Published on August 30th, 2019 | by Migsy
REVIEW: The Dark Pictures Anthology – Man Of Medan
Summary: So what is the Man of Medan?
Man of Medan is a cinematic horror game, where you decide your fate and the choices you make in the game affect the story and outcome of the characters. This is the first game in the Dark pictures Anthology, it also has three different game modes and all of them are enjoyable in their own way.
Disclaimer I love horror games. I have a pretty high tolerance for them, I may get a jump scare or two but it’s pretty hard to actually frighten me in games. So I was overjoyed when Bandai gave me this to review and because of the 2-player Shared Story online I HAD to conscript/force/imsurehewantedto make my husband and gaming partner in crime Moku (his gamer tag) play with me. Fun fact…he hates horror games, and hates “sea” type areas in games, so this really wasn’t up his alley HA. So of course as soon as I heard there was an online multiplayer I wanted to have my first play-through of this game with him. With someone who does scare more easily than me, and because…funsies…I would enjoy him getting scared along side me. Also I will try not to give to much away and spoil a lot during this review.
Concept: Basically you are a group of 4 stereotype friends the couple in love, the dork, the carefree flirt and then you have the serious captain which makes 5. The 4 friends who of course embark on a journey to go deep sea diving, to explore some wreckage under the sea as you do on a normal weekend. With some kick ass new diving gear thanks to your rich girlfriend, this is pretty much where it all starts going wrong. After arguing with a captain who strongly advises against the dive, and off course the friends not caring about breaking some laws because why not, it’ll be fun. Famous last thoughts really in most horror movies.. After a few twists and turns, taking back some souvenirs from the from the wreckage, the captain then telling you it was bad of you to do so, it starts to set the paranormal tone. After finding out some clues in the wreckage you ultimately find yourself upon the ghost ship which where the majority of the game takes place.
It wont be as campy as Until Dawn, but you will find some cheesy dialog, but you know what, it works. We found some of it quite funny actually, and it emphasis old school horror movie vibes and made it enjoyable because we would joke around about it. This game has big movie energy. If that makes sense? I found Man of Medan to be a bit more serious and grim, and the graphics, design and the tension it builds in this game helps to emphasize that. Pacing wise its a bit on and off during the game but this is a great start to the Anthology series by Supermassive Games, and i’m already excited to see what comes next.
Graphics: Honestly, I cant say anything bad about the graphics, The characters themselves are very detailed, you can see the emotion in their face, even in the close ups I can count every freckle. Although we thought their thinking faces were quite goofy and funny, when it would zoom in while you were taking a long time to make a decision.
The landscapes and backgrounds are amazing, lighting in a horror game is a must and Man of Medan does the lighting justice in this. Some backgrounds are so detailed its photo realistic.
But you know what MAKES this game… the camera angles….those DAMN CAMERA ANGLES! I repeat this a lot during the first game play because they are love. The angles combined with the music, it is exactly movie quality type cinematography when it all combines. Man of Medan is so clever with the camera angles to make you look one way, when something is happening somewhere else to surprise you out of nowhere. Sometimes you’ll enter a room and a dead body is right up in your face in the foreground but your character is in the background and your controlling them with limited view. Other times it’ll switch up to give you less visibility to make you wonder whats around the corner because the view is so tight of one room, or down a dark hallway.
Gameplay: The way we decided to play this was on a shared co-op story mode online. We each had our own controllers and our own screens. We had no idea what each other saw, which I think added to the gameplay experience because you would have a difference encounter in real time. Moku would yell out “omg theres the kid!” But on my screen I saw nothing, so you frantically look around to try and find him, and unknowingly see something completely different. I thought that was very clever, being able to be in the same room, playing together but still experience it differently. It also adds to the tension as well as you don’t know if what you both see is actually there or not. Each player will have their own unique adventure not only due to the choices you make but because of the characters you play story line.
Due to this, you will see different things (spoiler ahead) there will come a time if you don’t communicate with each other you will accidentally kill one an another. While we were playing Moku told me he was seeing a monster that was chasing him, and I told him I couldn’t see it and we found out later it was me. He saw me as a monster, which in turn had me screaming at him “don’t stab me don’t stab me its me its me!” And not only trying to convince the character in game not to kill me but I also had to convince Moku it was really me.
