Watch our review of The Medium, and find out why it’s one of the most innovative horror game of recent years…
Check out our review of The Medium, a new psychological horror game from Bloober Team, the minds behind modern horror stand outs such as Layers of Fear, Observer and more.
From gameplay to story and more, we’ll reveal everything you need to know before you play.
Hey how’s it going guys! This is Tom from UDS and welcome to our review of The Medium, where we’ll reveal everything you need to know before you play. If you’re a fan of all things video games, make sure to join our Discord and of course subscribe for more reviews every single week. You’re not going to want to miss it.
“It all starts with a dead girl.”
These are the ominous words that greet you as you press play on The Medium, and they do a good job of encapsulating the tone of the overall experience. But we’ll talk more on that in a little bit.
For those not in the know, it’s a psychological horror game by Bloober Team, the studio behind modern horror standouts such Layers of Fear, Observer, as well as the less impressive 2019 Blair Witch adaptation. An Xbox console exclusive for now, you can also play it on PC.
Set in late 90s Krakow, you play as Marianne, a medium who heads to an abandoned hotel after a tip from a mysterious caller leads her on a quest to uncover the secret behind her power. With plenty of experience in the horror genre, as well as the promise of some new, innovative mechanics, would it set pulses to high, low… or medium? Watch on to find out…
The first thing I noticed about The Medium is its fixed camera, third person perspective. This gave it an immediate, distinctly retro appeal, reminiscent of the likes of Resident Evil and Silent Hill, both of which were cited as inspiration for the game. Whether you find this nostalgic or annoying will depend on your perspective, as it can feel a little constrictive compared to the recent Resident Evil remakes. Yet by having more controlled visuals, it allows for more scripted scares, and makes walking through any doorway an anxiety-inducing ordeal.
This vintage flavour is balanced out with what’s been dubbed Dual-Reality gameplay. This sees Marianne inhabiting both the real world and spirit realm simultaneously. As both mirror each other, the spirit realm can reveal clues and secrets to help you solve puzzles and progress in the real world. At times you may also have to have an out of body experience and completely inhabit the ethereal plane, particularly when you need to tackle more malevolent beings that are invisible to mere mortals. But you’ll have to be quick, as spending too much time away from our reality will cause your physical form to break apart.
The Dual-Reality mechanics help to add a true fresh perspective; not just to the cinematic experience, but to the puzzles you have to solve and wider gameplay too. But what’s arguably most impressive is rather than duplicating the visuals and giving one a different coat of paint, it actually involves two separate game worlds running simultaneously! The sheer power required to do this means it can’t run on the Xbox One.
Thanks in part to Dual-Reality, there’s plenty of variety when it comes to obstacles and puzzles, and on the whole, they’re largely expertly tied to the narrative in an organic way. Everything you do feels like it has purpose, from progressing through the dilapidated hotel to helping lost souls pass through to the afterlife.
And speaking of narrative, it’s as gripping as the gameplay. Sure, some of the cutscenes are a little long, but overall the plot ramps up to some truly pulse-raising tension, as well as some impressive pathos that’ll tug on your heart strings. This is all carried by industry leading voice talent such as Troy Baker, who portrays the antagonistic spirit known as The Maw.
This is augmented further with a killer musical score from composer Akira Yamaoka, famous for his work on the Silent Hill series. It all adds an extra veneer of quality and pedigree to proceedings.
To wrap up, 2020 was a great year for horror games, but if The Medium is a sign of things to come, 2021 might have it beat. It combines a near perfect balance between nostalgic presentation with innovative mechanics to create something truly unique. If you’re like me and think Halloween should be an all year event, then The Medium is definitely worth your time.
But what did you think of The Medium? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to like, share and subscribe for more video game reviews every single week. My name is Tom, and I’ll see you next time!