Death Mark - PlayStation 4 Review

DM-Box-Art-Death-Mark-capture-300x374 Death Mark - PlayStation 4 Review

A Mark You won’t soon forget

Game Info:

  • System: PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS Vita
  • Publisher: Aksys Games, Experience Inc.
  • Developer: Experience Inc.
  • Release Date: Oct 31, 2018
  • Price:$49.99
  • Rating: M for Mature
  • Genre: Visual Novel, Adventure, Horror
  • Players: 1

Who it Caters to

DM-Box-Art-Death-Mark-capture-300x374 Death Mark - PlayStation 4 Review
Halloween 2018 is soon approaching and now is the best time to binge scary movies and play creepy horror games. Visual novel fans though might be interested in hearing about Death Mark from developer Experience Inc and publishers Aksys Games as this horror visual novel is unlike many others in its genre. Those who seek traditional Japanese and Western horror stories might revel in what Death Mark brings in terms of its storytelling and visual novel aesthetics. Care to learn what you should expect from Death Mark as well as want to see what we here at Honey’s Anime thought about our experience with this creepy—and very spooky—horror visual novel? Continue reading down below to see if Death Mark is the right game for your library this coming Halloween!

What to Expect

DM-Box-Art-Death-Mark-capture-300x374 Death Mark - PlayStation 4 Review
Death Mark is a visual novel title with some rather curious gameplay mechanics not common in games similar to it. Players will take control of an amnesiac who must do battle with ghostly beings to escape a curse put on them. Death Mark splits its gameplay into several sections that have players exploring creepy locations known as haunts with a Corpse Party: Book of Shadows motif. Players will also need to make smart decisions to avoid dead ends and from losing partners in Death Mark which can alter the game’s multiple endings. Death Mark breaks from the traditional visual novel set up and that might be what the visual novel audience needs this coming Halloween!


DM-Box-Art-Death-Mark-capture-300x374 Death Mark - PlayStation 4 Review
Death Mark places players in the shoes of a young man with amnesia who finds himself in front of a large mansion with no memories of why he’s there or how he even wandered there to begin with. The man quickly spots on his wrist a strange mark that he soon learns from the sole resident within the mansion is a symbol for his demise. Those with the Death Mark will have the memories fade and, by a specific time, death with come from them. Joined by others like him, the man must search for a way to remove this ghastly curse by defeating ghostly apparitions that seem to breed hatred and curse the living with the Death Marks. However, can a living being defeat what is already dead and gone from this plane of existence? With time marching towards a dark fate, the battle for survival begins in Death Mark.


DM-Box-Art-Death-Mark-capture-300x374 Death Mark - PlayStation 4 Review
Visual novels tend to be pretty simple games to explain to the masses. Players control a usually unseen protagonist and guide their choices along massive dialogue trees that alter their character’s tale. What ultimately happens is then the ending changes based on the choices you made during the game and that’s about all there is too most visual novels. Death Mark by developer Experience Inc. and well renowned publishers Aksys Games might seem like a visual novel with horror themes at first glance, but that would quite wrong. Death Mark is far from your usual visual novel and we want to explain how it works for this truly creepy horror title. Join us as we review Death Mark for the PS4!

Death Mark—originally known as Shin in Japan—throws players into the role of a man who has lost a lot of his memories and finds himself in front of a strange mansion with a mark emblazoned on his arm. It doesn’t take long for players to realize that this mark isn’t a nice tattoo but actually stands as a curse that will slowly make the player lose their memories and eventually die in some horrific manner. The player has until dawn—or the game’s version of dawn—to rid the curse of a ghost, to remove the mark, and stay alive. While that seems simple enough, Death Mark throws players into a visual novel experience that is reminiscent of Corpse Party’s second English release—Corpse Party: Book of Shadows—but also is something else entirely. In many ways, Death Mark is a truly unique visual novel and its why we loved our experience with it.

The core gameplay of Death Mark can be broken down into 3 parts: exploration, dialogue and battle—we’ll explain the battle part last—all of which cultivate in a horror visual novel unlike many others. The exploration part has players exploring creepy locals that change with each chapter—some of which are genuinely spooky—that are filled with clues and items needed for the player to progress and survive the later battle segment. During these exploration sections usually, you’ll look around rooms and have occasional jump scares appear on screen when you shine your flashlight on random spots or areas. The few jump scares that are in Death Mark are very well-timed making for some nice atmospheric moments filled with tension, worry, fear and dread. Exploration doesn’t change much over the course of the game, but at least due to the constant area location changes, you rarely feel like you’re in the same dark hallway or school like other horror games tend to do.

