The Medium | PS5 Review
Updated: Nov 19, 2021
It's very safe to say that the competition within the horror genre is increasing. The quality of gameplay, the calibre of puzzles and the jumpscares are all getting increasingly better and The Medium absolutely did not disappoint. The Medium is now my second experience of a game developed and published by Bloober Team and yet again, they did not let me down. The Medium was originally released earlier this year on Windows PC, and on the XBox Series X/S, however it now joins the ranks on PlayStation 5 featuring upgraded graphics and makes wonderful use of the Dualsense controller's new features.
In The Medium you take control of Marianne who is a psychic medium with the power to take herself to the spirit world. Here she connects herself with tormented souls who have passed in the physical realm but are still battling their demons in the spirit realm and aren't able to move on and rest in peace. The spirit realm is a reflection of the "real" world however it tends to have a much darker and grim atmosphere. Marianne is grieving after the loss of her father when she receives an ominous phone call which prompts her to go to an abandoned workers retreat center known as Niwa. It's in this vast building where the majority of the game takes place.
One of my favourite features of The Medium is the unique mechanic where the view becomes split screen and you have the physical and the spiritual realm side by side. When you move in one world, you move in the other. This makes for really interesting puzzles that are mostly quite deep and require a bit of moving around and exploring of both the physical and spiritual realm. What you do in one realm has an impact on the other and sometimes there are items on one side that aren't in the other. I generally found the puzzles to be fairly simple and straightforward, however later in the game there's a few that really stood out to me. I would give details about them but I would far rather let you experience them by yourself. Despite this simplicity though the puzzles were really good purely for the two perspectives in the two realms.
The Medium is played in a third person perspective and with fixed camera angles. Usually in my experience, fixed camera angles are exceptionally annoying to deal with and I get quite frustrated trying to move around the areas. In The Medium it simply worked and never really caused me any issues, however I feel like the camera angle was the best way to allow the split screen segments to work properly. I feel like in first person view and without the fixed camera that aspect wouldn't work as well. For me, I can tell just how much work went into The Medium just from this alone. It shows clearly that there is a true storytelling purpose behind everything in the game and I never felt like something was just thrown in there as filler or to pad the game out some more.
As mentioned, I was playing on the newly released PlayStation 5 version; however I did watch some gameplay of the XBox version and can safely say the PlayStation 5 is significantly better graphically and also due to the amazing use of the Dualsense controller's features. At various points there are swarms of moths and you can literally feel the fluttering of the wings via the haptic feedback; when you use your powers in the spirit world you feel the tension on the triggers thanks to the adaptive triggers and on occasion you'll hear creepy, demonic sounding voices emanating from your controllers onboard speaker. All of these things are massively transformative for me when used in games and take the immersion to the next level for me. I live with ADD and sometimes struggle to concentrate on movies or TV shows which is a big reason why I love gaming so much; because it engages more senses to keep me immersed. And now with the incredible advances in technology that immersion grows deeper and deeper and it makes me so excited to see game developers making such amazing use of the new technology already. It also makes me very excited for the future of this generation of console if the impact of new technology is already being felt, how much further will this be implemented?
Overall, I couldn't have enjoyed The Medium much more than I did. I had looked forward to this release for quite some time and absolutely do not regret that. My first experience of a Bloober Team game was Observer: System Redux and I loved that, however The Medium felt like it went above and beyond and totally immersed me. The storyline was very intricate with lots of different twists, turns and shocks periodically throughout; everything seemed to serve a purpose and the game simply worked really well. The developers here seem to have figured out the psychological horror genre and just keep building on previous successes and I can't wait to see what else lies ahead for them.
Lj's Rating: 5 restless souls out of 5.
For more information on The Medium please use the following links...
Many thanks to Koch Media UK for the Review Key.