At the end of February, Martha is Dead was released, the expected horror from the LKA studio. The developers promised cool visuals, a dark atmosphere, and unprecedented cruelty, which Sony censored. But is the game really remarkable? I went through a horror movie and I’m ready to share my impressions!
What is Martha is Dead?
Walking simulators are a specific genre because the emphasis in it is not on the gameplay. If in games like the hit Vampire Survivor developers can focus on dynamics and forget about everything else, then the authors of walking simulators rely on the plot and atmosphere.
It is curious that some craftsmen manage to create such remarkable projects that they impress even people who are far from gaming. What is the amazing What Remains of Edith Finch worth! Throughout the game, the heroine simply wanders around the house, considers different things, and participates in mini-games, but the heartbreaking story compensates for the simple gameplay.
But in recent years, so many walking simulators have come out that it’s not so easy to stand out – just a cool storyline may not be enough. The developers of Martha is Dead decided to surprise gamers with a pretty picture and a high degree of cruelty. At the same time, there was so much gore and madness that Sony censored the console version.
No wonder Martha is Dead has been talked about a lot. Is the game really that cruel? Well, impressionable gamers should really skip LKA’s creation. But brave souls with a strong psyche, who are not afraid of anything and crave new experiences, can enjoy the game. However, even they have to face serious shortcomings.
The plot of Martha is Dead:
Italy, Tuscany, World War II. Julia and Martha, twin sisters, lived in one wealthy family. While they may look similar on the outside, they are very different in spirit. For example, the mother thought Julia was strange and spent more time with Martha. For a child, this is a blow, but the girl held on and did not lose optimism. Alas, one day a nightmare happened that changed everything.
Julia loved to take pictures and once for a couple of good shots she went to the lake. But instead of peace and quiet, she found the lifeless body of Martha.
Parents came running to the screams and somehow did not recognize the children. In turn, Julia went to a cruel deception. She assumed Martha’s identity, took over her habits like reading the newspaper in the morning, and continued on with her life as if nothing had happened.
The problem is that the heroine was not mentally stable anyway, and after the death of her sister, she begins to go completely crazy. The personalities of Julia and Martha begin to mix, in her dreams, the girl is haunted by nightmares, and in reality, she sees an even more terrible horror. Plus, the mother adds fuel to the fire, declaring that Julia’s death is a relief.
What is real in the everyday life of the heroine, and what is a figment of the imagination? What nightmare actually happened to the deceased Martha? Who is to blame for everything? The gamer will have to deal with surrealism and answer many unpleasant questions.
In general, the plot turned out to be interesting. In places it seems crumpled, the “unexpected” turn is guessed long before the denouement, and some mysteries remain unresolved. However, with the help of a surreal presentation, the authors skillfully cover up the script jambs.
The story is so creepy and mysterious that by the end it leaves an aftertaste in the manner of David Lynch films. Far from everything is clear, but very interesting – because of this, the plot wants to be analyzed and discussed.
Also, Martha is Dead can be compared with the painting “mom!” (mother!) Darren Aronofsky: not in the sense that the story is biblical – just on the screen at first glance, incomprehensible hell is going on, however, if you delve into the narrative, you can be surprised at the abundance of meanings.
However, gamers who prefer simple and clear stories without mysteries and surreal hints are unlikely to appreciate the LKA approach.
Gameplay in Martha is Dead:
Gameplay Martha is Dead is a typical walking simulator. Julia aka Martha wanders around the house and surrounding areas, picking up the right items, reading notes, and doing other activities.
At the same time, the tasks are elementary. Find the key to the door where the mother is hiding something important. Read the newspaper to play the role of Martha convincingly. Get to the lake and pick up three cameras from there. All quests are solved either by searching the premises or by walking.
The only exceptions are activities related to the camera – the heroine will often have to click on various frames. Sometimes you need to capture something according to the plot: for example, the body of a deceased sister. She will also find many optional places and objects that you can take a picture of if you wish.
