The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan was the first entry for The Dark Pictures Anthology that was released back in 2019 which we gave our first impressions on. Fast forward four years later in 2023, Man of Medan spookily sails its way into the Nintendo Switch which I was excited to try out considering that I enjoyed my overall experience on the PC version which had likeable characters, tense moments that genuinely got me scared and a pretty solid narrative.
For those unfamiliar, Man of Medan is a branching cinematic horror game that can also be played online with a friend. It is similar to games such as Until Dawn or Detroit Become Human which has you making choices be it in the character’s actions or dialogue in key moments. With these choices, certain events will lead up to certain outcomes which will transform the narrative accordingly.
Long Story Short
As this is my second time playing the game the main focus of this review will mostly be on the Graphics as well as the Performance of the game on the Nintendo Switch hardware. But for those unfamiliar with the game, a quick rundown of the narrative and the game’s overall premise would be as follows. Man of Medan brings supernatural horror to the South Pacific as five friends set sail on a holiday diving trip, with a rumored WWII wreck to find.
From here you will be introduced to different characters with different personalities and relationships with each other that will be a key element in how the story will be shaped up. You have Conrad, Julia, Felicite DuBois, Bradley Smith and Alex Smith, all of whom are tied to one another in more ways than one. For example, Alex Smith is Julia’s boyfriend and is also Bradley Smith’s older brother.
Trouble ensues as the group is boarded by pirates during their trip and they are taken on a slight detour to which lead them to an abandoned ship called the SS Ourang Medan. While investigating the ship looking for treasure, the main protagonists-now hostages, have to follow the Pirates demands exploring the ship where supernatural occurrences happen which challenges the group psychologically and physically as they attempt to escape the pirates and leave the haunted ship.
I personally found the story quite engaging but relatively short as I finished the entire campaign in less than five hours. The character motivations and actions choices that were presented did felt believable given the situation and if you played well and considered the character’s relationships with each other you could potentially get everyone out. Unfortunately, I made one wrong choice towards the end which did get one of the five main protagonists killed.
Your Actions Matter
Gameplay-wise, aside from the choice system in the character’s dialogue and actions. The game also has you identifying items which may prove useful in the long run where you could pick up certain objects and inspect the item thoroughly. There are also QTE events that are present, mostly in controlling your heartbeat during really tense moments to calm your character down, lest they panic and give away their position during those moments which may spell certain death for them.
The Graphics in the Switch port of the game unfortunately do feel like they were downgraded a tad too much in certain instances at least for me. The loss of details in both handheld and dock mode when compared to the PC version were quite noticeable and in some instances even resulted in moments as below which looked like the boat was hovering above the water rather than floating on it.
Thankfully this issue does not persist throughout the game as the moments within the abandoned ship still manages to retain its overall spooky ambience. (which is where a majority of the game will be spent) A cinematic game does rely heavily on its atmosphere to keep players within the moment and I am glad that the ghost ship can still creep me out at times when exploring it.
On a more positive note, the character models still maintain their overall graphical fidelity during gameplay, which is great as the subtle nuances and detailed facial expressions that hint at what the characters are feeling during certain moments could be easily conveyed. I definitely could see and feel the emotions coming from the characters during those close up moments which is a huge appeal of the gameplay for me as it helps with the immersion.
While the Switch version of Man of Medan is capped at 24 FPS, it did not affect my overall experience as a whole. The overall slow-burn nature of its narrative and gameplay did not require faster frames to immerse myself in it. While it does feel choppy in some instances, particularly in areas where there are many things happening on screen, those were far and few in between and did not give any major negative impact during my run.
However, there is one issue in its performance that I feel needs to be highlighted. While I cant attribute it fully to the game as it could also be my hardware issue, specifically the Joycons, but the characters in the game are quite cumbersome to move. They require a much forceful push on the analog stick to get them going where you want them to, which in certain moments that require precise movements may result in some frustrating results.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan for the Nintendo Switch unfortunately does provide a less than favorable experience for me since I played it on my PC which could showcase better graphics. However, with that being said, I still think it is a good port regardless for those looking for a cinematic horror type of game to play on their Nintendo Switch.
The Nintendo Switch version also comes complete with the additional contents offered such as the extended chapter “Flooded” and the Curator’s Cut game mode which did not come with the full release on PC when it first launched in 2019.
While the Nintendo Switch version does have its faults specifically in the Graphical elements of the game with the loss of texture and details in certain areas which may be immersion breaking for some, as well as the issues with character movements, I genuinely believe that the freedom to play the game anywhere you want definitely supersedes those issues and will attract the type of players who take their games-on-the-go.
Overall the experience was just as engaging as it was on the PC all those years ago despite it not looking as great at times but given the choice, I would probably stick to the PC version of the game as it offers a much more immersive and smoother experience.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan is available now on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series XlS and Microsoft Windows. You may find further details regarding the game at their official website.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan was reviewed on Nintendo Switch and the code was provided by the Publisher.
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