Friday, September 07, 2018
Did you like Until Dawn? Then you're probably going to enjoy Man of Medan too, the first instalment in Supermassive's Dark Pictures Anthology; a series of creepy psychological horror stories. We've played a bit of the first one, and the Until Dawn comparisons are immediately apparent, from the drunken teens making dumb decisions to the use of static, cinematic camera angles to heighten the tension with off-screen noises and such. There will be jump scares.
Evidently, Man of Medan plays to Supermassive's strengths with this particular type of horror game, the section we played aboard the rusted hulk of a World War II ship adopting an initially sedate pace to ensure you're suitably on-edge. In the full version of Man of Medan, you'll play from multiple perspectives, and presumably, any one of your group can be killed off in a delightfully horrific manner.
Choosing between an 'emotional' or 'rational' approach at the beginning of our demo informs the kind of responses you'll be presented with, so when your mate Brad shows up out of seemingly nowhere, you can choose to be 'serious' or 'suspicious' if you choose the 'rational' path. Opting for an 'emotional' playthrough will alter the responses you're able to give, and ultimately have an impact on how each event unfolds. Fundamentally, you'll be subjected to the same experiences, but how you react to them changes, and indeed, whether you choose to save or sacrifice certain characters will also no doubt influence the direction of the story.
Man of Medan is certainly an interesting proposition, and despite the brevity of our hands-on time with the game, it's easy to get a sense of the oppressive atmosphere that Supermassive is aiming to generate. The level of detail and cinematic presentation feeds into that, and that's great and all, but what really matters is whether Man of Medan will make you actually care about its characters. While Until Dawn had a cast of teenage dirtbags that you eventually grew to like and wanted to help survive through the horror unscathed, it's hard to get a sense of whether the same will be true of Medan's misguided teens serving themselves up to the horror meat grinder.
For instance, we didn't even have to think twice about sacrificing Brad at the end of our demo. He seemed like a bit of a dick based on what we'd seen, and it seemed only right to save ourselves. But then, if maybe we had gotten to know Brad a little better, we could have made the extra effort to tear him away from the army of grasping corpses keen to feast on his flesh.
And that's where The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan's success will potentially lie: in telling a horror story that manages to compel, while giving you characters that you'll end up rooting for, even if they're inherently unlikeable from the outset. Until Dawn worked because the stereotypes soon fell away in the midst of a seemingly hopeless situation and had you striving to preserve their lives against the odds. If Man of Medan can stick to the same tried-and-tested formula, and repeat the trick, then we could be in for another treat.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan is out in 2019 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
Saturday, September 08, 2018 @ 03:51 PM
Saturday, September 08, 2018 @ 04:36 PM