The Dark Pictures Anthology is a new venture by the makers of one of my favourite games from this generation, Until Dawn. The idea is to replicate the short story horror compilations by such writers as Edgar Allen Poe and Clive Barker but in the form of a video game series. Until Dawn can be seen as the pilot for this endeavour.
Man of Medan is the first official entry in this series and, at roughly 5 hours, is relatively short. However, the mystery and confusion surrounding some of the plot and the multiple branching storylines give massive replayability.
In Man of Medan you take on the role of a group of divers seeking a wreck of a plane and the mysterious Manchurian Gold. However things take a turn for the worse when they get taken over by modern day pirates and end up on a ghost ship.
The story is well written and a bit more serious than Supermassive Games predecessor Until Dawn. Where that game was a campy horror, this one is more of a thriller with jump scares. I’m always astounded when a game with so many different branching storylines can produce a cohesive story like this no matter what path you take. And there are multiple ways that it can go, for example, there was a point near the start of the game where one of the characters had the opportunity to escape, I did this and that was it for that character for the rest of the game. Had I done things different it could have resulted in a very different game.
Gameplay is much of the same when compared to Until Dawn; even aesthetically the game looks the same, specifically the menus. The ‘don’t move’ sections from that game have been replaced with a heart rate game where you have to press a button in time with the heart beat. I preferred this to the other because there is a bit more interactivity with it. Other than that it is the usual press this button here and pick what to say there. The conversations are interestingly always split between heart and head choices, which give you the option to go with logic or gut with varying results.
Graphically the game is as good as anything else you would see on the market today, the characters have all been mo-capped and use the actor likenesses which I always think adds an extra layer of graphical quality to games. Environments are dark and creepy and the camera angles are often askew to create a sense of unease in the player. It reminded me very much of early Resident Evil games in that regard.
I didn’t get the chance to play online co-op but from what I have seen it looks like it can provide some interesting scenarios, I would like Supermassive to include proper couch co-op in this vein for those of us who don’t have the opportunity to play online.
In my opinion Man of Medan is another hit for Supermassive Games; it provides mystery and intruege throughout its story and with so many branching storylines encourages replaying over and over again. While the story didn’t grip me as much as Until Dawn, the more I played the more interested I became in the mystery surrounding the Manchurian Gold and the ghost ship my characters were now aboard.
+ Stellar storyline with so much choice!
+ Beautiful graphics
+ Tons of replayability
– A bit short