The Park opens with a boat ride. The player travels a set path and is told a story they’ve probably heard before, interrupted by the odd jump scare. It’s excellent foreshadowing.
I whimper quite a lot during my first 15 minutes or so with Funcom’s bite-sized horror adventure, but that’s because I am scared of just about everything in The Park. Dilapitated park rides, the possibility of clowns, frightning chipmunk suits—that’s some horror right there.
Then there’s the idea of losing a child, as protagonist Lorraine does in the opening of the game. As a father that real possibility is the most terrifying aspect of The Park.
Unfortunately Funcom takes all of the ingredients of a classic horror adventure, mixes them together, puts them in the oven and then wanders off to focus on cheap jump scares. Instead of fresh fear we’ve got overdone twists that even a genre coward can smell coming a mile away.
The main problem is that aside from documents scattered across the park offering background info, the story of The Park unfolds through Lorraine’s internal monologue. Due to the nature of the narrative and brevity of the game, key plot points are given away early on—some five minutes after the video above ends. Sympathy with the main character is lost, and after that who cares what happens? Oh, scary chipmunk again? Great. Now where did Funcom leave those end credits?
The Park, released today on Steam, is based off of the amusement park level of Funcom’s paranormal MMO The Secret World. The massively multiplayer experience is much more frightening. That’s kind of sad.