Man of Medan: A fun follow-up to Until Dawn but leaves a lot to be desired

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 28: A detailed view of a PS4 controller as players practice during day one of the 2019 ePremier League Finals at Gfinity Arena on March 28, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 28: A detailed view of a PS4 controller as players practice during day one of the 2019 ePremier League Finals at Gfinity Arena on March 28, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images) /

Supermassive Games has released the first game in their Dark Pictures Anthology. Many fans rushed out to buy Man of Medan this weekend. How did it stack up to its predecessor, Until Dawn?

Fans of Until Dawn have been eagerly awaiting the release of Supermassive Games’ next interactive horror project, Man of Medan. It is the first game in a planned anthology series. So, is it worth buying?

When Until Dawn was released in 2015, it became one of the most talked-about games of the year. It had a compelling cast with actors like Hayden Panettiere and Rami Malek, a haunting storyline with an excellent bait-and-switch, and it was a genuinely terrifying interactive cinematic experience.

Man of Medan is a worthy successor to Until Dawn in lots of ways. It has an engaging story, genuine scares, and plenty of collectibles for avid fans to hunt for throughout their playthrough.

Instead of following a group of friends spending the night together in a creepy cabin on a mountain, Man of Medan puts its cast of characters on a terrifying ship that appears to be haunted. It is based on the actual urban legend of the SS Ourang Medan.

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One way in which it improves over Until Dawn is in the vast amount of story branches and alternate endings. In Until Dawn, there are different ways characters can die, but the end remains mostly the same no matter who lives or dies.

In Man of Medan, lots of different choices, some even from the beginning of the game, can affect the ending you get. Sometimes even if your characters survive, they can still get an unpleasant end. There are numerous potential endings, all with different cut-scenes, stingers, and final moments with the survivors.

However, Man of Medan also falls short of Until Dawn in many ways. For starters, it is clear this game had a much smaller budget. The graphics are not as clean and vibrant as Until Dawn’s, and many of the gameplay mechanics are clunky. It can be tedious to maneuver the characters around. I found this especially problematic when clues were awkwardly positioned, and you had to fidget with the controller to get the character and clue to line up exactly just to pick it up.

Speaking of clues, I don’t know about you, but when I play games, I like to take my time and explore. Why else would game designers put letters, journals, and documents into their game if you weren’t supposed to read them?

Well, good luck doing that in Man of Medan. In many parts of the game, despite nothing going on, you only have a limited amount of time to explore before the game triggers another scene and forces you to move on. This was frustrating because I had to leave behind a lot of clues, or I wasn’t able to finish exploring to the extent I would have liked.

The good thing is, once you’ve beaten the game, you can replay and go back to repeat chapters. Man of Medan is clearly designed with the intention of having its players spend an ample amount of time replaying it.

I appreciate this because one run-through is only going to take you about 4-5 hours in total. By comparison, Until Dawn’s full game was about 14 hours. I feel a little cheated because I still spent $25 for about $15 of content.

But I appreciate them padding with extra choices, special features, and added content to keep you exploring even after your initial playthrough.

Overall, Man of Medan isn’t as charming and immersive as Until Dawn, but it is still lots of fun. Unlike Until Dawn, it does have a high replayability factor, and if you play in the co-op/multiplayer modes, you can even include your friends on the fun.

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What did you think of Man of Medan? How did it measure up to Until Dawn for you? If you haven’t played it yet, do you plan on buying it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Man of Medan is now available to purchase for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.