Dialogue is where Death Mark does some rather curious things with gameplay, Players will interact with a multitude of characters all of which are unique and quite different from one another. During some moments, Death Mark will give you a few choices that rarely change the game more than just what the character will say and how they will respond accordingly. However, Death Mark has dialogue sections called Live or Die where the game plays a bit with you and your memory—which is a big factor of the game after all—by making you quickly choose between several actions. You can’t take all day though as the Live or Die sections have a timer indicated by Spirit Points which decreases as you try to decide what course of action will keep you alive. If you do it right, you’ll find you lose no Spirit Points—other than the time it took you to decide—and be considered safe. Do it wrong, however, and you’ll lose Spirit Points as well as face a possible dead end. Surviving these sections will be based on your critical thinking skills and memory as often Death Mark will tell you in advance how to deal with a situation but won’t just point it out so you can easily answer.

Lastly, the Battle section is where Death Mark tries to be almost like a RPG. Near the end of every chapter players will run into that chapter’s ghostly enemy. Based on exploration, dialogue and various other clues battles will tend to come down to using the right combo of items in the right order. Battles also change the course of the game’s multiple endings as if you don’t adhere to the right battle options you’ll most likely win against the spirit but in return they will kill whoever you decided to partner up with in your revolving team of mark bearers. We recommend saving prior to each battle section so this way if you do fail and lose a person you liked, you can just restart and see if you can figure out what went wrong. Remember to pay heed to the chapter’s multitude of notes and hints about the ghost you’re dealing with to find a solution to surviving the battle at the end.

Wrapping up our gameplay section, we also wish to talk about the graphics and music of Death Mark. In terms of graphics, we loved the creepy still CGIs and setting locales as they really feel Japanese horror-like. The characters also have a nice amount of variety but sometimes can look a bit silly but it’s a minor gripe. The music and sound design of Death Mark hit all the right…marks…with wonderful tunes that keep the haunt locations feeling spooky and often will make you feel like a slight noise or motions might be not in the game but in your own home/apartment. We did notice the lack of voice acting for Death Mark with only minor voice lines being delivered, but it’s a visual novel so we can live without it.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

DM-Box-Art-Death-Mark-capture-300x374 Death Mark - PlayStation 4 Review
At the end of the day, Death Mark quite literally did a fantastic job of delivering a spooky horror visual novel just in time for Halloween. There are only a few issues we had with Death Mark like the lack of voice acting or the lack of punishment if you do die—we didn’t mention it, but if you die during any sequence, you can just restart from that moment or a last save—which makes Death Mark a bit too easy but we did love the dialogue, characters and gameplay overall. Death Mark is a wonderful horror visual novel that combines a multitude of horror stories all into one spooky package making for an impressive game all around. We whole heartily recommend Death Mark if you love visual novels that aren’t just text based and are willing to keep you on the edge of your seat with some truly creepy tones.

Honey's Pros:

  • Wonderful spooky art design and impressive haunt locations
  • RPG battles work quite well and infuse some replayability in Death Mark
  • Characters and stories are very interesting with a mixture of Japanese and Western horror themes
  • Exploring gives you some nice visual novel breaks from dialogue moments
  • Solid sound design that makes Death Mark truly creepy

Honey's Cons:

  • Dying doesn’t punish the player much
  • Needed some more voice acting

Honey's Final Verdict:

DM-Box-Art-Death-Mark-capture-300x374 Death Mark - PlayStation 4 Review
Death Mark is a riveting horror visual novel that excites and scares from the moment you begin playing. What we loved was that Death Mark doesn’t rely on just common visual novel formats and provides players a multitude of breaks in terms of exploration gameplay and even a RPG-like system that can alter the course of the story and its characters. Halloween fast approaches and while many are going to be trick or treating this 31st, we here at Honey’s Anime will be playing Death Mark just to see all that it offers! Are you thinking of picking up Death Mark? Comment below to sound off and let us know your thoughts on this horror title! For more spooky game reviews and articles be sure to return to our not-so-spooky hive here at Honey’s Anime!

DM-Box-Art-Death-Mark-capture-300x374 Death Mark - PlayStation 4 Review


Author: Aaron

Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!

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