What I do like about the jump scares is they aren’t cheap ones, you’ll look somewhere innocently and where you think it’ll come from its actually coming at you from another area. Once in awhile you’ll even just have a ghost appear, just standing there when you turn, innocently apart of the scene, but you’ll see it briefly and you wont know if only you can see it unless you call out to your partner.
This next part, its hard to say if it was the game or due to the connection not being strong at times so please don’t hold this against the game. Most likely it was my internet….. Australian internet…..yeah…. I do recommend having a strong internet connection when playing this game online. We found a few times there would be frame rate issues, although the game would pause and let you know if the connection was weak. When you would unpause the game at times it would glitch and not show you the option to make a decision, which is crucial in the game. Which actually got us in trouble at one point.
One thing that did make the game less smooth would be if you were both searching a room, when your about to pick up an object, if another player finds something or progresses the game, it suddenly triggers a cut scene while your character is in mid motion. So that does tend to ruin the immersion and rhythm of the game.
Control wise there isn’t a lot to point out, I didn’t find that you use the motion controls at all in the game, or the touch pad which is a shame, unless we never came across that particular scene. Controls are quite simple, getting the cross hairs in the circle, and pressing the right button at times. Don’t expect a lot of game play action, there are times when you do need to be quick and have quick reactions for some quick time events. Doing these can heavily influence big decisions in game, but this is definitely more of an experience, investigation and story type game.
Moving the characters around, it does feel a little clunky, I don’t know if it was intentional but it had a very resident evil type feel in the way you walk around. It was very old school, you cant control the direction of the character very well at times, i’ll find myself not walking where I want or not facing where I want to investigate. But the limited control also adds to the feeling off helplessness and tension the game builds.
Although it isn’t a long game, there is a lot of reply value in this by trying to get the secret endings, keeping them all alive etc. Im pretty proud to say we only killed off one character in our first playthrough …..I say “we” loosely because Moku would tell you it was my fault, because I didn’t “sweep the leg”… 3 times.
The thing that also makes this game interesting and is important to note is the three game modes. So there’s solo, the shared co-op which i talked about that Moku and I did, and the movie night mode which you can play with up to 5 people. The movie night mode is a lot of fun, play it in the dark with your friends all huddled together helping/screaming at each other on what decision to make. This definitely makes a fun party game, when you have friends or family over and what to play a game everyone can enjoy and experience. Even those who don’t play games can get into this to.
Sound: Sound wise, the music score in this is like a movie. The music score they use definitely has a sense of foreboding, and when the music changes to build tension you just KNOW something is about to happen. This really adds to the overall atmosphere of the game and can really add tension. Sound effects in this game are great, so definitely have it turned up. The voice acting is also really well done with an actor or two you might be familiar with.
Awesomeness: LOVE THE CAMERA ANGLES!
Also, this game is going to be different from whats out at the moment, its a game you can play over again and have different experience every time either solo or with a friend. Like I said before this game is even good for people who don’t play games, because they can get involved to without doing anything to complicated. For me it felt a little slow at times, it took a little while to build up to the Ghost Ship but once you do it picks up the pace a little.
Story wise you can pretty much guess the main plot of whats happening and why. But it does throw curve balls at you when you open up secret scenes, or uncover clues and makes you rethink your theory of the story at times. Moku and I played the full game co-op and at times it was hard to be afraid because you didn’t know what to be afraid of. There were a few things happening in the game “monster” wise. Unless it was just the ending we got, but we did feel like it ended a little abruptly. Kinda like that was it?….but it was great to have a little extra ending after it to, so stay tuned for it and some of them really make you think whaaat….why…. So you want to play again to see why that scene happened and if you can discover something different.
Final word: I thoroughly enjoyed this game more with Moku then I would have by myself. We had a good time with each other, joking around as well even during yelling at each other in the game. However if you are expecting this to be an absolutely scary game, no sadly I didn’t find it that scary at all, but it does have some very well placed jump scares. In saying that, there were really good creepy moments in game, and some times where you really felt the tension. It does do a great job building tension and giving you horror type vibes, with the way the camera angles work in every room combined with the graphics and sounds. It was definitely a good experience and you get a sense of satisfaction when you think you made the right choice. If you do scare easily, you’ll have eerie moments and I can imagine quite a few screams and yells. All in all its a good solid game with lots of replay value, and like I said I cant wait for what Supermassive Games have in store for us next.
Out of 5 Bugs!