Here on a log lies a military helmet. Who left her? What story does this item tell? Capture the moment and maybe one day the answer will be found.
By the way, you can’t just take a good photo. You need to take the right position, set the lighting, adjust the focus, pick up a tripod, attach a flash if necessary. You should not forget about lenses either: some are better suited for shooting indoors, others are better for outdoors.
However, if you follow the plot, you won’t have to juggle lenses. But for the sake of additional frames, you need to be puzzled.
And still, photos to be shown. If it’s fun to take pictures until the very end, then fiddling with the film is not so fun – the process turned out to be monotonous and monotonous. But after an hour of gameplay, Martha can accumulate a dozen photos that require attention.
The rest of the time the heroine has to wander from place to place. However, the authors still try to entertain the gamer. Then on the way, there will be a partisan who does not mind killing the father of the heroine, who supports fascism – Marta will have to choose which side to take. Or something creepy and mystical may appear in the bushes, and then at the most inopportune moment scare with a screamer.
Although more often the authors strain not with sudden attacks of creatures, but with an oppressive atmosphere. Julia lives in difficult times: war, a dictator in power, partisans fighting for their homeland – it’s hard for a young girl to cope with this, and all kinds of devilry appear before her eyes.
As a result, there are simply no safe places for the heroine. She can calmly walk around the yard on a sunny day, and then blink, and everything will go to hell. The concept does not frighten, but creates a constant tension – and after all, over time, horrors will begin to appear more and more often.
At the same time, there are no battles and hide and seek from monsters in Martha is Dead. However, this does not mean that gamers have nothing to fear.
Ultraviolence in Martha is Dead:
Did Sony have any reason to censor the LKA creation? Difficult question, but you can understand the Japanese corporation. Few games have what happens in Martha is Dead.
There are things that scare every gamer. Recall at least a tense episode from Dead Space 2: according to the plot, the player had to take a long needle and drive it into Isaac’s eye. This is not difficult to do, but the very idea that the hero goes through something like this was terrifying.
Martha is Dead also presses on primitive instincts and awakens animal disgust. Already at the very beginning, Martha will have to pick up a blade, cut off the face from the corpse, roughly pull off the skin and try it on herself. The experience at this moment is, to put it mildly, terrible.
Other nightmares are also available. Maggots gnaw human flesh, bloodied corpses, dismemberment – at the same time, this is presented terribly realistic and disgusting.
Impressive gamers should definitely bypass Martha is Dead. However, connoisseurs of body horror, players seeking to tickle the nerves, and people with specific interests will be pleased.
Graphics, system requirements and sound:
The developers relied not only on cruelty but also on cool graphics. Well, Martha is Dead looks really good. The textures are clear, the lighting is impressive even without RTX, the locations are atmospheric at any time of the day – in general, LKA should be praised for the visual. It is a pity that the same cannot be said about the technical condition of the novelty.
There is no optimization in Martha is Dead. While the heroine wanders around the premises, everything is in order, but as soon as she goes outside, the nightmare begins. I tested the game on a PC with a GTX 1070 graphics card, 16 GB of RAM, and an Intel i7-7700 processor – on this configuration, the FPS on the street dropped to three. Think about it, three frames per second!
It is curious that if you drop the settings to the minimum, the visual turn into an unintelligible mess, but the FPS only rises to six frames. At night the situation is better, but during the day you can walk down the street only with your eyes down. Then the engine stops processing surrounding objects and gives out adequate FPS.
In the meantime, official systems say that the game will run on a configuration with a GTX 670, 8 GB of RAM, and an Intel Core i5 processor. Hard to believe.
But with the sound everything is fine. Intense moments, the level of nastiness of the sound matches what is happening on the screen, and works well for the atmosphere. In quiet times, on the contrary, pleasant meditative tracks sound. The actors also sound great in Italian.
Martha is Dead looks beautiful but is essentially a disgusting game. The trick is that this epithet will not carry a negative connotation for everyone: someone will definitely like such an abomination. Although it is better for an ordinary gamer to bypass the novelty.