Thrill-seeking young Americans never seem to learn that whenever you’ve wandered into a horror movie, book or game, any sort of fun and merriment can lead to one’s undoing. A group of five young adults who go cruising in the South Pacific have a run in with a deadly storm and to make matters worse end up in sunken ship which is of course cursed. This sounds like a strong argument to restrict vacationing to land destinations, but their loss is our gain as their unfortunate pickle has the makings of a potentially good game. The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan is the first in a series of narrative-driven horror games under The Dark Pictures Anthology umbrella.
To expand on the basis premise stated above, there is a rumored WWII shipwreck that is of interest to the crew on boat. This sounds cool and all, but this isn’t a group of ghost hunters or anyone looking for trouble, these are just some people who are having a good time on the ocean with some alcoholic activity enhancers. Things go south, there is some run in with some kidnappers and the good time crew ends up learning that there is some truth to the WWII shipwreck they were looking for, but instead of simply checking out the sights and maybe trying to steal some treasure, they have to escape with their lives.
One of the more appealing things about The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan is that everyone escaping with their lives is a goal, but it isn’t a given that is what will happen. Throughout the game the player will have control of the party and make decisions that will change the outcome. Every choice has a consequence, some great, some small, some immediate and some not until much later but each decision will have an impact in the game world, including the death of some characters. The full ripple effect of each decision could not be ascertained in the short time and limited information, but the idea that anyone can potentially die is an interesting concept that makes this title seem more interesting.
From what we’ve seen, The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan uses a cinematic approach to storytelling. The plot advances largely through the five (or however many happen to be alive) characters talking where the player can choose how characters respond to the conversation, which can have an affect on that relationship with the character. Quick Time Events are also present to give the title some action, but with the limited time we were able to spend with it, we aren’t certain how big a role those will play in the overall game.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan has the potential to be the beginning of a compelling new horror series. The dialogue trees and player choice driven narrative give this the feel of an audio visual Choose Your Own Adventure horror story. The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan is scheduled to launch on August 30 for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.