Psychological horror games have been good to their fans lately. In the absence of a Silent Hill to unite the genre, games like Visage and The Medium have stepped up to the plate to bring their own brand of nightmare for the horror seekers looking for reasons to sleep with the lights on. However, as those experiences have been completed, many have been looking for their next psychological horror fix. Of course, we have straight-up horror games like Phasmophobia and more action-leaning horror with Resident Evil Village, but those experiences don’t quite dig into the dark parts of our brains, and get stuck under our skin like a proper psychological horror game can. Fortunately, developer LKA and publisher Wired Productions will be releasing Martha Is Dead on February 24th, 2022, hopefully delivering the next haunting experience we’ve been waiting for. With that release date slowly creeping up on us, let’s take a look at what makes Martha Is Dead special.
Martha Is Dead is a psychological horror game that incorporates its setting, characters, and events into a single haunting narrative. The game takes place in 1944 Italy, a time when the country was dealing with World War II and all of the trauma it caused. You play as Giulia, an innocent bystander in this war despite being the daughter of a German Soldier. Her story begins when she finds the lifeless body of her twin sister and the namesake for the game: Martha. Being only a young child, this great tragedy sticks with Giulia, and the ensuing game is about her dealing with that horrible feeling of loss, and the search for the truth surrounding Martha’s murder.
Much of the promotional material for Martha Is Dead has involved small plays that convey the story of The Lady, a pale specter who appears to be mysteriously connected to the murder of Giulia’s sister. These plays are presented in the somewhat disturbing format of a marionette theater, which juxtaposes the horrifying events being shown to you by being something that was conceivably aimed at children. In the game, these marionette theater sequences will reveal more of the game’s story, and Giulia’s own past to the player. Another great concept in Martha Is Dead is the focus on authentic 1940s photography. LKA has gone above and beyond by including what might be the most detailed simulation of era-specific photo reproduction with a fully working in-game darkroom! This is where you will process pictures that you will take around the estate as well as the highly detailed Italian countryside, which can be explored by foot, on a bicycle, or even a boat, if you’re willing to risk an encounter with The Lady…
LKA’s penchant for frighteningly realistic, well researched, era-specific stories seems to have carried over to the development of Martha Is Dead, and the end product will hopefully be a psychological horror game that will continue to stay with us long after we have finished it, in the back of our mind, the part that makes us check the closet before going to sleep. Only time will tell, but thankfully we won’t have to wait much longer.
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