The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan Review – A Surreal Horror Experience

The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan
Supermassive/Bandai Namco

If you didn’t know already, The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan is developer, Supermassive’s, follow-up to their horror thrill ride, Until Dawn. This particular title marks the first of a multipart series called The Dark Pictures. It also differs from its spiritual predecessor, Until Dawn, in that it’s a multiplayer-optioned affair.

In Man of Medan, you play as one of a group of friends who have set off on a diving expedition. One of your posse manages to catch the ire of a band of fishermen and everything goes south—you all end up getting kidnapped. Eventually, both kidnappers and would-be divers alike encounter an ancient freighter called the Medan and things take a decided turn for the supernatural.

A storyteller guides things along in the background, narrator-style. He’s cryptic and sometimes helpful, while other times he belittles the main group of the story. Listening to this so-called “Curator,” was really fun and reminded me of 80s style schlock such as narrated by the Crypt Keeper. I really hope they keep the Curator on board for future episodes of The Dark Pictures, because it really adds a lot to the games.

While the characters of the diving group are pretty much throwaway clichés, much like Until Dawn this game relies heavily on its overarching narrative and the choices that you make, which in turn influence the storyline. Also similar to Until Dawn, the decisions that you make can literally determine whether certain characters in your party live or die. I think that the best way to describe this emerging genre of video games would be “interactive films.”

Throughout my playthrough of the game, I had this strange suspicion that when it came to being presented with all of the various choices, there were many more wrong answers than there were right ones. However, I also got the sense that Man of Medan doesn’t penalize you too harshly for making each of those wrong decisions.

Man of Medan’s replay value is pretty high, due in no small part to the wide variety of choices that you’ll be presented with. If you absolutely bomb on a lot of the choices, you’ll probably end up dying. When you die, you’ll miss out on the more meaty parts of the game’s lore, as well as its storyline in general.

So, if you’re into rushing through games (a single game can last up to six hours or more), then Man of Medan probably isn’t for you. Every informational tidbit must be pondered and dissected in order to connect it to other clues within the game.

As far as hints and clues go, Man of Medan offers a veritable plethora of environments for you to investigate. Some of these areas contain nothing while others must be searched carefully to render anything useful to your group.

Probably my favorite aspect of Man of Medan is its multiplayer mode. While the game’s single-player component can be an easier and more focused affair, playing in groups of two to four can be a seriously chaotic and nail biting experience.

Many times, you won’t know what the other players are doing, which in turn really ratchet up the tension, since you never know quite what to expect. I’d say multiplayer is the most terrifying way to play Man of Medan.

Overall, The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan is a hair-raising scare-fest that gradually ups the tension as you play through its storyline. Once the paranormal activities start to appear, you’ll most likely be on the edge of your seat with fear, so make sure that you’re playing it with the lights off (and maybe a good pair of headphones) in order to get the most out of it.

SCORE: 77%

The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan has some pretty nice looking graphics that make its horror-based gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:

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