I’ve been a fan of the interactive drama genre for quite a while. Games such as Heavy Rain, The Walking Dead, Detroit Become Human and Until Dawn all have provided me with countless hours of fun. At E3 2019, I had a chance to play Supermassive Games’ latest entry into this genre The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan.
I thoroughly enjoyed 2015’s Until Dawn and Man of Medan follows in its footsteps with a similar experience. With multiple outcomes to various situations, the choices you make shape your adventure, which make each playthrough unique. How does this stack up to other games in the interactive drama genre? Let’s find out!
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan Details
Platform: Xbox One and PlayStation 4
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4 Pro
Developer: Supermassive Games
Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment
Genre: Interactive drama, survival horror
Modes: Single player, Multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
Supernatural horror aboard a ghost-ship lost at sea
Man of Medan is the first of eight planned games in The Dark Pictures Anthology. Currently scheduled to release every six months. Each episode is its own self-contained story that is hosted by the curator who guides you through the story. If you have ever watched or are familiar with the television series The Twilight Zone, then you’ll have a good idea of what The Dark Pictures Anthology is all about.
Man of Medan is loosely based on the urban tale of the SS Ourang Medan—the doomed ghost ship. The story in Man of Medan is focused around four Americans on vacation in the South Pacific Ocean in search of a long-lost submerged World War II plane wreck.
Each of the characters have their own personalities, traits and characteristics that evolve over the game depending on the choices you make. Brad is the younger brother of Alex and is a mathematical genius who is shy and awkward. On the other hand, Alex is the exact opposite of Brad and is self-assured jock who is the life of the party. Next, Julia is Alex’s rich girlfriend who loves living life on the edge. Finally, there is Julia’s brother Conrad. He’s a smooth talker who enjoys drinking and flaunting his wealth.
A branching storyline that changes based on your decisions
Each of the characters have various traits that are constantly changing and evolving based upon the choices you make. Gameplay is a mix between controlling each of the characters in a 3rd person perspective and quick time events (QTE), which require sharp reflexes.
As the story unfolds you are presented with different ways to react to certain situations. For example, Conrad is faced with a choice of attacking one of the sea pirates who has overtaken your ship or trying to getaway in their speedboat. Do you do the right thing and try and take out the sea pirate in order to save your friend? Or, do you try and save your self and let your friends fend for themselves?
Every choice you make influences your journey through the story and can make it possible to keep all the characters alive or die by the end of the story. Man of Medan features many options that make the game more accessible. Some of these options include the ability to take away the time limits needed to respond to QTE. As a result, it makes the game more enjoyable for those who might not necessarily fit a traditional gamer mold.
Gorgeous visuals with a few hiccups here and there
Visually, Man of Medan is every bit as gorgeous as Until Dawn and then some. The game features a talented cast of characters such as Shawn Ashmore (X-Men, Quantum Break) and Pip Torrens (The Crown, Star Wars: The Force Awakens), whose in-game likenesses are extremely uncanny.
For the most part, character animation is smooth and lifelike. However, there are instances that the frame rate dips, which cause jitter and quirky animations briefly on the screen. While they don’t hamper gameplay, it’s something that you will definitely notice.
Be prepared for a lot of jump scares throughout your adventure. While it may seem kind of cheesy, it definitely helps set the mood and tone of the game. Overall, Supermassive Games did a great job with the presentation aspects of the game.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan offers a solid horrifying experience at a value price
If you like Supermassive Games’ previous interactive drama, Until Dawn—then you’ll enjoy Man of Medan. While the game doesn’t innovate in anyway, the six-hour adventure is enjoyable and will make you wonder what’s around every corner.
The game’s two multiplayer modes, Shared Story and Movie Night allow you to play co-cooperatively online and offline respectively. At roughly half the cost of a traditional game, Man of Medan provides quite a bit of replayability for the price.
I’m really looking forward to the next game in The Dark Pictures Anthology scheduled for the first half of 2020. Until then, Man of Medan offers a solid experience at a fantastic price.
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF THE DARK PICTURES ANTHOLOGY: MAN OF MEDAN
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5