Spain, Meridiem Games is in charge of its distribution. Martha is Dead is a game that comes with controversy under the arm, the proposed censorship by Sony in some highly sensitive parts for some users, have caused a wave of criticism against censorship in video games.
But is Martha is Dead a censored game?
Technically no, but with nuances
We have played the PlayStation 4 version and it is true that when you start the game it gives you the option to play it censored or not. We decided to play in the uncensored version, in this option the most traumatic sequences are maintained, but with a difference: the game does not make you part of that sequence. That is, you don't have to interact with what is happening, it is shown as another cinematic. You don't have to use the triggers to slit a face or open a belly, everything happens automatically
Granted, this does make the game lose some degree of immersion, but the discomfort it tries to convey is intact when watching the cutscenes.
Controversies aside, Martha is Dead offers a devilishly perverse approach in its beginnings and heartbreakingly tragic in its final stretch. Obviously, this review is spoiler-freeso plot details will be kept to a minimum.
what is the starting point?
Martha is Dead is not a horror game, we have to start from this basis in order not to create unnecessary expectations. It is a psychological thriller with supernatural elements that serve as a guide for the development of the story. It talks about mental health, identity, oppression, all set in the context of the Second World War lived through a small Italian village. Here we recommend playing it in Italian language, which is the original version and the default one. We will have a closer approach to the war conflict and a greater authenticity in the voices.
The story begins with Giulia, a young girl dealing with the drama of the disappearance of her twin sister (Martha) and whose relationship with her mother is quite tortuous. Giulia goes down to the lake and finds Martha's corpse. At this point, Giulia hangs up her sister's necklace and decides to "steal" her identity. Everyone in the family believes that it is Giulia who has died and that Martha has returned.
From this point on, the development of the story will take on supernatural overtones through the popular legend of the White Lady, the spirit of a girl killed by her beloved who walks through the woods. This is not an element of terror, it is rather the engine that will make the clues become clearer and give more light to this peculiar story to discover who killed Martha
Because Martha is Dead is above all a good story, it is an intrinsically narrative game but knows how to use its resources so that it does not become "go from one point to another and listen to the story", it has different mechanics that provide more depth. On our way we will have to make use of our camera, and it will not be to take a picture and that's it. This section is technically more professionalized and we will have to look for the perfect framing, focus and control the exposure, to take that photo that, after its development in the darkroom, will offer us more clues to continue advancing.
The story is linear, but offers some side missions to break a little with that rigidity through small puzzles with a telegraph. In this aspect we have to warn that this puzzle is not well translated and we may find it difficult to do without changing the language to English. I guess it will be something to take into account in future updates of the game
Another interesting resource you have are the tarot cards, the game is divided into chapters that correspond to different days, on each day you will have available a roll in the tarot cards that will give you clues about the story and its end. You can also learn much more through the diary and in the final stretch you will have available a puppet theater that, to be honest, is a little long, but reveals much of the plot in this story.
The game suffers from some crashes at different points in the story that force us to restart, but given that the autosave points are frequent, it has not meant a great loss in progress, but it does affect the user experience, along with problems in the textures, bugs, etc.. We hope they will solve in future patches to enjoy this story in a much more fluid way
Martha is Dead has a very successful setting of that Italian villa, the scenario is a character that will introduce you fully into the story, in his family and his relationship with his sister.its sound section does not stand out too much, although there are times when the soundtrack becomes the protagonist and accompanies the situation providing more drama.
In short, Martha is Dead is a good game, if you like twisted stories, with several plot twists and a very remarkable aesthetic section, this is your game
We have been able to make this review thanks to a digital key from Merdiem Games for PS4
The best: the story, its message about mental health and that Italian context so carefully.
The worst: technical problems, some unnecessarily lengthened chapter and that many users mistakenly believe that it is censored.