Man of Medan - PS4 - Game Review


Man of Medan - PS4

Man of Medan - PS4 -  Game Review

From Supermassive Games, the creators of one of the best games in the last few years, Until Dawn, comes a new horror story where you control the fate of the characters. Man of Medan, the first installment in the Dark Pictures Anthology, sure hits its mark on several occasions; however, due to how prolific Until Dawn is, we cannot help but draw comparisons between both.

Despite a slow start, Man of Medan achieves its objectives by effectively engaging the player. So, here is a complete rundown of the aspects of the game, including the story, mechanics, and graphics.

Story

Man of Medan borrows elements from the known story of the ghost ship the Ourang Medan, which was lost during World War II in mysterious circumstances. You start the game through a prologue that sets the tone for the whole game.

Think of this prologue as a tutorial level where you learn the mechanics of the game and know some snippets of the story. After the epilogue, the player is introduced to the main cast of the game: Alex, Brad, Julia, Conrad, and Fliss, who is on a diving trip to discover the wreckage of an ancient ship. The first hour or so is dedicated solely to getting to know these characters more.

After we drudge through this slow introduction, the story picks up when strangers invade your boat and take you to the Ourang Medan, the infamous ghost ship. This is where you get to investigate the ship for clues that help you unveil the truth while stumbling across some horrific cut scenes and jump scares.

The tone perfectly captures the panic the characters feel, and, as a player, you will be on the edge of your seat as well, because nowhere feels safe. Nonetheless, after you get to know the truth of the Ourang Medan, you cannot help but feel a bit cheated though, since you will discover that the answer was given to you on a silver platter during the prologue. Although the story leaves something to be desired, it is definitely entertaining and tense enough to keep you playing till the end.

Graphics

Graphics are one of the aspects where the hit game Until Dawn really shines; unfortunately, the same cannot be said about Man of Medan. Even though Man of Medan is actually newer than Until Dawn, it looks older in terms of graphics.

That does not mean there are not aesthetically pleasing scenes where you can forget you are actually playing a video game, but they are sadly few and far between. If you are playing on pc, you will not experience much lag, but there are some parts of the game where the frame rate drops a bit.

Nevertheless, the frame rate never drops too much, so you will never feel like the game is “unplayable.” Another disappointing aspect of Man of Medan is the facial capture Supermassive Games executed.

To be frank, it seems like a botched job because the characters’ expressions never look real enough; they look more like wax figures than real humans. However, if you are not someone who gives much attention to that, you will find no problem with the character models.


On the other hand, the voice acting definitely sticks out like a sore thumb; it does not feel convincing most of the time. So, combined with the lack of expressions on the characters’ faces, it can ruin your immersion altogether.

Accordingly, if you are looking for graphics that can knock your socks off, Man of Medan is not that kind of game, which is disappointing when we look at the studio’s previous releases.

Mechanics

This is perhaps the most interesting part of Man of Medan. You essentially get two modes: single-player and multiplayer. In single-player mode, you control each of the five characters in different scenes. As a player, your goal is to keep the characters as safe as possible.

You do not only control their fate, but you also control their personalities and relationships with the other characters. For instance, in the first hour of the game, you get to determine the dynamics between the two brothers Alex and Brad, the future of Alex’s relationship with his girlfriend Julia, and whether or not Conrad pursues Fliss romantically.

Although such dialogue choices may seem to have no bearing on the story, you will realize that you can seal a character’s fate through them. Also, when making certain choices, you shape the characters’ personalities, affecting the dialogue choices you are presented with later in the story and how the characters react in stressful situations.

Interestingly, after every few chapters, the Curator, who guides you through the story, gives you a hint about your choices and whether they were sound or not.

As with most story-driven games, you also have quick-time events and some of which are fatal. You can lose a character if you do not press the required button in time, which can be annoying because it makes all your effort go to waste, especially if the game lags during such prompts.

Nonetheless, not all those quick-time events are fatal; in fact, some of them are just there to be ignored. So, make sure to keep up with the story to know how you can effectively save the characters. Moreover, there are collectibles you can acquire during your playthrough, but beware, not all of them can help you. Actually, some of them can lead to the untimely demise of some characters.

What we are most excited about is the multiplayer mode, as it lets each player control a character. For example, you and your friends might be playing through different scenes, and your choices will not only affect your character but also your friends’ characters.

This mode is pretty interesting because you get to experience new scenes the game does not have in single-player mode. As for the endings, you get different variations according to your choices and the characters you have managed to save. So, the post-credit scene where the Curator talks to you is different every time.

Overall, although Man of Medan is a bit rough around the edges, it offers five hours of exciting gameplay. So, if you are a fan of horror games with storytelling aspects, you will love Man of Medan. Be sure to play with friends after you get through the single-player mode for a more satisfying experience.


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Updated 6 months ago