Game Review: The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan is scary
Man of Medan puts you and some friends right in the middle of a horror story, letting you tough it out together or throw each other under the bus. The choice is yours
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan
Developer: Supermassive Games
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Platform: PC, PS4, XBOX
Price: PC: Rs 1,099; PS4/XBOX: Rs 2,499
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan has everything you could ever love in a horror game. To start with, it is based on an allegedly real ghost ship called the SS Ourang Medan. Then, it uses eerie visuals and creepy sounds to mess with your head. To top it all, your life in the game is determined by the choices made by others.
The game features three modes—solo mode, an online multiplayer and a local multiplayer, also known as the movie night mode. The most vanilla of the three modes is "solo". The story in this mode is linear and since you control all the characters, there is little that is unpredictable. The choices you make for your character traits also seem less inconsequential in this mode. That said, the game does manage to get its way, especially through psychological fear, with more than its fair share of jump scares. Though the jump scares are cheap, in most cases it works well to create the environment and get the adrenalin going.
In the co-op modes, however, the Medan is another beast altogether. Here, both online and offline, you can assign characters to friends or players online—up to five of them. The story unravels through the eyes of each character and the big draw here is that you get to make your own choices. These choices don't only affect the outcome of the game, but also your character's traits and those of the supporting characters.
This potentially adds another dimension to the game, as you don't know what choices the next person is going to make.
The overarching story of the game is strictly okay; it engages in a lot of clichés and that is slightly annoying, when playing the game in solo mode. The characters look like a standard horror group. It feels like we have watched this bunch in some similar movie before. While Medan is based on real people, the animation and the graphics are subpar, making the movements and animated sequences robotic. It made it hard to connect with the characters. The connection is a little easier to make when you are playing with other people, as you are focused on one character.
Another potential problem is the fixed camera angles. To make the player feel like they are in a claustrophobic situation with nowhere to run, the developer, Supermassive Games, has gone with fixed cameras. This plays out in some scenes nicely, delivering jump scares and the feeling of dread, but most of the time, it comes in the way of exploring. The tradeoff is not really worth it.
Despite many flaws, Man of Medan is a perfect game for a movie night, where every person gets to play a different character. If you are planning some get-together during the upcoming festival season, this should be on your list of activities. If you are looking for a horror game to play alone, there are many others that will deliver better results.
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