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The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan Game Poster Image
Nightmarish horror tale is at its best shared with friends.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The story is one about survival. This can come from working together or by leaving others to die. This is amplified in the game's multiplayer modes, where the audience can vote on positive or negative choices or where the actions of a second player can save you or lead to your death.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main characters have a range of personalities, but all are put to the test when they find themselves stranded on a ghost ship in the middle of the ocean. Players dictate the characters' actions, whether that means helping your friends survive or looking out for your own self-interests.

Ease of Play

The gameplay is mainly about making quick decisions and following onscreen prompts, then watching the plot unfold accordingly. Multiplayer adds a new layer of tension and anxiety to the gameplay, as some choices are left completely outside of your control.

Violence

This is a bloody and violent tale of horror with no shortage of blood or gore. Scenes of violence include detailed close-up shots of characters getting killed, maimed and dismembered, with blood splatter often hitting the screen, pooling on the floor, etc. 

Sex

Characters occasionally make suggestive comments, often referencing male genitalia.

Language

There’s quite a bit of profanity and suggestive language peppered throughout the game, including "f--k" and "s--t."

Consumerism

The game is a self-contained story, but it's also the first chapter of a new horror anthology series, with each game representing a sort of original short story tied together by certain themes and common narrative characters.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some lines of dialogue reference use of marijuana ("weed") and meth, as well as scenes involving alcohol.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan is an interactive horror adventure, available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows-based PCs. Players follow the story of a group of five young characters as they find themselves trapped on a haunted ghost ship. Players control character interactions and make key decisions that affect the course of the overall narrative. The game is a horror tale, with a lot of disturbing imagery, death, blood, and gore shown throughout. Character dialogue has quite a bit of strong profanity, references to alcohol and drugs, and occasional sexual innuendo. The game is a self-contained story, though it's also the first part of a anthology series, with recurring characters and common threads planned throughout.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTheGameReview September 8, 2019

Great as long as your kid is mature

This game, man of medan, is great. Even though there is some blood, there is not much gore. There is some language, but it's no worse than fallout or call... Continue reading
Adult Written bySam Marrick August 28, 2019

Spooky fun for movie night with friends.

Entertaining, but loses appeal Solo (2 stars if so) due to less individual choice and consequence. The deaths (max 9 per playthru; not including NPCs) are not n... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byAvengers endgame August 30, 2019

What's it about?

THE DARK PICTURES ANTHOLOGY: MAN OF MEDAN is the first entry in series of interactive horror stories, each a self-contained adventure with multiple branching plots where the story unfolds based on the choices of you and your friends. Man of Medan opens with a young group in the middle of the ocean, seeking out adventure while exploring sunken relics. After an encounter with brutal pirates attempting to kidnap them in the midst of a heavy storm, the group escapes to a surprising refuge: an abandoned ship long thought lost at sea, now home only to the corpses of its forgotten crew and passengers. The group quickly discovers, though, that this is a "ghost ship" in more ways than one. Restless spirits and dark forces seek bloody retribution against these living stowaways. Now the group's fate lies in your hands. Take control of the story, making key decisions at a moment's notice. You can play alone or join up with friends in either "Movie Night" or "Shared Story" modes, where the choices made may not be yours. Can you survive the storm and escape with your life? Or will you join the rest of the crew in death, adding yet another chapter to the Curator's terrifying tale?

Is it any good?

Whether it's a ghost story told around a campfire or a horror movie in a darkened theatre, there's nothing quite like getting sucked into a terrifying tale. The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan takes that feeling to a whole new level by giving players control of how the narrative unfolds. Instead of pointlessly yelling at a person on the screen "Don't go in there," you get to choose their actions … and live (or die) with the consequences. It's interesting to see how different relationships develop between characters and how their personalities take shape based on decisions, both minor and major. Before long, you can't help but second guess your choices, especially when something that seemed insignificant earlier in the story leads to the death of one of the main characters and you wonder just where you went wrong. That's enough anxiety and tension on its own, but add in the horror elements, where the shadows lay host to unspeakable evils and death lurks around every corner, and you wind up with plenty of nightmare fuel to keep you awake for nights.

While Man of Medan has many different story branches to explore, the single-player experience can get repetitive fairly quickly. After playing through the story once on your own, it can be difficult to go through the same motions again and again. That's where the multiplayer steps in. Movie Night allows up to five players to join in, each controlling the actions and decisions of one of the five main characters, changing how the story unfolds significantly. But it's the Shared Story that really shines and adds replayability to the game. Here, two players connect online, each viewing the story from different characters' points of view. Oftentimes, the players are separated from one another, though their choices still can affect each other in unexpected ways. Something you think might be helpful to your teammate might actually lead to their death. You might even find yourself abandoned by your partner, who chooses to save his own skin rather than lend a helping hand. Admittedly, it can be frustrating to feel like you've done everything right and still lose based on the unseen actions of others, but that's also the way life can go sometimes. And here at least, there's always the option of one more playthrough.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about choice and consequence. How can the snap decisions you make in the moment affect events down the road?

  • What's the appeal of being scared for fun? Does the interactive nature of gaming make stories like Man of Medan more or less frightening than more traditional storytelling, such as films?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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