The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan is an interactive drama survival horror video game developed by Supermassive Games and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. The game follows a group of young adults trapped aboard a ghost ship, drawing inspiration from the real-world mystery of the SS Ourang Medan. Players navigate a branching narrative through decision-making, contributing to the game’s impressive replayability. While it takes its time to set the stage, Man of Medan is a spine-chilling journey worth taking for any fan of the horror genre.
Let’s dive right into the heart of the game – its visual execution. Man of Medan boasts an incredibly high-quality graphical presentation, with detailed and realistic character models that make the experience genuinely immersive. This level of detail creates an unsettling authenticity that pairs perfectly with the game’s eerie setting. Plenty of effort has been put into ensuring the character’s facial expressions accurately convey the range of emotions that this adventure will trigger.
The premise of the game is executed impeccably. It plays on the fears of the unknown and the claustrophobic, decayed confines of an old ship. The setting of the haunted ship is hauntingly eerie, filled with anxiety-inducing hallways that build up suspense and fear as you navigate through them. The overall atmosphere is undeniably sinister and chilling, contributing to the game’s genuine scares.
The ship itself is just perfect. An abandoned military ship that has been floating in the oceans since the Vietnam time period. What sort of force could completely eradicate a ship filled with trained soldiers? The kind that is going to scare the hell out of you when a group of teenagers are stuck on board.
A highlight of Man of Medan is the well-delivered horror elements, which surpass its predecessor, The Dark Pictures: Little Hope. The game masterfully serves up a blend of jump scares and psychological horror. Additionally, the narrative links between notes left by past soldiers and the current-day events make for an engrossing, layered storyline that will keep players eagerly collecting every shred of information they can find.
The majority of the game will have you exploring the ship and trying to unravel the mystery. Quick time events are implemented quite well in that failing them doesn’t result in a game over but rather a different outcome. It is possible to complete the game with both everyone getting killed and everyone surviving. It all comes down to your decisions and abilities to complete all of the QTEs.
Unfortunately, the game is a bit slow to get off the ground. While the detailed exposition serves the storyline, some players may find the pace at the outset rather sluggish. Despite this, the eventual payoff is undeniably worth the build-up. It is a somewhat necessary introduction but does little to really make you care about the characters or built much of a bond with them.