After hearing that the developers of Until Dawn were making a new game, I was excited to write a Man of Medan review.
As I had already started to see different reviews based on the console and Steam versions of the game, I decided to buy and review both. In this case buying the game on the Xbox one X and Steam, much to my girlfriend’s and bank account’s delight.
About Man of Medan
If you’ve already played Until Dawn and know about The Dark Pictures anthology, then you may want to move onto the next section.
Man of Medan follows the same style of game play as Until Dawn did. Every choice you make has a massive impact on the game, also known as the Butterfly effect.
Many of the choices you make throughout the game can cause you problems later down the line. An example of this being, you can either pick up an item or talk to another character.
If you pick up the item, it may help you later in the story. However, talking to the other character could help in a different way. The game forces you to choose between your head and heart for decisions.
The Man of Medan review was especially exciting for me as the game is the first in an anthology series.
Each game in the anthology series is going to be different in every way. The one consistent aspect being the Curator, who will appear in all of the upcoming titles.
Man of Medan features a teaser trailer for the second title coming early 2020: The dark pictures: Little Hope.
Bugs & Glitches (Steam Version)
The reviews on Steam are pretty mixed. For those that have positive things to say about the game, they tend to focus on the concept, graphics, and gameplay options.
Both versions of the game have the option to play it alone, play it with others locally, and cooperatively online. However, this is where many of the issues seem to arise. When trying to connect to others, e.g. playing with a friend, there’s a lot of bugs with the connection itself.
For example, unable to load into the game together and crashing on the menu. Some people haven’t been able to get the game to work on online co-op at all, which is obviously very disappointing.
Bugs & Glitches (Console Version)
The console version seemed to have less issues than the Steam version, but was still not without flaws.
The game had many scenarios where you had to press a button in time with a heart beat. There were multiple times I found that it wasn’t registering the button pressing, and even a couple of times registered when I hadn’t pressed anything at all!
I can ignore issues and bugs in many games, the problem is, with Man of Medan this can mean the death of your character. With this in mind, I would have much preferred it if the game had required choices to decide if characters live or die, not buggy button smashing.
The other issue I faced on console, I actually enjoyed! On many occasions I found character models that were not supposed to be there, standing in the shadows.
This is apparently a mistake, where the developers have forgotten to remove now redundant models. However, I actually found this added to the scare factor. Many times I went around a corner to find a redundant model, and borderline needed new underwear.
I’m sure that these bugs will be patched out soon, and once they do, Man of Medan will be a great game for it.
Would I consider this a scary horror game?
I have had a few people ask me if Man of Medan is scary, to be honest this has been hard for me to answer.
I grew up watching Alien, Poltergeist and other horror movies as soon as I was old enough to take them in. So in honesty not much actually scares me.
I felt the game had a mixed bag of cheap jump scares and intense scenes. These intense scenes didn’t always lead to a jump scare, but did have me at the edge of my seat. I was always preparing myself for what came next.
At other times, I would be opening doors or lockers, and thinking to myself, “Well something is clearly about to jump out at me” and of course it did.
There was one time I did actually jump, and this was on the Steam version. Let’s face it, when you’re sat a foot away from your screen with a headset on, even Barney the dinosaur can be scary!
Whilst I didn’t find the game that scary, my partner asked me to control her characters. I couldn’t understand why she gave me the controller but made the decisions.
I’m not her personal gaming assistant, she was actually terrified of the game. She wanted me to control it so she could look away from the screen, or run to the toilet if needed! I can confirm, she did this many times.
Secrets, Bearings and Premonitions
Similar to Until Dawn, Man of Medan has various ways you can interact. These interactions can lead to secrets being discovered and premonitions. When characters make decisions, these unlock bearings, describing what has happened.
During my first play through, I only unlocked about 25% of the secrets available. In these types of games, I spend a lot of time exploring dark corners! Unfortunately there were several times during the game where other characters (I won’t spoil anything here) knock or push you out of the way. This actually stops you from going back if you’ve walked too far.
The bearings were useful in the sense that they recorded your character’s decisions. However, I noticed on several occasions that the game would tell me my bearings had been updated, revealing results of decisions that I hadn’t yet seen unfold.
Premonitions are revealed through paintings on the wall. Again, I won’t spoil anything here so don’t worry! There are many paintings to ‘look into’ during the game which reveal a short premonition.
I may have missed something here, but only one of the premonitions I saw through a painting actually happened. However, I did play what I consider to be very safe. I (and the Curator) confirmed I made smart decisions. Perhaps the premonitions aren’t what happens, rather they are things that could happen if you make the wrong decision.
Is the story too short?
One of the biggest complaints I have been seeing about the game is that the story is just too short. Considering the title is £25 ($30), I can understand where people are coming from.
The thing to remember is that the game has been designed for replayability, with the developers encouraging players to play through the game again hoping for a better, or different outcome.
Each time you play is likely to be very different to the last time, even if you made every choice the same, it’s unlikely you would hit each and every QTE (Quick Time Event) on time thus resulting in a different story.
The game also features a local movie mode, this allows you to play locally sharing a controller between family and friends with between 2 to 5 players being able to join in.
This now adds Man of Medan to the list of party games, and with it being a shorter game makes it perfect to grab a few beers, have some friends round and enjoy a gaming night together.
In fact, if the game was any longer, it would make doing this much more difficult as you and your friends or family would not be able to do this in one sitting.
The movie mode works by players selecting one or more characters you would like to control (the amount of characters you control depends on how many of you there are playing). Some people may end up with more characters than others if there is less than 5 of you.