Welcome back to another gaming opinion here on The Creatively Bookish! Life got in the way a small bit so I’m a little behind in getting this opinion up.
Last year my husband brought home a game he thought would be fun to play together, and that one game sparked a hunger for more. So when I read the announcement of The Dark Pictures Anthology I was beyond excited! I looked for information as much as I could, and each update left me ready to play the game and experience a new story!
Release day I was a bubbly fangirl waiting for the husband to get home so we could play the game together as we promised to do. I don’t think his work shift had ever felt longer than it did that day, I was just happy it wasn’t a closing shift that night.
Now, let us get to a little more info about the game and a few opinions I had after playing it…
The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan
Title: The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan
Genre: Adventure, Horror, Interactive Story
Developer: Supermassive Games
Release Date: August 30, 2019
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
The Dark Pictures is a new Anthology of stand alone games from Supermassive Games planned to focus on different stories within the horror genre. Man of Medan is the first game in the series with more to come!
A quick summary without spoilers for the game is as follows:
When a fun diving trip to explore an old WWII plane wreck in the South Pacific Ocean gets interrupted by a storm and some unexpected events, our 5 characters find themselves trapped on an old abandoned ship that has some dark secrets of it’s own. Now the group have to find a way to survive the horrors that awaits on board. With events that test the sanity of the characters and choices that can be truly life or death, the story takes some unexpected turns and keeps the player engaged to see if they can help the 5 survive the night onboard the ship Ourang Medan.
If you are curious if I would recommend the game, I will say it is worth at least a play through if you enjoy interactive stories. While not as amazing as I was hoping, this game is still worth a play especially if you do the multiplayer version either online or on-couch with friends. The rest of this post may contain spoilers for the game, so if you haven’t played it yet and don’t want to know anything that can reveal plot to the story, please stop reading after this paragraph.
Things I enjoyed about the game:
Choices- Yelling at the tv during a horror movie is something pretty much everyone has done, and Supermassive Games has given us another game that allows the player to take control of the story. With a chance to choose the dialogue and choices in scenes, the story has many possibilities in how it will turn out, and that does not always lead to a happy ending for the characters. Getting a chance to make decisions is what makes this game fun. I loved getting to see some of the different outcomes the choices have. Even something small or what seems unimportant might have bigger consequences later on.
Choice Timing- Making choices that can be meaningful later on can cause a long moment to think everything through. That is one reason I liked the fact that this game only gave you a few seconds to make each choice. While some of the points can be very stressful, the fact that you have to make a quick decision helps add to the growing feeling something is bound to happen, and it won’t be good.
Setting- When it comes to horror, setting can be a very important part of the story. The setting can almost act as another character, and Man of Medan had a pretty decent set. Getting stuck on a boat in the middle of the ocean can have it’s on creepy mood, but add the extra creep factor of ghosts, killer pirates, and a storm and it makes everything that much more eerie. Although some of the hallways look similar to each other, the claustrophobic atmosphere with all the darkness, tight hallways, and the creaks of an old ship come together to really add that since of uneasy while the player explores the Medan.
Multiplayer- Getting to play a game with choices is already pretty great. Adding a chance to have multiple people play together really increased the enjoyment. My husband and I did the couch mode and it was fun to see the choices each other made while also getting to experience the reactions of how things would turn out. Sharing the blame by switching characters and not being the only person making decisions really enhanced the game play. A friend that played the online mode said the story was incredible since you are each playing different moments during the same scene. Not all characters in the online mode are in the same place so getting to have others tell you what is going on is a whole new way to play the game. This is one moment that playing with others is definitely not a negative, but a must.
Things I Didn’t Care For:
The Characters- We get five characters to follow, and yet none gave me a reason to care. None are truly awful, but I never found myself in love with any of them either. This may not be a huge deal, but when it comes down to decisions to keep a character alive or kill them, making a bad choice which led to death never hurt that much. The only reason I cared that I accidentally got a character killed was when I really just wanted to save everyone just for the sole purpose of getting a good ending.
The Plot- The story is one of the main reasons I wanted to play this game. Until Dawn was a game I enjoyed mainly because of the story, so I expected great things from Man of Medan. Sadly, this story let me down. The main issue I have is the fact that the story gives away the main twist in the very beginning. The showing of the cargo at the start could have gone slightly different and helped keep a sense of mystery and horror. My husband and I kept trying to tell each other that it was a false lead of sorts, but unfortunately our guess was proven right and that made the story a little less enjoyable.
Unanswered Questions- Playing through the game a few times and trying to get more information was fun, but this story is not one I loved enough to keep playing over and over. Maybe I just made wrong choices or not explored enough, although I tried to explore as much as I could, but there are questions in the story that never got answered or moments that seemed like it might go somewhere only to be shoved under the rug and never brought back up. Maybe one day I will play this game again and hopefully find more to the story that I missed, but I doubt I will honestly care enough to play it much in the future.
Overall, this was a fun time with the husband. The story was nothing to flail about, and the characters were pretty cut and dry, but at least I found myself having a good time in spite of everything. The creepy feel and mystery kept me going, and I have faith the next game is going to be better and more my style.
Looking for something similar to Man of Medan? I may not have a large amount of gaming knowledge, but here are some recommendations:
~Until Dawn – If horror and choices is what you’re looking for, this game will definitely be for you. Until Dawn is one of the main games that got me hooked on interactive stories. The characters are pretty cliche for a horror story, but I did find a couple of loved and a couple I hated. The plot is also a pretty fun story. I have played the this game multiple times and plan to play it more in the future!
~Life is Strange – This is the first game my husband asked me to play with him that included choices that affected the story. Although it does not have the horror element to it, there is a mystery and the story is intriguing enough to keep you hooked. I know a Life is Strange 2 is out, but I have not played that one yet.
I normally like to add book and movie recommendations as well, but at the moment I can’t think of any to add except one. If you can think of any please let me know in the comments!
~Ghost Ship – The title pretty much sums it up. If you are wanting a story about a haunted ship and a crew getting stuck on it, here you go! The story is kinda similar to Man of Medan. Even though I am mentioning this movie, I must admit, this is not the greatest movie. It is definitely not an award winning film. It can be a little fun to watch if you like horror movies, but there are plenty of better things out there to watch.
Have you played this game? If so, what did you think of it?
If you haven’t played it yet, do you plan to?