Man Of Medan collection of choose-your-own-adventure style games
Man of Medan to be enjoyable. Although there were some cringy-dialogue options and I feel as if I spoiled the entire mystery by asking the curator for advice, I enjoyed my time playing through the story and trying to escape with as many – or as few – survivors as possible. The main motivation I had to replay over was in attempts to unlock certain Trophies that required a different group of people to survive each time. For example, I needed to play through with only the women surviving at the end, and likewise for the gentlemen. This motivation added some interesting decisions I had to make in order to try and kill off certain characters while ensuring that others were all saved. There was an instance where I messed up towards the end of a gameplay run, and I quickly powered off and turned back on my PlayStation 4 but, unfortunately, it had auto-saved right after the important decision was already made and I lost one of the characters I needed to keep alive. Luckily, I was able to start over that specific chapter with that same save file in order to make different decisions – but that ability was locked up until I had completed the story one time through. Although I feel like some players might be turned off by the idea of having to play through multiple times, to me it just added value to Man of Medan. I hope that the future episodes in the Dark Pictures Anthology will offer just as many – if not more – playthroughs for me to enjoy and I can’t wait to try out the recently announced Little Hope that will be the next entry in this collection of short stories.
Man of Medan is the first entry in the Dark Pictures Anthology, a collection of choose-your-own-adventure style games from Supermassive Games, the creators of the PlayStation 4 exclusive Until Dawn. This time, Supermassive Games has partnered with Bandai Namco to bring you this curated collection of Tales from the Crypt-esque short-stories. But can this new horror-adventure hold a candle to the critically-acclaimed Until Dawn? I found the beginning to be a little weird at first. All I knew about Man of Medan was that five characters – that you controlled and decided their actions – were going on a diving trip gone horrifically wrong. So, having the beginning set in World War II where I controlled a very-forgettable U.S. Navy private threw me for a loop. However, in hindsight, I came to appreciate the world-building this provided in giving me a look at the main setting of Man of Medan before everything turned upside-down. My favorite part of this prologue was the tutorial on how Quick-Time Events (QTE) are handled throughout the story via an automated Chinese training-dummy. Although the events of the prologue seemingly lacked any kind of impact on the main story, it did provide me a glimpse into what’s really going on in the story. It wasn’t until the second playthrough that I caught these key scenes, however, and the significance of this revelation had me re-thinking what I thought really happened on the ship. In playing this prologue again through the second, third and fourth times via co-op and Movie Night modes to try and get every Trophy, I started to wish this entire into was skippable since there’s no discernible cause-and-effect relationship between any of the choices I made.
The only good thing about the prologue in Man of Medan is after I finished it, I was treated to an epic title sequence introducing the characters’ actors while listening to a fantastic song by American “doomed” metal band Khemmis titled ‘A Conversation with Death’. I had never heard of this brand before, but upon listening to this track I immediately fell in love and started furiously Googling to find out who they were. This opening sequence for Man of Medan provided the perfect tone for what I was about to experience. After, I was introduced to the Curator: a narrator-type role in Man of Medan who provided me with clues (only if I asked for them) in-between chapters and gave me remarks as to how I was doing based on the decisions I made for the characters. In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t asked for any clues since I feel like they gave too much away in the story. The one piece of advice I’d give to anyone that plays Man of Medan is to try and figure things out yourself. And yes, that will require a couple of playthroughs. After I got things explained by the Curator, I started the present-day timeline and was introduced to each of the five characters I would be controlling in Man of Medan. I felt like this first chapter did a good job of introducing each character and highlighting their personality to the fullest. I did get some stuttering during this section, especially at the onset of each character’s intro, which included wonky texture pop-ins and worsened frame rates. It didn’t seem as if there was anything demanding to go on at the time, especially since I had just taken off ‘Boost’ mode on my PlayStation 4 Pro, so I don’t know why I was getting graphical-hitches at the time. I noticed texture pop-ins were pretty consistent throughout my gameplay, but it wasn’t enough to detract from my experience at all. What did detract was that while my PS4 was on ‘Boost’ mode the video output would cut out for a few seconds and cut back in. It got to a point where I was getting a blank screen every 3-5 seconds that would really mess up any QTE actions I had to do, but I was playing without any Day 1 patch so I’m hoping that if it hasn’t been resolved already it will be soon. As teased in the prologue, the biggest chunk of the action is when you actually come upon the ghost ship, the titular [Redacted] Medan. The actual name of the ship is something one may discover while playing through the story, so I’m not going to spoil it here.
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