Man of Medan Nintendo Switch Review | To the Dark Waters we Return

The Man of Medan Nintendo Switch port still carries the core gameplay and tension from its initial release, but it takes a dive at points.

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We return to the dark waters with Supermassive Games’ Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan, but this time boarding a different ship on the Nintendo Switch. Not forgetting to carry over its core modes of gameplay, this version of the game lets you choose whether you want to dive into the horror alone, tag a friend via the online co-op playthrough, or sit on a couch and play it in the offline co-op mode.

From its initial release, I admit I did enjoy playing it on the PS4, but it has been so long now since I played this game, so this release is indeed a real surprise and had me curious if this new port actually holds up to that experience.

It Ain’t Gold but it’s Something

Man of Medan Switch

For those who are playing the game for the first time, here’s a brief summary of Man of Medan’s story. It centers around a group of friends including their Captain as they set out on a diving trip of an undiscovered wreck. Unfortunately for them, their ship got hijacked by pirates and is now taken as hostages for ransom. But the pirates’ interest shifted when they learned about the Manchurian Gold, forcing the whole crew to set sail towards the storm and stumble upon the Ghost Ship. 

This is the part of the game where things get interesting and change from the decisions that you made earlier. There is no noteworthy change when it comes to the story as everything remains intact from the previous release. The only significant change is the game’s presentation, and I think that is what people expected for a Switch port. Comparing it from the PS4 version, Man of Medan runs on a lower 24 FPS frame rate in the Nintendo Switch which is hardly noticeable while playing in the handheld mode with a few hiccups every now and then.

But things are different when you play it in docked mode where you can definitely notice the downgrade in the graphics, making both the cinematic and gameplay portion looks stuttery. Most of the character models don’t look as good as before and many of the in-game models take some time to be fully rendered making it look blurry.

Another thing that I think took a fall is the audio, with some of the voices sounding not as good as before, although I’m not sure if it’s the result of porting a huge game or just the Switch’s speakers some parts noticeably sounding off, something that is not consistent at least from my playthrough. Though this might eventually get patched, plus the audio is not a real deterrent to the gameplay experience.  

There is Value in a Wrecked Ship

Man of Medan Switch

Despite the downscaled graphics with lower resolution affecting that overall visual experience, the actual gameplay took a massive improvement compared to my initial playthrough. QTE is perhaps the bread and butter of the gameplay for all titles from this series, and I gotta agree that the Man of Medan Switch version has the less frustrating QTEs when comparing the versions that I played. Frankly, comparing it to the PS4 version, the older version I played feels like it wishes you to fail the QTEs with its fast and off-putting timing. So I’m really thankful that they fixed it in the Switch version. To add to this, aiming in this game feels even better, provided that you don’t have a drifting joy-con.

Man of Medan Switch

My only gripe is that there are times when the lower FPS does affect my button inputs, causing me to fail and reload the game out of frustration. Despite that, I still think that if only the previous version had the same direction with QTE with this Switch port, it would have been less frustrating save from the frame rate issue. 

But there are more things to see in the Nintendo Switch version as it got additional new features with extended scenarios and quality-of-life improvements, giving it an actual edge over the previous version. I mentioned before that the QTE has been improved and is more forgiving, but if you still think can’t find your tempo to hit those buttons at the right moment, you can finally adjust it in the options menu. You still can’t skip scenes regardless if you played the whole game once, so going for a completionist run is still slow. But at least this time you can toggle some options to shorten your action inputs like the button mash, changing it to hold completing the action. 

If you refuse to play the game from the top, you have the option of which chapter to play so you can see other scenarios by choosing a different option. Although some deaths are pre-determined by the choice you already did way back at the beginning. This makes saving everyone’s lives a bit challenging, so you still need a lot of playthroughs to do so. Still, I’m glad that this option is readily available and I’m sure first-timers who want to unlock everything will definitely welcome this feature. 

Verdict: 6.5/10

Supermassive and Bandai Namco’s attempt at delivering the horror of Man of Medan in the Nintendo Switch admittedly met a stormy sail. We can’t call it the best version, considering the downgrade it got visually and in performance specifically with the frame drops. It might hinder some “connoisseurs” from trying the game. But what it lacks in performance, it does make up for with various additions, extra features, and quality-of-life changes with the gameplay. These give it a better edge with the gameplay compared to the initial PS4 release and it always feels good to play handheld despite the downgrade of course.

To close, the Man of Medan Switch version is not too bad, but not that great of a port. What I’m trying to say is it does maintain that same tension from the original, keeping it a must play for those who want to play this game. If ever Supermassive plans on porting the other entries from the Dark Pictures Anthology, I do think that they’re on a right track bringing those entries in the handheld console, though hopefully the performance issues gets solved.