a card-lover for delicious dark stories, and a penchant for psychological horror — It’s hard for them to justify themselves, and for some it can be unbearable.
For the record, I played the uncensored version of Martha is Dead on Xbox Series X, so the version I experienced may be very different from yours, but know that while I’m easily intimidated, I Not easily disgusting. I read the disclaimer – this “horror drama” will be “visually disturbing and potentially uncomfortable” as it explores “the complexities of the human mind, psychological trauma and self-harm” “—and I’m sure I’ll be fine. I’m. only.
The thing is, we’re sold a horror thriller about twin sisters and a haunted lake — a pretty good premise anyway — and what we end up with is a bleak, blunt, and not-so-dark take on mental illness Extraordinarily detailed exploration – healthy, full of gratuitous body-horror violence, with few scenes with appropriate content warnings.
Not that I think all games should be shiny and sanitized; some of the best games I’ve played have had expectations reversed, leading me to dark, frustrating places. No, I don’t believe that Sony should censor the content of Masha’s death, just like I believe that anyone else has the right to decide what the story developer LKA.it wants to tell. I can even accept body fear that has no purpose other than shock, as long as it is properly warned, clearly and frankly.
Initially, though, the first half of the eight hours of gameplay (my clock says 10+ with an 83% completion rate, but I suspect the timer won’t stop when the game is paused), is indeed a horror thriller about twin sisters yet There’s a haunted lake and it’s great. With its hideous Face/Off homage, it’s really disturbing and pretty scary, and fits perfectly with the charming preview version I played last year. Exploring Giulia’s home and life — all set in WWII in Tuscany in the 1940s, in which our own father is one of the bad guys — is fascinating and filled with newspaper clippings and radio reports. However, I’m afraid everything else is fundamentally flawed.
It felt a bit like someone complained that LKA’s predecessor, City of Lights, was too much of a walking simulator — as if that’s a bad thing, but it wasn’t — so the team put a lot of game mechanics into it. Cheer up, most of them are scary and tedious. A key mechanic – taking and developing photos – is confusing at first, kinda cool on the second blush, and cumbersome for the rest of the game, though you can collect different lenses, accessories and film later on. Pointless “press LT, press RT” triggers are also shoved into long, excruciatingly long puppet sequences, like most things in Martha’s Dead, right from the start. Intriguing enough, but quickly falling out of favor.
That’s without Giulia’s painfully slow “running” speed and some very opaque puzzling issues. Even the choice of authentic Italian dubbing will leave you with a lot of fun, as the font, colour and speed of the lengthy English prose often makes it difficult to read and keep up with Martha is Dead’s dizzying plot twists.
Oh, but it’s beautiful. Like The City of Lights, Martha is Dead unabashedly pushes its Italian heritage to the forefront – just how delightful it is to explore the family’s humble home and sun-drenched setting, blissfully unaware that despite having Warm sunshine, but dark secrets hide in its shadows. The world is complex and detailed, real and alluring, and for an indie team with only ten talented souls, it’s a real victory.
But to say that imbalance is charity, and that imbalance seems to affect so many aspects of the game, from the story, to the pacing, to the horror elements, to the soundtrack, to the puzzles…well, I think that’s everything. Again, the story shines brightest in the opening act, and Giulia’s investigation of the White Lady of the Lake – apparently inspired by Italian folklore – is simply fantastic. After that, things seemed to get bogged down.
On the one hand, there are some technical issues. I’ve been forced to reload my previous save multiple times because the prompt didn’t pop up, the asset was malfunctioning, or the game unceremoniously crashed. There’s a generous auto-save – which only proves otherwise during tedious puppet sequences – but even that didn’t help when I was prevented from completing the final step of a lengthy side quest, as a glitch prevented me from getting on board.
What a shame that such a hopeful and atmospheric horror dissolves into such an indecent and incoherent mess.
It’s not even enough to promise a definitive ending, either. Yes, we like to be a little ambiguous from time to time, but in the case of Martha dying, whatever you think Martha’s fate is, she’ll have it, considering the whole premise of the game is a supernatural detective novel Especially frustrating. Worst of all, there are too many – too many! – Things don’t make sense. The plot holes are huge.
But perhaps most shockingly, Martha is the dead man’s unmistakable, unmistakable use of mental illness. I don’t know who the members of the LKA team (small, independent and unquestionably talented) are, what their personal experiences are, or what outside consultants might be hired, but I politely assume that’s not enough. In any case, it’s not enough to fight the overused “mental illness = murder” trope.
Director, writer and lead game designer Luca Dalco admits that the story is filled with the seeds of his personal emotions and feelings that can only be celebrated by opening up in such a strongly personal way.However, most of Giulia’s private journeys – and very private thoughts – feel as if someone wrote it imagine What it’s like to be a young woman. Her thoughts, phrasing, and actions are sometimes at odds with how you would expect her to behave, even from the perspective of a traumatized and potentially unreliable narrator. For example, no woman, regardless of her age or sexual experience, will wake up wearing blood-stained sheets and simply shrug and say, “Damn it! I’m not due, and more than usual. much” (and – having a personal, devastating miscarriage experience – content warnings can’t go wrong).
The game I wish I played – one about the haunting death of our twin sister and a more mysterious fairy tale – opens with spectacular style, and yes, I even included a Face/Off sequence in it. What a shame, then, that such a promising and atmospheric horror, sublime in scope and ambition, dissolved into such an indecent and incoherent mess, is likely to be remembered for all the wrong reasons.