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REVIEW: The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan — Don’t Play Alone

 
Man_of_Medan
Man_of_Medan
Man_of_Medan

 
Overview
 

Published by: Bandai Namco Entertainment
 
Developed by: Supermassive Games
 
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows PlayStation 4 Xbox One
 
Genre(s): Interactive drama, survival horror
 
Mode(s): Single-player, multiplayer
 
Game Type: , , , , , ,
 
FG RATING
75%
75/ 100


User Rating
no ratings yet

 

Raves


Multiplayer of up to 5 friends. Nice lighting. Some good scares. High replayability.

Rants


Short. Forgettable. Awkward animations.


0
Posted October 5, 2019 by

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Through the ages, anthologies have been the ultimate form of Horror storytelling. Since the 1940s, Horror Anthologies served bite-sized tales that kept people hooked for the spook. From written publications and TV to radio and the silver screen, it persisted through decades across various forms of media. 

It was only a matter of time for it to creep its way to video games, and who better to lead the transition than Until Dawn’s Supermassive Games. Debuting the studio’s ‘The Dark Pictures Anthology’ series is Man of Medan. Horror anthologies have never been as interactive… and social?

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STORY & GAMEPLAY

Man of Medan stars 4 friends and the captain of a ship they rented for some harmless sea exploration. As a storm approaches, a serious of events leads them to get trapped inside a ghost ship. Their fate is in your hands. This is pretty much the premise of Man of Medan and though it is decently entertaining, it’s pretty mundane and forgettable.

If you haven’t played Until Dawn or any of the Telltale games, Man of Medan is essentially an interactive drama with strong elements of Horror. You’re presented with a story riddled with a series of choices and QTE scenarios that influence the narrative. Occasionally, you’ll be doing some light exploration to look for clues, get spooked with some scares, and all sorts of other things that let you absorb the game’s setting. Man of Medan isn’t too scary, with a few scares here and there designed to catch you off guard.

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It’s important to note that the game is relatively short, with the campaign lasting for about 4-6 hours when played solo and on a single run. But, given the various story routes, you’re looking at a few more hours if you’re interested in trying out different scenarios. New to the game is the addition of online and local co-op, which is really where Man of Medan shines.

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Horror Anthologies are fun and all but nothing beats watching spooky stuff with your friends. Man of Medan attempts and successfully captures both as now, up to 5 players can experience Man of Medan, controlling each character throughout the entire playthrough. If none of your buddies are available for game night, that’s okay coz then you can have one of your friends online to play. When playing online, there are scenes that you share with your partner but mostly, you only see your perspective while your co-op partner plays offscreen simultaneously with you. Due to this, playing online is shorter than playing the whole thing solo as you are only limited to your perspective and miss out on some scenes.

The Dark Pictures Anthology_ Man of Medan_20190906222042

VISUALS & PERFORMANCE

Man of Medan’s didn’t make a huge leap from Until Dawn in terms of visuals, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering Until Dawn looked great. The game does, however, have some very impressive lighting, surfaces reflected light realistically, even against the character models. The textures are also very crisp which makes the exploration sequences rather enjoyable.

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The facial capture is also impressive, but the stiff motion capture made some of the sequences look a bit jarring and awkward. Some transitions also felt random and inconsistent, like facial expressions switching to extremes between transitions that didn’t match the situation and so on. But all of this doesn’t take too much away from the experience. It just would have been more immersive if these issues were polished out.

Some transitions, particularly for jumpscares, are so sudden that it sometimes causes a stutter, breaking the immersion and ruining the effect it worked hard to build. This doesn’t happen to often and only experienced it on a standard PS4. There also appears to be some issues with the levels of sound. Voices were kind of faint despite being cranked to full while SFX was inconsistent in that some are too weak while others too loud. Nothing a few tweaking on the settings can fix, but, weirdly, these levels weren’t fixed right out of the box.

The Dark Pictures Anthology_ Man of Medan_20190903223703

VERDICT

Despite what Man of Medan lacked in horror, I’d still count it as a solid proof of concept for what Supermassive Games is trying to achieve — a transition of Horror Anthologies in video games. On top of that, they’ve even added multiplayer that, though simple, is a welcome addition for the genre. Perhaps they were too focused on these two objectives that they came up a bit short in providing a thrill that’s at least at par with Until Dawn. 

It is an entertaining albeit forgettable experience. But even then, the only real issue with the game is its price, considering the content is relatively short. We’d be lying if we said we weren’t curious to see what comes next in their anthology. If you can get this at a discounted price, we highly recommend the game for anyone craving more of Until Dawn’s brand of horror. Otherwise, we only recommend this for people who intend to play the story more than once. We also think down the line, Bandai Namco might release a collection for this once all the content is out, so if you’re willing to wait that long, go for it.

[This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher]


Dian Raval

 
Dian is a writer for Flipgeeks who, in his spare time, stares at a wall in his basement. If you'd like to discuss music, video games, or the infinite wisdom of concrete, follow him on twitter @iburnandfume or subscribe to his YouTube channel @iburnandfume. He's pretty much iburnandfume in everything. Apparently he... burns and fumes.


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