Man of Medan - some thoughts (Gaming)

by cheapLEY @, Sunday, September 01, 2019, 20:03 (458 days ago) @ Cody Miller
edited by cheapLEY, Sunday, September 01, 2019, 21:01

Cody and I played Man of Medan tonight. Took us a bit over three hours. It was a really cool experience.

The game play pretty much exactly like Until Dawn. Lots of wondering around and quick time events and decision making.

There are four main characters in the cast. When playing online coop, each of you just plays a different character. Sometimes you are both together in a scene, sometimes you're off doing your own things.

I can't really tell if the game is designed around you being able to talk to the other person or not. It felt like it could go either way.

I would highly recommend you find a person and play this game with them. Cody and I are going to do another run through tomorrow, and I will probably do another by myself, but I think the coop aspect of the game is really worth experiencing.

I think Until Dawn is the better game, overall. I like it's set up a little more, and I think there's better characters there. It's much longer than Man of Medan, but that is good and bad.

I also have one huge gripe with the UI. The game hinges on quick time events. It shows the button to be pressed with a circle around it. That circle is a meter that drains away as you run out of time. Well, there are two prompts--you either just have to press the button, or you have to tap the button repeatedly. At first, there is not visual distinction between the two (at least that I noticed). If you have to tap the button repeatedly, the button symbol slowly fills in from the center as you tap. But it's not clear initially whether you just have to press it or tap repeatedly. That got my character killed at one point. I did like five QTEs in a row that were just a single press, then the last one ended up being a tap repeatedly. I press square and nothing happened. By the time I figured out that I had to keep tapping, it was too late and my character got smashed.

There were also a few framerate stutters during some QTEs that caused us to fail them.

Now, to elaborate on the communication thing, here are some examples, so only read further if you don't care about spoilers:

There were a few little moments that we noticed where we were shown slightly different things. In one scene, my character (and I) saw a shadowy figure run past us, and my character asks "what was that?" Cody's scene literally didn't show the shadowy figure at all, and his character responded appropriately. Lots of small stuff like that happened, and probably some of it we might have even missed.

My favorite moment of the game was that on a grand scale, it's the scene that makes me question if we're supposed to be talking or not.

The game shows you what character your partner is playing as. It shows up in the top right screen when they switch (which is done automatically by the game at certain points-you don't choose).

So, the scene starts. I'm wondering through the bowels of this abandoned military ship. I see the character that I know Cody is playing as in the distance. I call out to him and he runs away. I spend the next five minutes trying to find him. Lots of quick time events to avoid obstacles, and there's one time where I finally catch up to him in a room and have a one-sided conversation with him. I try to talk to him, calm him down. He runs away again. The scene ends with both of us at the top of the ship, and I'm trying to calm him down still, then he slips and falls to his death.

Turns out, the entire time Cody was running from a monster. He never saw my character, but instead saw a monster chasing him. It seems obvious after seeing it all just written out like that. In fact, it was obvious to me while we were playing. About halfway through that scene, I figured out what was going on. I didn't say anything to Cody, but it would have been easy to accidentally sort of ruin that moment. If I had just asked "Why do you keep running away from me?" he'd have told me what was going on if I hadn't figured it out already. It seems like they don't want you talk. There's no puzzles where you have to communicate or anything, so talking definitely isn't explicitly encouraged.

We agreed at the beginning to not just tell each other everything we were doing, in case something like that happened, but it seems sort of silly for what I think is honestly the best moment in the game to be ruined so easily. Maybe it wouldn't have been ruined, but I think Cody certainly would have made a different choice at the end and wouldn't have died if he had known what was going on.

I also wonder how much my choices affect that scene. There were multiple times where I got dialogue choices as I called after him, and I wonder how that affected things on Cody's end. Those frame drops during the QTEs seemed to be the worst in this section. From Cody's comments, we seemed to be getting the QTEs at the same time--it makes me wondering if we were secretly battling against each other somehow.

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