The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan is a game by Supermassive Games who are also the team behind Until Dawn. Now the game heavily relies on its cinematic element just like Until Dawn which most people enjoyed. But does Man of Medan live up to the expectation or is not a game that is just good enough to watch on stream, this will help you answer that question.
What is The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan
Man of Medan is the first game in The Dark Pictures Anthology of games. It’s a cinematic story-based horror-thriller game where you get to control various character throughout the story with their lives and fate all in your hands. As with Until Dawn, it introduces the characters who all have inter-personal relationships with their issues and emotions that may factor into your decision making but your decisions will shape their character.
You play as a group of adolescents who go on a diving trip but things quickly go south as they encounter a storm, pirates and a sunken ship and must now do everything in the power to survive. And the whole tale is being narrated by a man who has a lot of stories to tell. The game has pirates as well as a lot of supernatural stuff and relies heavily on jumpscares and out of the blue action to keep you on your toes and invested into the game. This is helped by the great sound design and music which fit the tone of the game and work with the claustrophobic and dark level design of the game which is another highlight.
Now in terms of story, you will probably have to play it more than just once to get a better understanding of it because if you mess up the first time, your second playthrough will help you avoid those mistakes and get to learn more of the story. This isn’t too hard to do since a single playthrough is just 4 hours long.
There’s also a multiplayer co-op mode which I highly recommend to try out because it is surprisingly a great way to experience the game. There’s also a “Movie Night” mode which is amazing for players who want to play this with a group of friends. Movie Night allows you to assign individual characters to players so that you can pass the controller to your friend when their character shows up. And their decisions can also affect other characters so it creates a lot of tension and fun moments. You can really screw over your friends if you’d like with this and it has the potential to be as friendship breaking as Mario Kart or Mario Party if you’re invested in your character and story.
Where it Falls Short
The game requires you to move around and interact a lot with the environment and this is where you start to notice the cracks. For a game that’s all about the cinematic experience, it’s pretty clumsy when it comes to the movement and interaction. Trying to pick up an object or interact with it can be immersion breaking since you’re just walking around in circles or sticking yourself to the wall to hopefully get the prompt.
The story, which is a very integral part of the starts to get boring and loses your interest in the second. Caring about these characters was also hard because their development didn’t really feel organic or natural, it just doesn’t do a good job getting you to emotionally invest yourself in their lives. Facial Animation and textures are also a letdown, especially after Until Dawn which is disappointing. If all this was done well, it would have really worked well with Movie Night to create some fantastic drama.
On consoles, there’s also a lot of technical issues like texture pop-in, odd lighting and frame rate, and frame pacing issues in various scenes. So for now, PC seems like the best place to play this game.
The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan feels like a step-back from Until Dawn. The disappointing second half plot and character development, bad facial animation, textures, clumsy movement and poor performance really drown out the positives of the game. Maybe with updates, some of this could be fixed but even then, the short playtime of the game doesn’t really do it any favors. Hopefully, the next game in the series can wipeout Until Dawn.
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