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Letters from the Front

Man of Medan is the first installment in Supermassive Game’s Dark Pictures Anthology which will consist of numerous games and sad to say that Man of Medan isn’t very scary but it is tense which is good. The usual character stereotypes are here: the nerd, the jock, the jerk, the pretty blonde girl and the usual scary places of a haunted ship and cheap scare galore and you have a cheesy horror movie.

Man of Medan plays a lot similar to the massive hit “Until Dawn” where you take control of numerous characters between action scenes that are broken up by QTEs and dialogue choices. It’s a game that resembles Telltale and their games which should make this game a breeze to get through.

Much like Until Dawn, control passes through numerous characters. Since Man of Medan is four hours, we follow a smaller cast of characters who are likable although very stereotypical and cliche. Man of Medan is inspired by the very real ghost ship called The Ourang Medan, the Ourang Medan went missing somewhere in the Dutch East Indies during World War II or after the war and a lot of fascinating history is attached to this mysterious ghost ship, one that involves the CIA and smuggling of hazardous materials like wartime nerve agents, so that inspiration forms the basis of Man of Medan and what you see around the story. By the end of the game, the game plays out the finale in a really safe way which kind of undermines everything.

Moving over to the gameplay of Man of Medan. The gameplay resembles Until Dawn and any Telltale game so you should be safe if you have played any of those games. Your choices matter here so you ought to be careful of what you do in the game and how you respond to certain situations. When the horror and certain action scenes enter the picture, you’re subjected to QTE events that test your reflexes. It’s a pretty simple gameplay loop that you should get the hang of immediately.

The technology behind Until Dawn is amazing. The studio has swapped from using the Decima Engine to Unreal Engine 4 and it’s a pretty solid choice. They’ve done a great job here by upping the atmosphere and immersion especially once inside the Ourang Medan.

Man of Medan looks amazing on the Xbox One X especially paired with a 4K HDR TV and as a result, the game looks really good. From wet metallic surfaces to the dark green waters of a submerged aircraft or the beautiful night scenes, the game looks great. Performance, unfortunately, isn’t all that great as there is a lot of frame drops and hitching. I really hope Supermassive fixes this as these games would be a lot more enjoyable if there wasn’t a lot of frame issues and hitching.

Ultimately, Man of Medan is good and has good value but it isn’t all that scary which is a turn off to some extent as everything within this game is good. It tells a familar story with zero scares but has tension which is upped by the game’s immersion and atmosphere. I would definitely recommend this if you’re looking for something that is super short and fills your gaming crave for a bit.

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