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The Man Came Around Review

Amidst a rising tide of political games and simulators, “The Man Came Around” stands out not just for its immersive gameplay, but for its haunting resonance in our turbulent times. A meticulously crafted survival game, it plunges players into the heart of Occida—a powerful nation descending rapidly into autocracy. Here, the lines between right and wrong blur, and survival becomes an intricate dance between morality and necessity.

Set against the backdrop of mass protests and brutal government crackdowns, the game’s narrative is an ode to resistance, exile, and the all-too-real challenges of navigating a collapsing democracy. Players find themselves in the shoes of five distinct citizens, each with their unique motivations, moral compass, and abilities. Their collective goal? Escape Occida by breaching the perilous Northern Border—a mountainous realm riddled with threats both natural and man-made.

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One of the standout features of “The Man Came Around” is its unapologetic embrace of moral ambiguity. The game continuously prompts players to make unsettling decisions. Will you, for instance, endanger a single team member to distract guards, or risk the entire group? These are not trivial choices—they mould the narrative, affect group dynamics, and even determine who lives or dies. Characters can be tragically lost to avalanches, harsh weather conditions, or the lethal might of the special forces. This permadeath feature adds an authentic gravity to every decision, challenging players to either ensure the collective survival of the group or persevere with just one survivor.

The narrative, rich with political intrigue, sheds light on Occida’s decline, the enigmatic activist organization “The Many,” and the shadowy operations at the Northern Border. The game’s maze-like world is tantalizing, urging players to uncover its secrets and myriad pathways. Not every route is accessible to all characters, adding layers of strategy to exploration.

Beyond the physical challenges, the game’s trauma system delves into the psychological. Characters grapple with the emotional fallout of their actions and circumstances. Intense stress, guilt, and the sheer weight of survival can trigger a spectrum of reactions—anger, depression, even betrayal. This nuanced portrayal of human fragility and resilience elevates the game, making each playthrough an emotionally charged experience.

Visually, “The Man Came Around” is an artwork in motion. Its 2D handcrafted speed painting style juxtaposes the grim theme with an ethereal beauty. The graphics, combined with an engaging storyline, provide a hauntingly atmospheric gameplay experience.

One cannot overlook the game’s replay value. The plethora of choices and their consequences invite multiple playthroughs. Discovering all possible scenarios and outcomes becomes an obsession, further amplified by the additional Story+ mode, which injects unpredictability into the narrative.

In conclusion, “The Man Came Around” is a tour de force—a brilliant convergence of politics, morality, and survival. It forces introspection, challenging players to confront the lengths they’d go to survive and the sacrifices they’d make along the way. In an era of political uncertainties, it’s a grim reminder of the fragility of democracies and the high stakes involved in preserving them.

All in all, ‘The Man Came Around’ is a masterpiece of storytelling, game mechanics, and art. It’s not just a game; it’s an experience—one that challenges, entertains, and lingers. It’s a must-play for those seeking more than just casual entertainment from their gaming

You can get the game on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1104920/The_Man_Came_Around/

About the author

Tom Henry

I worked as a PM in video games, now I'm trying some new things.

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