Reissued on Wednesday, June 29, 2022: Following the announcement of the PlayStation Plus lineup in July, this review is back from the archive. The original text is:
Maybe that’s because our dad let us see Jaws When we were six, we were always skeptical of the ocean. It’s wet and there’s something weird about it. The Man of Medan – from Until Dawn dev Supermassive Games, and the first of the horror game anthologies under the Dark Pictures banner – is the fun of persuading a voyage with four friends stupidly out to sea. Look and see instead find only misery. Seriously, people, don’t get into the water. It doesn’t help anything.
Despite repeatedly yelling at Terry to stay out of the fallen sea, the four heroes casually sat on the boat, drank beer, and hired a salty French sailor as a guide. I made a clumsy pass for a woman. Ultimately, they rebel against some pirates – it’s the type of Captain Phillips, Shivering-I-Lumber Kindness-and everything goes to the pot. Pirates robbing the ocean is usually the worst thing you can do in your day, but by the time things change a bit supernaturally, all these kids will be us. I must have heard the story and wanted to stay firmly. Dry land.
In about 6 hours, Man of Medan will interact with different characters and make choices that will affect the entire group. The story is shaped by decisions or their lack. In 2019, this isn’t entirely revolutionary, but what keeps Man of Medan and Until Dawn away from most crowds is that no one in the game is safe. If you choose poorly, you can kill everyone, and it gives the agenda an air of danger that keeps you on your toes.
Unfortunately, if you don’t care about the character, it doesn’t really matter whether the character lives or dies, which is one of the big problems for Man of Medan. Our hero has two flavors. I have no personality or it is very annoying. And all the characters are really cursed with distractingly terrible conversations.
As Dawn had a one-liner that also provokes clinge and a completely disgusting cast, they felt at home in homage to the cheesy teen slasher movies of the 80’s and 90’s that inspired it. It worked. The Man of Medan is definitely ambitious, but it plays straighter than Until Dawn, so unless the game seems to be joking, it’s a flimsy story, a paper-thin character, and a shocking one. Both sentences are more noticeable and more problematic. The only exception here is a character called a curator. A well-dressed gentleman will appear between the scenes and tell you how well or bad you are.
Another problem with Man of Medan is that it’s a horror game that isn’t scary and scary. It takes time for the story to get out of the first gear, but when things really start to happen, it’s just a few telegraph jump scares. When you open the doors, drawers and lockers, there are literally 6 variations and something pops out. For a long time, this has been a story-based game without many stories, and it’s all very boring until you realize that you’re deliberately trying to make a bad decision just to see if something happens.
There are also technical issues to consider. The Man of Medan sometimes looks great, but it’s always surrounded by slow frame rates, freezes, and weird animations. Everyone, it’s not melodramatic here. It’s constant. When I see the character talking, the visual freezes for a moment, but the audio continues without any problems. That is, lip sync is off for the rest of the conversation. At one point it froze during QTE and one of the cast had a terrifying end. It was a little cheerful, but obviously not correct. Face animations are often sketchy, and one character in particular is often trapped in a permanent pout / frown combo that looks quite weird. I had two blue screens and had to reload.
This all starts to sound pretty negative, and that’s because we don’t really like games. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t do anything wrong or do anything interesting. By including two different multiplayer modes, if for some reason you like to spend time with others, you can get a little more mileage from Manof Medan. You can play online with your friends if you want. It’s not random. Each controls different characters at the same time, and both make decisions, but the story is basically unfolded like a single player. Most of the time, experience.
Movie Night Mode is a couch co-op version of the game where you can assign characters controlled by up to 5 people and the pads move back and forth between them at the right time. You can easily do this by just giving the pad to your opponent without a dedicated mode, but the game will at least tell you when and to whom to give the controller.
I don’t recommend the Man of Medan for stories, horrors, characters, or writing, but if you like the idea of rounding up your peers, opening claret bottles and Pringles pipes, and having big discussions with your peers. If he accidentally killed the character because he was watching Twitter on his phone, the multiplayer mode here could offset the weak side of the package.
Also noteworthy is the set of extras that include Supermassive Games here. As you play the game, you’ll find secrets to unlocking videos, from short documentaries on the history of horror anthology to interviews with casts and crew. These aren’t catastrophes, but they’re a welcome addition, and no matter how disappointing the game itself is, you’ll find that much attention has been paid to it.
Man of Medan kicks off The Dark Pictures Anthology with a whisper instead of a bang. There are many possibilities for this format, but this was definitely the wrong story to introduce. The story is short and rarely out of the first gear, the characters are annoying, the horror is sloppy, and the conversation is unnatural. There are always technical issues. In fact, the scariest thing about Man of Medan is how it got gold in that state.