Martha is Dead Review – IGN

Three words neither Batman nor Superman ever wants to hear. Sorry, but I feel the need to start this review with a joke, as things get pretty dark from here on out. Martha Is Dead is a harrowing psychological horror story that focuses on the tragic death of a young woman and the subsequent mental and emotional anguish endured by her surviving twin sister, against the backdrop of one of the most harrowing periods in human history. The Second World War. This nasty romp takes you on a journey through a small but expertly crafted slice of the Italian countryside and into horrifying nightmares that are not for the squeamish. It’s an exciting and at times terrifying five-hour journey, but it left me feeling a little more puzzled than I was excited when I reached its end.

After she discovers the body of her identical twin Martha drowned in a lake near her family’s home, Julia inadvertently assumes her sister’s identity when her grieving mother mistakes her for the wrong sibling. Knowing that Martha has always been the favorite child, Julia neglects to clear up the confusion and instead pretends to be Martha while investigating the suspicious circumstances surrounding her sister’s death. It is the sum total of the stresses of living a lie, as well as the uncovering of disturbing details surrounding the real Martha’s demise, that pull Gulia into the depths of insanity, turning her into an increasingly unreliable narrator and turning her into a thrilling ordeal as her truly disturbing dreams become indistinguishable from her own. heartbroken reality.

Fatal Frame

Unraveling the mystery surrounding Martha’s death relies heavily on visiting certain locations around the family estate, taking photographs with an antique camera or recovering lost rolls of film, and returning to the basement darkroom to develop each shot. Upgradable with additional lenses and flashes, Julia’s camera isn’t just an excuse for another in-game photo mode – it also allows the ominous atmosphere to sneak under the skin unnoticed by revealing infrared film. hidden messages, as well as demonic moans and whispers leaking from the wooded surroundings while your peripheral vision is obscured by the camera’s viewfinder.

Controlling the camera’s aperture setting and carefully following the film processing steps gives you the most hands-on freedom in Martha is Dead, since almost all other story objectives are of the strict “come here and collect it” type. The optional task that allowed me to decipher a telegraph message sent in Morse code was the only challenging exception, and I wish there were a few more puzzle-solving sections along the way to make me feel a little more involved in the investigation of things. However, while I may not have had much incentive to analyze every inch of his surroundings, I appreciated the work done to enhance his 1944 setting, such as dailies and ambient radio broadcasts detailing the horrors unfolding in Europe.

There are some actions in Martha is Dead that are obnoxious enough to cause a Mortal Kombat fighter to mess up their NetherRealms.

However, listening to news from the front lines of World War II is one of the least unsettling events in March is Dead, as many of its plot chapters are punctuated by gruesome interludes that make Heavy Rain’s infamous severed finger scene seem as startling as a bruised one finger on the leg. Some of these moments are completely passive, such as stumbling upon the recently dismembered corpse of a mine victim in the woods, while others are more interactive requiring you to manually cut the skin off a certain character’s face using the jagged edge of a necklace pendant. For example, These are a couple of relatively mild examples, and indeed, there are some actions in Martha is Dead that are nasty enough to cause a Mortal Kombat fighter to mess up their NetherRealms.

Super Puppet

As shocking as these moments are, I ultimately found them to leave less of a lasting impression than the idiosyncratic end-game puppetry sequences that take place on a mechanical stage found on Julia’s bedroom floor. By manipulating the puppets of her family members, Julia is able to relive repressed memories from her childhood, with the blow from each traumatic act softening somewhat when Julia imitates her mother and father’s playful facial expressions. In addition to being remarkably distinct in a visual sense, these miniature representations provided invaluable insight into Julia’s upbringing, which in turn better contextualized the violent visions she experiences throughout Martha’s dead story.

However, other storytelling techniques are less effective, such as sections in which you go through a series of branching paths marked with contrasting words that you have to choose between in order to complete an unknown phrase, annoyingly forcing you to restart if you guess wrong. These cumbersome workarounds aren’t the only ingredients in Martha is Dead that seems unnecessary, as is the in-game bike, which only seems to move slightly faster than Julia’s running speed, despite being noticeably more cumbersome to handle.

However, the generally ambiguous nature of Martha is Dead’s storytelling has contributed most to the fact that I felt somewhat underwhelmed by its outcome, despite the fact that I was constantly intrigued for most of its journey. As Julia’s mental state continues to deteriorate and more losses are inflicted, it becomes more and more unclear what is a dream and what is reality. Who killed Martha? What exactly is going on? Is any of this even real? I don’t really have a definitive answer to any of these questions, and while I don’t mind having art open to interpretation, it’s a little frustrating when I have to solve a mystery that ultimately seems unsolvable. I have my suspicions, of course, but it’s like identifying the killer in a game of Clues, only to triumphantly open the envelope with the case file, and nothing but confetti spills out.

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