Horror games are one of the signature genres which will never grow old. It is quite interesting to observe how newer people come to experience horror games through their first title, only to become more and more interested in the genre and continue growing their newfound passion for the creepy through plenty of games.
This is because as of recently there has been quite a focus on the actual story of these titles that, fan or not, players will still end up immersed in the universe, eager to uncover more secrets about the mysterious world they have stepped foot in. Martha is Dead, the latest title from Wired Productions, is an excellent example of the above.
Taking place in World War 2, in a small village in Italy, you are put in Giulia K’s boots, a young girl who looks to be very much into photography, setting up cameras around a lake to capture the mysteries beyond. The girl has heard stories about a supposed White Lady who haunts the nearby lake and fascinated by this local legend she tries to capture anything that can lead her to the existence, or not, of this fabled being. As is customary in this setting, something unexpected occurs and Giulia’s life will change forever.
From there onwards, the game will tinge itself into greyer and darker shades the more one progresses through the story, but bringing with it even bigger curiosity within the players. The story is definitely a strong point for Martha is Dead, with new twists and turns at every step, having your imagination run wild, crafting theory after theory and watching them slowly get proven wrong with new bits and pieces of information that Giulia picks up.
As far as gameplay is concerned, there is not much to be confused by. Moving about is with your standard WASD / Analogue-stick, and opening Giulia’s bag with the B / R1 button is all there is to it. The more complex controls come in the form of taking photos, a key mechanic to Martha is Dead.
Taking pictures and developing them in the darkroom feels as if you’re an actual pro developing photos, though the process is simplified for the sake of saving time and not overcomplicating stuff, because after all this is not a Photo Developer simulator, and the immersion in the game world would be lost when dilly-dallying for too long doing such a task.
There are still features to please photography fans, however, such as adjusting focus, aperture or even adding mods to your camera to enable shooting in different situations such as Infra-Red photos. It all adds up to create a neat touch to incorporate the world of photography into the game subtly yet well enough to make it a feature.
The game world for Martha is Dead is an incredibly immersive one, and there is lore behind every corner, waiting to be investigated. Giulia can walk around the house of her parents and explore the forest close by, and prompts are triggered in a variety of places to learn more and more about the game world and the current situation. It is in the days of the second world war, so the news will be heavily dominated by this event.
Martha is Dead overall thoughts so far
The above-mentioned features already make Martha is Dead a great game, but the title absolutely nails it when it comes to atmosphere and slowly instils an ever-growing sense of dread into the player. Reliance on jump scares is a thing of the past when you can creep players out with body dismemberment and haunting dreams like the one Giulia experiences. Everything merges together to create a single horrifying tale, experienced through the girl’s eyes as she navigates the collapsing world inside of her head and in her life as well.
The first chapters of the build have surely left a very good impression that Martha is Dead can actually go on and deliver an experience worthy of horror title of the year. The way it enshrouds everything in mystery and adds elements slowly is definitely a work of art, and if it can keep up the pacing to reach a climax where everything suddenly makes sense, then it will surely be a game to remember.