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The Park is a nice little jaunt into madness designed to remind former players of The Secret World what they are missing, and also give current players more lore and gear to add to their ever expanding experience in a place where nightmares are the norm. If you have nothing to do with TSW that’s okay, The Park is still a creepy cool ride.

Features:
– Explore Atlantic Island Park and step onto rides such as the Ferris Wheel, the Bumper Cars and the Rollercoaster; just beware, some of them have a life of their own
– Enter the mind of Lorraine, a woman facing every parent’s worst nightmare, and unravel her story as well as the dark and tragic history of the park
– Call out for Callum to respond, and interact with the environment around you while examining clues and listening to Lorraine’s own inner voice as the game progresses
– State of the art graphics and audio deliver a uniquely atmospheric setting rich in mood and mystery, developed by a team of award-winning AAA developers

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Hands On:
The Park works as a stand alone game where you follow your narrator Lorraine down a path of madness or nightmare, or both. Exactly what happened is left up to some personal interpretation but it all falls nicely into the madness of The Secret World mythos in which the events of the game have been rumor among the townsfolk of Kingsmouth for some time. There are easter eggs to The Secret World and Stephen King’s writings which often nodded to in the SW universe so if you are familiar with either it is fun, if you are into both even more so.

It is a story played in the first person with a narrative that seems at times to have choices but is in reality very linear. In the very opening moments of the game you and your son are leaving Atlantic Island Park and your son Callum goes running back in and you follow. Only the moment you go through the turnstiles the world shifts and don’t expect it to shift back anytime soon. You search for Callum and find sometimes important but usually just interesting TSW lore by shouting for him which results in a wavering in the air that points you the direction to go. If a player only cared about completing the game they could ignore the pages of information and just charge through the game and be done in probably about an hour, said player would also have missed out on the whole importance of the game and it’s very purpose which is to expand on the Secret World lore. If you aren’t a SW player it entices you to become one through showing you the nightmarish world it creates and giving a costume and some talismans for the core game as well as a week of free premium play. The costume isn’t a boring one like some side games might give you either, it is downright awesomely creepy, It think even horror film worthy.

I played and reviewed The Secret World whey it first came out and I loved it even though it had a few buggy issues. It was a solid MMORPG. Since then it only got better and tells it’s stories as if the player is playing through issued of a comic book series even going as far as to break it up into individually titled Issues which are then on sale to play. There is a mix of mini-transactions and subscription play much like Star Trek Online even having a lifetime membership available to bypass the subscription and some mini-transactions just like STO. If someone is still looking for a Christmas gift for me the lifetimes subscription…

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But I digress. If you want to soak in the atmosphere of the game and get all the lore you can it will probably run you closer to three hours, which when combined with the in-game gear it becomes a very reasonably priceed addition to anyone’s TSW experience. Wear headphones, turn off all the lights. Play in an empty house if you can and this game might just give you a creepfest. If the player is prone to being jumpy at startle scares in movies or creepy moments then this game will keep you on the edge of your seat. If you are a bit jaded and desensitized like yours truly then you will still appreciate how well crafted the mood is set and maintained and I will admit to jumping at one point just as strongly as the professional level haunt attractions I attended during October. One spot I was in a dark dead end hall, there is a dead body at my feet, the screen image is flickering and shifting which you come to learn quickly is not a good sign. The music is at a tension building level and I know from my experience with horror games and haunts that when I turn around there will be something there. But the game has worked to build up a subtle tension so when I turn and see what is there the music crescendos the screen does a slight flicker and something creepy is standing there in state-of-the-art graphics and I jumped high in my chair. As far as I am concerned getting me to jump at all is worth the game’s price.

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My two minor issues were that one of the repeating creeps in the game just didn’t strike me as very creepy because it was a little too cartoonish. I think the quality of the graphics and the great design of the secondary creep might have added to this and for some people it might be just fine. I think I would have just preferred maybe a hyper realism to that character since it was definitely in the game’s abilities. The other issue was that the game had load screens which can really pull the player out of the tension. For some it is a moment to catch their breath and is probably for the best but I just found it distracting. Both are minor issues that plenty of players would probably disagree with.

I would also like to make a point, and there is a warning on the game to this effect, that the subject matter gets dark, maybe too dark for some players with certain traumas or sensitivity to deep, dark themes.

Last Jump:
The Park is a terrific little game that works beautifully as a stand alone game but is practically a must for anyone who has played The Secret World. It is loaded with lore, mind games and creepy atmosphere that would have Scooby Doo saying “Rew you, I’m raying in the ran.” There is a mystery to solve that is left to the mind of the player, the darker your thoughts the darker the ending. Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself trying to put some time aside to dive into The Secret World after…

[easyreview title=”The Park Review Score” cat1title=”Overall Score (out of 5)” cat1detail=”” cat1rating=”5″ ]

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Ripper71

Dustin "Ripper71" Thomas has been a staff writer with GamingShogun.com for over 10 years and has taken on the role of Editor with a brief stint as Editor-In-Chief. He is also a co-founder of @IsItOctoberYet where he covers haunt nightmares, amusement park fun and Golden Knights hockey.