Developer: LKA
PublisherWired Productions
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Serise X, PC
Reviewed On: PS4 Pro
Release Date: 24/02/2022
Price£24.99/$29.99
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.

I really wanted to like Martha is Dead. Parts I did like while I ended up bored more than anything. It seems as if the developers wanted to shock and disgust you, while forgetting how to make the game fun.

Martha is Dead is set in German occupied Italy WW2. Where tensions are rising. You play as Giulia, who finds her twin sister Martha dead in the lake near her house. Giulia takes on the life of Martha in order to get the recognition and love of her abusive mother. 

In order to find the truth, Giulia reaches out to a specter from a children’s story, the White lady. Who was killed for allegedly having an affair. This leads Giulia to her own conclusions of why Martha is dead and she tries to bring the culprit to justice.

martha-is-dead-game

The story has some real highlights and twists and turns that would have been amazing if only the game play was not so slow.

Slow Paced

Martha is dead is a walking Simulator with narrative focus on gameplay. You will spend your time meandering about at a snail’s pace, around Giulia’s house and woodlands. Now I know we humans don’t walk too fast, but this pace makes the gameplay is so dull. Oh, you can run, but it’s more like a fast walk.

So as we take our time and taking in the sights of woodlands and a beautiful house that has Martha’s corpse in it (standard practice). You will need to figure out why Martha was drowned and stick to Martha’s routine. As the family believe Giulia is dead. 

As you explore the region, you will collect more information on what has happened to Martha, while dealing with Giulia’s own guilt, melancholy thoughts, and deteriorating mental health. The gameplay is really just about walking about investigating everything you can interact with, take pictures and find out the truth about Martha.

This leads in to the more disturbing aspects of Martha is Dead. As well as the censorship on Playstation.

Well That’s Fucked Up

I will start with I do not mind what so ever that games will add more disturbing elements to the narratives, as long as they serve a purpose. In Martha is Dead, these senses add an insight into Giulia’s mental state and her how she has been affected by war and other things.

I do not believe these sections should have been censored, even more so when you can turn it off. There are some graphic body horror used that I am sure will upset some people. The one that hits home the most is the removal of Martha’s face with a dog tag, then putting it on her own face. This shows Giulia’s interpretation of what has happened and assuming Martha’s identity. While using a dog tag to cut it off, as there is a war going on and her father is a high ranked SS officer . 

These senses seem to be in there for shock value more that anything else. Yes, they add to the overall feel of the game, but some are a little fucked up. And I strangely liked it. 

Photo’s

Giulia is an avid photographer, and she has her own 1940 Rolleicord camera, with 120mm film. It is a beauty. Photo taking is integral to the story. It not only allows players to take photos, when they like, but some plot photos add to the story and give Giulia more information about what happened to her sister.

When taking a photo, you will need to get the camera set up in order to get the perfect picture. This includes brightness, saturation, framing, distance, the best lense to use and more. This process is simple to get to grips with, but makes the player feel more involved.

Once back home, that might take what feels like a lifetime. It’s time to develop the film. This process has been heavily simplified, but the tutorial tells the player the full process. 

To develop the photos, you must line it up and expose the photo paper, then dip it until the timer hits the green mark. It is very simple. This, however, has its own problem; with needing to do this every time you develop a picture. For a while I really enjoyed this process but after a while it again got boring. But taking photos is by far the most enjoyable part.

Overall, Martha is Dead, tries too hard to shock you, while leaving the rest of the game lacking in someway. The story was interesting when more of it was revealed, but the pace you have to procced is maddening. I wanted to like the game far more than I did, but I just couldn’t.

Martha is Dead tackles some issues with the use of body horror and shock value, but that’s the biggest draw. The rest of the game was just slow. I would hold off for a sale if you really want to experience the game.

6-10
ABOVE AVERAGE

For more reviews, check out Chorus and Farming Simulator 22