Man of Medan seems like a long awaited title from Supermassive Games; developers of Until Dawn. Like Until Dawn Man of Medan is an interactive horror game that forces players to make timed decisions. Each decision impacts the proceeding storyline, characters and more. Man of Medan is the first chapter of Supermassive Games' Anthology series (The Dark Pictures). Supermassive Games are set to release a new chapter within 6 months of the previous. The next chapter is called Little Hope which seems to ooze Silent Hill Vibes. Once you beat Man of Medan there's a sneak peek in to Little Hope pegged for a 2020 release. It looks brilliant!
Building up to Man of Medan's release I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. Horror games with nautical backdrops don't really float my boat. In fact the ending of Resident Evil VII felt flat to me as we were stuck on that damn ship! Dark, damp and dreary ships! I can think of much scarier settings for a horror game. The question remains though: did I enjoy Man of Medan? The answer is: not as much as I enjoyed Until Dawn; which for me had a much more appealing backdrop, more characters and a longer story. Man of Medan is slow to kick off. A group of upcoming divers hire a boat, which includes a confident female tour guide. With a crate of beer the five of them set sail in to the South Pacific Ocean. Without spoiling the story the five of them find themselves in a hostage situation and end up slamming directly in to a missing Ghost Ship from the 1940's The true horror seemed to start from this point in the game which was already over one hour in.
If you've played Until Dawn you will be familiar with the choice based narrative of the game. Choices or there lack of will impact on the bearing of the next stage of the game. I found the opportunity to make decisions somewhat slow and frustrating. Frustrating in a sense of there only being three choices each time. I would have preferred to have more options to choose from as this would have increased the pace a little.
Man of Medan had some surprising jump scares. Could there have been more? Absolutely. I felt that the balance was tipped in favour of Man of Medan feeling more like a Walking in a dark ship simulator rather than a pacey horror game. I would have loved to have had more jump scares, however trivial.
What did I enjoy and Man of Medan? Graphically the game looks fantastic. The motion capture looked smooth and the voice actors do a great job. When jump scares occurred I felt genuinely scared and immersed. The story seemed well written and I like the idea of The Dark Pictures Anthology as a whole. I was left feeling as though I wanted more. I could have easily of streamed this for 10 hours straight but it only took me three and a half hours to beat. Ultimately there's replay value in Man of Medan. I am yet to play back through with a different outcome. In fact it wasn't until the final 15 minutes that two of my characters died. I played through Until Dawn twice and it just didn't have the same appeal. Once you know where are jump scare is it no longer scares you. I'm predicting that this will be same for Man of Medan.
Like in Until Dawn, Man of Medan contains breaks from the core gameplay. In Man of Medan there are cut scenes with a creepy middle aged guy in an unknown room. His exact identity is unknown. He tries to play mind games with you by asking cryptic questions making comments. I found these scenes to be un-stimulating and added very little value to my play through. I could see the point but couldn't helped feeling like these cut scenes were a missed opportunity somehow.
Should you buy Man of Medan or wait? Man of Medan retails at £24.99 but I've seen it for as low as £21 online. £24.99 seems like a high price to pay for only three and a half hours gameplay. The replay factor adds a little more value but I feel this is tainted by knowing where the jump scares are. If you have space cash and want to waste an afternoon on Man of Medan then definitely pick it up. If not, then you may want to wait for a sale. £12.99 would be a steal!
Blog by Gemma @ Juicy Game Reviews / TheGebs24
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