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The Dark Pictures - Man of Medan

The Dark Pictures - Man of Medan

Written by Nathan Carter on 10/11/2019 for PS4  
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Until Dawn was one of the surprise hits of 2015. The game released without any advertisement or fanfare so a lot of people, myself included were expecting it to not be that great. Wow, we were all wrong as it was fantastic. It was one of these choose your own adventure type games where your choices actually mattered and you could see the consequences of your choices as the game went on. Years later and Supermassive Games has released "Man of Medan", the first game in their Dark Pictures Anthology series. Instead of getting a huge game like Until Dawn, Man of Medan is a much smaller story but is very similar in that you will be making choices throughout the story that will determine who lives and who dies as the story goes on. Despite being very similar to Until Dawn, Man of Medan in my opinion is nowhere near as good. 

This time around instead of playing out like a Slasher movie, Man of Medan plays out like the movie Ghost Ship. A group of people decide to go deep sea diving stumble upon an old World War 2 place wreck in the middle of the ocean. Pirates come along and decide to take the entire crew hostage because they are in search of the elusive "Manchurian Gold". The cast of characters this time around once again play the roles of typical horror movie tropes including jocks, nerds, is The whole group ends up on a haunted ship in the middle of the ocean. Yeah this won't end well. The game then swaps around different characters where you walk around the ship trying to figure out what the hell is going on, a way to escape your captors and a way to get to safety. The ship is very creepy and the scares in the game are done well. The game constantly jumping to character after character I feel works against this game because it makes the game and the story feel rushed. Right as we are about to learn something new the game switches characters and this happens constantly over the course of the game. Most of the meat and potatoes of the story will need to be discovered via reading various journal entries and other collectibles you find throughout the ship. 

Man of Medan is a much smaller game than Until Dawn and unfortunately that is for the worst. Like Until Dawn you still have the butterfly effect menu screen (called "bearings" this time) where you can see how the actions of your choices play out and you can look at pictures found around the game to get a premonition of an outcome for characters later in the game like Totems from Until Dawn. The problem here is that Man of Medan feels rushed and not as fleshed out as Until Dawn. For instance, in my play through, I got three out of five characters killed and all of those deaths were either from failed button presses during QTE's or because I picked the wrong answer during a conversation and pissed someone off. While I won't say that your choices don't matter because they do, it feels like none of the important choices really had an impact on whether or not my characters died. There are over 10 endings to the game but even after completing the game once, I have little desire to see the other endings

Unfortunately the story and the game starts to fall apart once you get to the ending. You see the whole game is building up towards this twist towards the end but then when I found out what the twist was and what was actually going on, I actually said "seriously?" The reason for that is that the game gives away it's own twist right in the beginning of the story. So much so that I was saying "there has to be something else going on here" and nothing was. This was just like the end of Until Dawn where you play through the whole game thinking one thing is going on and then it becomes something else. So this is two games now where the developers couldn't stick the landing. In my play through I managed to get three out of the five main characters killed and the ending I got was pretty anti climatic but I blame myself rather than the game. I am already going through another playthrough and doing things differently to get another one of the many endings in the game. There is also another problem I noticed where it felt like wrong scenes were playing out. For instance towards the end I was watching a scene with Conrad was talking to himself as hes walking through the ship. This scene was very awkward because it felt like another character was supposed to be there but was just removed since they were dead. Then there is the Curator who will talk to you at various parts of the game and sometimes what he says doesn't match up to what actually happened. Without any spoilers I will say that he told me a vital piece of equipment got destroyed when it didn't in my game. 

At the end of the day, Man of Medan isn't bad and it's a decent but short choose your own adventure style game but it's not up to the same standards that Until Dawn set a few years ago. I liked all the characters and the setting but the story seems to fall apart thanks to a final act that seems incredibly rushed. While not as good as Until Dawn, I am still interested in seeing what Supermassive has coming up in the coming years with other entries in the Dark Pictures Anthology series.  

Man of Medan starts out well enough but just falls apart towards the end leading up to a pretty anti-climatic ending thanks to a twist that was given away at the very beginning of the story. It's not terrible but it's not nearly as good as Until Dawn. Still, as a fan of Until Dawn, I still enjoyed the story for what it was but I didn't really have a desire to go back and play through it again after finishing it the first time. 

Rating: 7 Average

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

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About Author

I have been playing video games for as long as I can remember. My earliest gaming memories come from playing Lady Bug and Snafu on my fathers Colecovision and Intellivision respectively.  It wasnt until I was 6 years old and played a Mortal Kombat 2 arcade machine in a game room at a hotel that I truly fell in love with a videogame. I have so many wonderful memories of my dad and I playing Mortal Kombat on SNES every night after dinner. Throughout my childhood NES, SNES, Gameboy and Sega Genesis were the loves of my life. Here I am 31 years old and still as much in love with videogames as I ever was. 

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