Martha is Dead is a “Dark, First-Person Psychological Thriller” that’s set in 1944 Italy. The game starts off quite promising with a grandmother telling a scary tale to her granddaughter as a bedtime story.
This story sets the tone for the rest of the game and it makes it quite clear to you that there’s something sinister afoot.
Dark, Disturbing Content
Martha is Dead holds nothing back and makes use of numerous cinematic techniques in its storytelling. The storytelling itself primarily relies on both environmental visuals and auditory cues which are truly excellent together.
However, this is definitely not a game for the faint of heart. If psychological horror scenes and disturbingly dark content affects you, you’d best avoid this game completely.
There are numerous in-game events which will unsettle you and it’s incredibly creepy as well as possibly triggering in the literal sense of the word.
The game emphasises this right at the beginning with a very prominent warning and it’s not lying about it at all. You should heed this warning if you have a sensitive disposition or are suffering from any mental health stress caused by traumatic experiences.
If you’ve played titles such as Resident Evil 7 and Resident Evil Village, you’ll be familiar with dark and disturbing content, but Martha is Dead is on a different level of terrifying. It’s not really about jump scares here.
It is pure psychological horror and relies heavily on the ambiance of the environment coupled with the internal monologue the game creates in you through its conversations, audio and visual storytelling.
There’s moral dilemmas, trauma, violence, abuse and much more content that’s possibly difficult to come to terms with here.
The game eases you into things with a short introduction sequence but ramps up in intensity over time. There are choices to be made during the story and most of the gameplay involves taking photographs, exploring and developing photos back at the dark room lab.
It could be referred to as a “walking simulator” if you want to be truly harsh to it but it’s far more than that given the interactive nature of the scenes in the semi-open gorgeous Tuscany world.
Martha is… dead?
The story itself revolves around how the titular Martha died and how Giulia, the granddaughter from the start of the tale, is drawn into the mystery of her death.
Saying anything more will spoil too much of the story and when the game itself is only around six hours long, it’s best for players to enjoy it themselves. Go into this game blind without knowing too much.
It’s just better that way.
With that said though, you do have to mentally prepare for yourself for this game. This game’s content works its way into your mind and it’s not easily forgotten. It might be better to play it in short chunks instead of long sessions in this regard.
Graphically, Martha is Dead is gorgeous with some incredibly detailed graphics. This is a double-edged sword though because on PC, the performance can be quite choppy even on a high-end gaming system.
Even now, after numerous patches, the game suffers from frame rate drops and other bugs. If you’re able to get through it though, you will see some dark, gruesome and disturbing imagery along with an incredibly detailed and creepy forest surrounding a lake.
The level of detail in the game really adds to its psychological horror factor in specific scenes and its truly remarkable what developers LKA have done here. It really feels as if you’re in a remote 1944 Italian village somewhere.
The game is voiced in Italian by default too. It does feature an English voice acting option but it’s best played with the original Italian voices and English subtitles enabled for full immersion.
The soundtrack is also noteworthy here with the music being completely on-point throughout the game.
If you pick up Martha is Dead on PlayStation 4 or 5, do take note that some of the game’s violently graphic content has been censored. If you want the true uncut version, pick it up elsewhere.
Overall, Martha is Dead is an excellent game to play if you’re into dark, psychological thrillers. The game itself plays out like an interactive, psychological horror thriller movie more than anything else and it succeeds because of this.
The worldbuilding here is fantastic and you really do get drawn into it because the setting is so rich in detail and storytelling. Martha is Dead is recommended by us but do be warned that this is not a title for everyone.
You should definitely pay attention to the warning at the start of the game.
There are scenes from the game which will stick with you and the psychological horror aspects of its story will affect some people more than others based on their real-life experiences.