Martha is Dead is Intriguing, But You Should Avoid the PS5 Version for Now

martha is dead key art

Out today on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC, Martha is Dead is a dark psychological horror game set during the Second World War.

You play Giulia, the daughter of a Nazi soldier, living in a picturesque slice of Italian countryside. Her life is thrown into turmoil, however, when she discovers her twin sister, Martha, floating in the nearby lake. And then there’s a twist: when Giulia’s parents show up to the scene and mistake Martha’s dead body for Giula, you do nothing about it. Martha is Dead, and you’ve just stolen her identity.

It’s one of the most intriguing premises we’ve encountered in a game in a very long time, asking you to keep up the façade that you are Martha while also investigating the circumstances surrounding her death. Only, it soon feels a little wasted. With your parents out of the house seemingly all day, every day, you’re free to go about your business as you normally would for the most part. And when it comes to uncovering valuable information about Martha’s untimely demise, it’s delivered in unsatisfying spits and spats between you performing largely menial tasks.

You’ll read the newspaper every morning, for example, and find a pump to blow up the wheel on your bicycle. There’s also a pretty in-depth photography system in play, with a range of filters and attachments to find for your camera. You’ll need them to progress through Martha is Dead, but the amount of work put into it seems a little over-the-top for the results you get. Chances are you’ll end up taking the bare minimum of shots you need to push the story forward.

Martha is Dead is far from being perfect, then. It feels a little scatty and disjointed, and some of the story beats just don’t have the impact you’d expect. It looks rather nice though, and has decent voice acting. Some of its scenes are pretty uncomfortable and grim, too, which should please those seeking out something that will put them on edge. But if you’re planning on playing on PS5, you’re probably best off waiting for the game to be patched before you jump in.

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You might have heard that the PS4 and PS5 versions of Martha is Dead are censored. It’s true, but at the same time you shouldn’t be concerned about it. All it seemingly changes are some shocking scenes that are interactive on other formats – here you simply watch. That’s despite there being a ‘Censor’ toggle in the game’s options menu, by the way. No, what is troublesome, is the technical state that the PS5 version of the game has launched in.

Martha is Dead isn’t the longest game in the world, and in less than a handful of hours we’ve experienced multiple crashes resulting in a loss of progress and a myriad of other technical issues. What’s perhaps most irritating is that we can no longer use photo mode properly, with the left analogue stick moving Giulia backwards no matter which direction you push it in. It really puts the brakes on you getting immersed into the game’s world, and hampers your progression.

We’ve spent some time with the PC version of Martha is Dead and that seems much better, so that’s an option if you really want to play. We’ve not got access to the Xbox versions, however, and haven’t yet had time to check out the PS4 version. There’s a chance they might all be free of the issues we’ve experienced. In any case, until a patch lands for the PS5 version Martha is Dead, which is available now on the PlayStation store, you probably won’t have a good time with it.