Deep Dive into Man of Medan
On Friday the 30th, SuperMassive Games released Man of Medan – the same day as The Blair Witch Game. This day had the potential to be the best day of the year for horror games. Instead it was the worst. Both games turned out to be a major let down. See my previous article for my review on The Blair Witch. Man of Medan was a disappointing sequel to the critically acclaimed Until Dawn.
The story of Medan is loosely based on the real-life mystery of the OSS Ourang Medan. It is the first installment in SuperMassive Games’ Dark Picture’s Anthology. There was a lot riding on this game to be a success as it would set the tone for the rest of the series. Unfortunately, it felt forced, clunky, cringy, and not the least bit scary.
Five characters are going on a voyage to find forgotten treasure at the bottom of the sea. Hijinks ensue and the team end up held captive by pirates. One thing leads to another and everyone ends up on a haunted ship full of zombies. The story would have benefited massively if they cut out the pirates entirely. It makes the ship feel like the background, rather than the main event. The plot is fundamentally weak, and it doesn’t hold up the expectation of fans.
The characters are extremely unlikeable. They were pulled straight from a teen slasher, and it shows. It doesn’t help that the dialogue is clunky and forced. Alex, Brad, Julia, Conrad and Fliss all talk like they just learned English yesterday. There were more than a few moments that I cringed so hard, I had to pause the game. They have the most blasé reactions to being chased by zombies, like it’s an everyday occurrence for them.
The upside is the characters and graphics look amazing. The ship is incredibly detailed, and the characters look realistic. Although this does cause some frame rate issues on the base PS4 and made my laptop go into meltdown.
There is a lot of replayability in this title. You can make different decisions and decide if everyone lives or dies. The only downside to this is that there is a long, drawn out opening section which can make replaying a drag. There is a very straightforward level design, so its difficult to stray into areas you aren’t meant to and find new things.
The shared mode is the saving grace of this game. Sitting with four of your friends trying to survive the horrors of the ship, is equally as funny as it is horrifying. You don’t have to have the same intentions as your friends, you may want someone dead, who they want to make it to the end. This leads to interesting conflicts.
Last Friday was a sad day for horror games. Hopefully this isn’t a sign for things to come. I’m still waiting for a horror classic like the Outlast franchise and sadly, I’ll have to wait for a little while longer.