( Editor’s note: This was written on August 30th. My review should be up soon, considering that this is a four to five hour game. Please sit back and enjoy the read!)
The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan is the first installment in an anthology series called The Dark Pictures, where each installment within the series is a standalone game and you’ll be able to play them without playing Man of Medan.
The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan is the spiritual successor to Supermassive Games’ brilliant game that put them on the map, Until Dawn. Like Until Dawn, Man of Medan sits somewhere between a Telltale game, choose your own adventure, and a horror film. Man of Medan gives you controls of the characters, allowing you to take control of them and do whatever you want to do with them: Kill them off, tell them what to say, where they go, and what they do when scary things go bump in the dark. Your decisions will either kill them or help them escape.
The story of Man of Medan is based and inspired by the actual ship called the Ourang Medan. The Ourang Medan went missing somewhere in the Dutch East Indies sometime either during World War II or sometime after the war just depending on the sources.
Man of Medan’s story picks up in the modern day with four friends going on a diving trip to the Dutch East Indies to search a crashed American World War II plane. These friends are pretty wealthy as they rent a nice ship and have a local captain take them to the site of the crashed plane and that’s where things begin to take a turn for the worse so they take refuge in a ship called the Ourang Medan and this is where the game begins. The Ourang Medan is filled with dead US Army corpses, the corpses are grotesque as if they saw something that scared the pants right off of them, every corridor has a corpse and a victim, frozen in fright and it’s a trip through time as many of the items on the Ourang Medan aren’t from the present day, it’s like stepping through a time machine to another time.
The game is brimming with jump scares, life and death situations, fight or flight scenarios, and much more but a lot of bad causes the game to completely halt which is a shame given that the premise and the setting is one of the most interesting things in Man of Medan. However, before that, Supermassive nails the intro and pulls you in with a great beginning but after that, it continues to hit all the good places until boredom and pacing issues begin to set in.
At the beginning of the game, Supermassive does a great job of introducing the characters and building them up but it drags on for a good couple of minutes before they step onto the Ourang Medan. Once aboard, the game continues to drags things out until a character begins to hallucinate and that’s when the scares begin.
The greatest thing so far about Man of Medan is the atmosphere and immersion. Man of Medan drips with atmosphere and immersion; you are sucked into this world and you don’t want to leave until you complete the game or get at a good point in the overall narrative. Supermassive keeps us on our toes until the scares begin to happen and they happen fairly quickly and they’re done well and the visuals alongside the cinematography keeps everything in check. You’ll see something in the corner of your eye, you’ll see someone hiding in the corner, or shadows will be on the walls.
Man of Medan feels like a on-rail action game to some sort of extent, you’ll watch the characters do stuff until you have to press a button, you are asked to move a cursor when you have a weapon equipped very similar to the Telltale Games, to hold your breath and hit the corresponding buttons. It’s very much a linear game with very minimal interaction.
In the end, Man of Medan so far appears to be a mediocre game but it’s still a thrilling spooky game that has a lot of things packed in for you and it seems to be a nice package if you want to replay the game. Stay tuned for my review.
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