The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan

released on Aug 29, 2019

Enter the world of The Dark Pictures - A series of standalone cinematic horror games. Players will be challenged to explore and uncover each story with the knowledge that all their choices have consequences and all playable characters can live, any and all can die...

Reviews View More

to anyone looking to buy this right now, just a fair warning that there is currently a bug on console that makes it impossible to finish! my friend and i got about an hour in before reaching an infinite loading screen.
this is a known issue and, according to the official supermassive reddit account, they are working on it. but also, that message was a full 2 months ago, and they haven't given any further update, nor have they removed it from the store to prevent people from buying it in this unplayable state.
so! if you do choose to buy it, just know that it might be some time before you're able to actually play it. from what i've heard about devil in me's release, they may have their hands full trying to fix that game first lol
i will say that i beat this game years ago when it first came out and i enjoyed it (hence why i'm trying to now introduce it to a friend). it gets a lot of hate because it was the game directly following until dawn, which is MUCH better, but it's a fun time for what it is. with an unexpected amount of story diversity based on your choices. i beat it 3 times and i felt each time was very different based on who was alive and what that person was doing
just, yea, don't buy it right now! lol

Supermassive's big breakout game, Until Dawn, remains one of my very favorite PS4 titles, taking some of the best elements of choice-based, QTE-heavy "story games" and implementing them into a great schlocky horror thriller. Their latest effort, the cheaper and shorter first entry in the planned Dark Pictures Anthology franchise, is trying to hit many of those same notes but is far less successful.
Man of Medan once again features a group of young adult fodder with cliched personalities, as they face off with a band of Captain Philips-esque pirates and a ghost ship which causes powerful hallucinations. It can't help but feel clunkier and far more forgettable than its predecessor. It echoes so many moments from Until Dawn that it gets a little distracting, from the "dark pictures" serving the same basic function as the butterflies from that game, to the ominous narrator interludes, all the way to the "exit interviews" at the very end. I think that the obvious budget cuts for this one didn't help. Animations are less realistic, character lip-syncing can prove distracting, and the game cannot quite capture the feeling of tension it is going for. You'd better be good at QTEs though, as most as my problems came not from my choices but failing to press buttons in the short window you are given.
Man of Medan has taken several interesting approaches to multiplayer. Shared story allows you to play along with a friend, as each of you control a character at all times throughout the story. It leads to a couple of interesting moments as a result of players receiving different information that occur very late in the game, but mostly it just means that you're missing out on a good chunk of story scenes. Playing this way cuts down the playtime by over an hour. The other option is movie night, where players in the same room pick a character and pass the controller around when prompted to. That mode does make more sense to me, and making fun of the weak characters and tacky dialogue and animations makes the experience more bearable at the least.
I do hope that the next chapter releasing this summer comes out a bit better, since on paper the idea of a whole anthology series of these games is really exciting. It's just all about the execution, and that's where Man of Medan fails to stick the landing with its bland story and distracting jank.

Este tipo de juegos interactivos no me suelen gustar pero le di la oportunidad a este juego y no me pareció tan bueno, no me sentí muy atrapado en la atmosfera del juego, no es terrorífico, claro que si te ponen algún jumpscare puedes asustarte un poco, pero hasta ahí llega el terror, talvez un poco de intriga en ciertas situaciones. El juego dura 4 horas gracias a dios porque si no, con ese ritmo que lleva el juego ni lo acababa. Genuinamente creo que los personajes son buenos, pero creo que la forma en que cuentan la historia o la historia en sí, hace un poco aburrido el juego

After playing Until Dawn earlier this year and liking it (not loving it, mind you), I was interested in how something shorter and more focused would play out.
However, I ended up finding Man of Medan very mediocre.
- The characters aren't interesting at all
- The acting or writing isn't very good either
- It isnt't very scary (it's supposed to be horror right?)
- Very stiff controls; the characters control like robots
As a plus, the visuals are mostly very well done and moody.

Until Dawn was a visually impressive game. It was also very atmospheric and had some memorable scenes. Supermassive Games has a talent for world-building and giving you the fine details. The downside is that Until Dawn didn't have any memorable characters. They were B-grade actors with stereotypical college student personalities and they never stood out. The same is present for Man of Medan. This is an ongoing horror series full of short stories with the overarching narrative being kept together by The Narrator. He gives you hints and a couple of tips to help keep everyone alive in the game.
Man of Medan is also visually impressive. Great textures, detailed character models, impressive lighting effects, and great camera work. The game suffers from Supermassive's previous weaknesses. Forgettable stereotypical characters that you see in B-grade horror movies. The acting is spotty and all over the place and includes facial animations. Sometimes it looks great and other times they look like stiff mannequins. You play as four college-age people who take a boat trip to go scuba diving to find an unmarked airplane that was downed during World War II. Things take a turn for the worse when they get kidnapped and brought onto a World War II ship to look for Manchurian Gold. They meet supernatural beings and must escape. Your job is to keep them alive.
While the overall tale is interesting and I really wanted to know what happened to this ship and the things going on, the game is so short that the characters get zero back stories and it's just jump scare after chase scene after QTE event. You keep the characters alive by mainly being successful with QTE events. These are when the characters' lives are in danger. If you played any cinematic adventure game in the last 20 years you know what to expect. There are various ways you can make the game easier or more difficult by walking around and searching for objects. This is the only gameplay here. Walking around small hallways and looking at objects. If you see a sparkle it means you can interact with it. Picking up objects and turning them overlooks cool and the objects are insanely detailed, but it doesn't add anything to the experience. You can easily just go straight to the end of every scene.
That's another problem with this game and these types of games as a whole. There's almost no gameplay. Most gameplay is just an excuse to keep the player engaged. Thankfully Man of Medan never gets dull and is always moving at a good pace. When creepy stuff happens it's done very well. I was wigged out by some of the creatures on screen. Supermassive's camera work is superb here. I felt like I was playing a movie which is more than I can say for most games. The only excitement in the game is the quick decisions needed before timers run out. You can get premonitions from finding pictures hidden around that show 3-second clips of what might happen in the future. Sometimes these helped and sometimes I realized what was happening too late. I managed to only lose one character and it was at the very end of the game. I have to say that the whole bearing and trait system makes no sense to me. During conversations, you can pick one of two answers and this will unlock traits or increase others. It's never explained well. Finding certain objects and adding to bearings, but I have no idea what this does. Again, there's no explanation.
Overall, Man of Medan is an interesting first outing into this new series and I look forward to seeing more. While I don't doubt Supermassive can supply an entertaining ride, the characters need to be more interesting, the facial animations need more work, and the bearing and trait system needs more explanation. The 4-5 hour runtime is over before you know it.

Fun to play with the wife but nothing to write home about.