The Medium is a psychological horror game with many influences of the classic Silent Hill series of the past. The game takes on the theme of spirituality, which is the forte content of Polish developer Bloober Team in many of their psychological horror experiences in recent years. Their latest game is also not out of this topic, but instead of building the game experience in the first-person perspective as usual, the game switches to a third-person perspective with some pretty interesting gameplay mechanics and exploits. Maximize the hardware power of the new generation of consoles.
From a player perspective, The Medium can be likened to a technical achievement that the Bloober Team has built in terms of visuals and gameplay. The graphics are beautiful and quite impressive when supporting RTX on powerful enough PC hardware and Microsoft’s most powerful gaming machine today is undisputed. This was demonstrated in Observer: System Redux and partly answered my question before playing The Medium but not convincing enough. What is the real reason why developers choose to release on a new console generation rather than a cross-generational solution?
The correct answer is that they can’t. There are very few horror experiences that are heavily invested in gameplay mechanics and visual aspects, but The Medium is one of them. The game has very detailed graphics and its own signature dual reality mechanism, requiring much more powerful hardware than the previous generation to be able to render and keep a stable frame rate throughout the experience. Even the Xbox Series X hardware can only experience the game at 30fps, while the PC version does not lock the frame rate, but the performance is quite weak even on the most expensive RTX GPUs.
Basically, dual reality is a split-screen effect quite similar to the split-screen experience commonly found in kart racing games or shooting games. The difference lies in the split images shown on the screen. If the games that supported split-screen in the past often only shared one screen with two different characters, The Medium is two separate levels with two completely different characters creating notes. The interactive element in it also separates the two characters to show the main character’s telepathic ability in the experience.
Each scene is two different contexts. From rendering to shading or lighting effects, everything is completely separate. Simply put, the development team had to build two different game experiences in the same frame. This is also a plus point for the unique gameplay that The Medium experience brings. Not only does it feel fresh in terms of visuals, but it also makes the game experience a lot more intense when you have to have high concentration and double vision to interact with the two. character in each frame.
These interactions are a very familiar experience in classic survival horror games of the past like finding puzzle items to open the way. Otherwise, it is also running away from the enemy chasing to the end, just like the “boggart” Mr. X in Resident Evil 2. Players explore in different small spaces with amazingly detailed visuals, feeling like watching and interacting in a creepy horror movie. The puzzles are quite simple at first, but you’ll quickly realize the feeling of moving awkwardly, like the old Resident Evil games.
In The Medium, the main character of the story is Marianne, a young woman who has the ability to leave her body and even move soul and body simultaneously in both the spirit world and reality. The game opens with the death of a mysterious girl and then quickly “turns it around” to the death of the father. With her psychic abilities, Marianne not only carefully prepared the funeral for her loving adoptive father, accepting psychic powers as part of her personality, but also led his soul to the golden spring. This is also a guide to familiarize you with the gameplay mechanics.
The following content is left for you to experience. From a player perspective, I feel that the story The Medium wants to tell and show is less attractive than the series of information and facts that you gather in the experience. Even so, I can’t deny that I quite like the way the game’s narrative leads. These episodes have more depth in terms of content with more themes suitable for adults than the main character’s age. I don’t know if I miscalculated Marianne’s age, but the character design is a bit more mature than her age.
The Medium experience often rotates between the two worlds. Sometimes you stand in reality and sometimes you enter the spirit world through a magic mirror. However, the most attractive and scary is when you split your soul and body in both worlds. Everything that happens in this world has a synchronized interaction from Marianne’s gestures to facial expressions. For example, when her spirit world character “speaks to” with the spirits of the dead or monsters, you also see Marianne having similar actions alone in reality and without “co-stars”. Fear not?
Fear and no! The Medium still has a pretty scary story in the usual sense. You’ll come face-to-face with the game’s iconic monster, but its design isn’t as scary as I envisioned it to be. Even the first time I encountered this monster, I almost laughed at its pathetic appearance like a scorpion king and its voice that sounded like it was sore throat. All these feelings are quickly lost when the beast begins to chase Marianne around in the exhausting level environment, then switch to dramatic stealth action.
This is also the most dangerous enemy that the player faces and often avoids the elephant in the The Medium experience. These segments are quite stressful, especially when you have to press the button on the handle for Marianne to hold her breath, even feel her heart rate through the vibrations on the handle. Of course it doesn’t have the same haptic feedback as the PS5’s DualSense controller, but if it’s released on a Sony system in the future, I’m not sure the signature game experience will take advantage of this like Observer: System Redux does not.
The interesting thing is that the game has a story that leaves a lot of emotions. Shock yes, surprise yes and certainly enough to draw you into the game experience just to get to the bottom of the story. However, with The Medium, the Bloober Team development team no longer uses the same old scare tactics as their previous games. The story in the game is more “mature”, more mature, comparable to other aspects that have done too well, such as the excellent graphics, sound, music and soul for the characters of the talented voice acting cast. power.
The game is quite slow-paced and has many of the sounds of classic Silent Hill games with interesting gameplay mechanics from Blair Witch. However, do not expect The Medium to be the spiritual successor of the aforementioned name. Bloober Team chose a different path from the Silent Hill monument when removing the battle element in the game. The only thing Marianne could do in the face of danger was run away. From a player perspective, I don’t think this is a minus point of the game, but the lack of combat elements easily leaves a mixed feeling for those who like a variety of experiences.
On the contrary, the biggest minus point of the game is the dual reality mechanism, which has a duration of only about 30% of the experience. In return, the puzzle mechanics involved in it become more and more complicated, while the story also has an interesting transformation. It is confusing at first, but later becomes more and more attractive and attractive. The feeling when Marianne learned the source of her strength was like the feeling of putting the last tiny piece of the puzzle together. I only have a small, unnamed sadness related to the story, but I leave it to you to experience and feel.
After all, The Medium offers a rather unique psychological horror experience that makes impressive use of the new hardware power and deserves a technical achievement. Although the dual reality mechanism doesn’t completely change the feeling of familiar experiences for many reasons, what this name brings still makes it worthy of a place in your horror game library, especially those of you who like to dig into the plot.
The Medium is available for PC (Windows) and Xbox Series X|S.
Link Download https://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/the-medium