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.