Like Until Dawn, but with a co-op – an hour and a half impressions of The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan

The Dark Pictures is a new series of games from Supermassive Games, the creators of Until Dawn, which is a whole anthology of interactive stories dedicated to mystical incidents and urban legends.


The starting part of the collection – Man of Medan – will be released on August 30 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Steam. At first glance, everything is the same as in Until Dawn, but there is a nuance – the cooperative mode, which greatly changes the impressions of the game for the better.

We attended the presentation and went through the first hour and a half of the game, and now we share our impressions.

Let’s be afraid together

According to the gameplay trailer Man of Medan, you can decide that the developers just decided to take and conceptually repeat Until Dawn. The similarity is guessed in everything – in the production, animation, camera behavior, QTE, history in the spirit of cliched horror, decision-making system and so on. And this is not so far from the truth.

Until Dawn did an excellent job with everything inherent in youth slashers. The player never knew what would happen next – any mistake, any careless decision could lead to the death of the character. Nobody could live until dawn.

But there was a nuance – having lost a beloved hero, the scene could be restarted, so it was not so difficult to bring all the characters to the final. But a slasher in which no one dies is not very good, right?

Man of Medan, in general, you can go the same way – tightly manage your story and avoid mistakes. But this time, the developers added two cooperative modes that make the passage much more interesting. And in this case I don’t feel like restarting the scenes.

The main feature of the joint game is that all your decisions affect the experience of the second player, and vice versa.

Supermassive Games has added two cooperative modes to choose from – on one screen and over the network. In the first case, everything is simple: each player takes on one character and controls him throughout the story. Basically, you could just as well play Until Dawn just by passing the gamepad from hand to hand.

If the company for a joint game has chosen a small one, then someone will have to take control of two or three characters at once.

But the second cooperative mode is much more interesting. It is designed to play together on the network and at the same time – one player plays one character, the second – the other. Roles are not fixed at the same time, so you can be controlled by the hero in the next scene, whom your partner had “steered” before. And this, of course, creates unusual situations.

Here you build a good relationship with one of the heroes, and then control passes to your ally, who destroys everything that you have achieved. And, thanks to this approach, the whole concept of interactive cinema begins to play with new colors. Moreover, the plot, as far as I can tell, is built in such a way that such unforeseen things do not break the general logic.

In addition, the game often divides the players into different scenes, and one does not know what the second does. So you will get a full picture of what is happening only if you talk with a partner. But will he tell everything the way it really happened?

In other words, a cooperative over the network brings chaos to the game, but that’s the whole point.

In one scene, my partner and I were separated – he stayed on the yacht, and I dived with scuba gear. When I returned, I saw that a boat was sailing from our yacht. To my question “Who was it?”, The second player said, they say, just ordinary fishermen. Later it turned out that it was a lie, which later turned into big problems.

Firstly, I never found out what exactly happened on this boat. Secondly, it remained a secret to me to what extent my partner was to blame for what happened afterwards. Thirdly, I do not know how I would act in his place.

The presence of a partner leads to the fact that you lose control of the situation and get not the result you wanted. And this feeling is a completely new experience in games of this genre. This is the chaos that was so lacking.

In fairness, it is worth noting that I was not an ideal ally. In one of the scenes, we needed to break out the glass, and I pressed the button too soon than attracted the attention of enemies.

In solo walkthrough, I would like to immediately restart the scene – well, I played awkwardly, it happens. But in a co-op, this led to a memorable scene in which I was no better than the stupid hero of the clichéd horror. Now each decision bears the imprint of the will of a particular person, which is why situations cause much more emotions.

Obviously, this concept has a drawback – some partners will intentionally try to sabotage your game. It is hoped that the developers have found a council for such people.

In Man of Medan, the Supermassive Games studio has completely copied the concept of Until Dawn – it is again a youth horror with QTE with a deep selection system that provides a high degree of replayability.

The main gameplay of Man of Medan does not advance the genre in any way – it is a traditional interactive movie. Nevertheless, this time the developers found a more suitable format for their story.

This is expressed in a unique cooperative mode that changes the perception of the plot. It is in the joint passage that lies the main feature of the title, which can give a unique gaming experience.

Only a few weeks are left before the release, and developers still need to have time to fix some problems with the speed of loading textures. But the rest is the feeling that the authors will be able to please fans Until Dawn and all fans of clichéd horror fans who are interesting to watch in the company of friends.


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