Martha may be dead, but is this game dead-on arrival?
Martha is Dead is a dark first-person psychological thriller, set in 1944 Italy, that blurs the lines between reality, superstition and the tragedy of war.
The game begins with you as Guilia, a girl who finds her twin dead in a lake, but everyone comes to the assumption that the dead girl is in fact Guilia, not Martha. Guilia has to keep up the charade while trying to figure out who killed her sister in this tale full of twists and turns that have made this one game I will never forget.
There’s been a lot of discussion about Martha is Dead leading up to its launch, especially since the PS4/PS5 versions censored certain aspects that were fully playable in their PC and Xbox counterparts, its something I didn’t see coming, but having played the PS5 version I can say that I don’t think that the censoring is a huge deal and there’s still a lot of dark moments that even give you the option to auto-skip before the game begins or to tap a button to skip during the scenes.
You could describe the game as a walking simulator, but there’s much more to it than that. Guilia can use a camera to take photos and even develop them in a dark room, also gaining new camera accessories throughout the story. There are even optional areas to take photos for specific trophies and there’s a lot of detail in getting the right tool for the shot, as well as developing it in the dark room.
You will also get the ability to make phone calls later to nab certain info and even trigger a side-quest where you get to also use a morse code machine. Guilia can get around either walking/sprinting or by bike, but I found it a bit clunky to control so I kept to sprinting. I did come across a few bugs during my initial playthrough like the game freezing at random moments and while it still does, it now doesn’t as much plus other bugs like certain collectibles being missing are now fixed too.
The game’s dark moments that have been mentioned in the media are naturally just as dark as you can imagine. I honestly don’t think I will ever forget some of the more gruesome aspects, which is clearly what the team at LKA were aiming for. While there’s not really any jump scares to speak of, it’s the true horror that you face in the game that will stick with you far longer than any jump scare.
Visually, the game looks amazing with an incredibly detailed area for Guilia to explore. Character models are also highly detailed, as are some of the game’s horrific moments. Voice-acting is done in a multitude of languages, set in Italian by default but I stuck to the English VO and was also highly impressed with this. The soundtrack is also incredible, full of haunting vibes and the darker moments of the game have a specific tune to them that adds to the disturbing nature of what is going on in the moment.
Martha is Dead isn’t a typical scary game, but it adds in moments that chilled me to my core. LKA have created an experience like no other and its definitely not one I will ever forget. I honestly can’t wait to see what they do next after this…