Supermassive Games shook up the adventure genre of their PS4 exclusive back in 2015 with Until Dawn, and after developing several smaller PS VR titles, they’re back with The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan, a new game that is just a small part of a new anthology series.
It marks the start of Supermassive’s take on the horror genre. They plan on releasing two games per year that are all part of The Dark Pictures. Each one will have an entirely different cast of characters, setting, and a horror trope that most fans of the genre will be familiar with.
Until Dawn gave us the “Cabin in the Woods” story with young adults spending the weekend at a spooky vacation home in the middle of nowhere. Crazy events begin to happen and, based on the narrative-based decisions that the player makes, you get to play out who lives and who survives, giving the game several endings.
With the playtime that I spent with Man of Medan this past weekend during PAX East, the adventure game doesn’t do anything too differently from Until Dawn, but as a huge fan of that game, I loved the sense of familiarity and ease of controls.
Supermassive sees the success that Until Dawn saw and hopes to replicate that with these bite-sizes horror experiences.
The demo of Man of Medan threw me into a section of the game that had me controlling a young woman named Fliss who was accompanied by a young man, who seemed to be her friend and a guide who was showing the two of them around the dark, mysterious underbelly of a haunted ship.
It did start off with a recap of past events that occurred in the game, but it didn’t help me grab onto these characters or the plot of the story at all, and for some reason, the character’s voice was disconnected with the actual mouth movements of the characters, which didn’t help either.
The recap was essentially telling me that this group of friends go on a diving trip in search of a lost shipwrecked vessel. The in-game scenes worked just fine and didn’t have any sound issues after that. The creaking of the ship, sounds of the water crashing against the boat, and the ambient cries of ghostly creatures truly had me spooked whilst exploring the ship and investigating objects that shined just like in Until Dawn.
There’s something that has gone wrong on this boat, which I surmised once I ran into skeletons of armed men lying around the hallways; something deadly happened here and it’s your job to find out just what went on.
You can pick up objects that you find on the ship and inspect them to gain more info about the past or to pick-up objects, such as a knife that I found, which I later used in an altercation with a ghostly creature of the ship.
Like Until Dawn, Man of Medan is filled with quick-time events that will test your reflexes, and depending on how well you perform them, will lead to life or death.
There were some truly frightening moments that startled me like one that had me choose between helping out my friend or to leave him to save myself. Since I had no attachment to these characters, I obviously left him to die so that I can save myself, but I’m sure that the full game will make sure that we get attached to them so that these decisions become increasingly difficult to make.
Man of Medan seems to quite promising compared to Until Dawn. You still have the hard choices, spooky setting, and a cast of 20-somethings to kill/save. Supermassive Games may have another hit on their hands with this one and if they keep throwing in awesome horror tropes into the mix, The Dark Pictures Anthology will definitely be worth a look.
Man of Medan is set to launch sometime this year for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.