OUR RATING 8/10
The story starts with Marianne, who is a medium, attempting to discover why she was called to an abandoned building for help.
“Help” in her case, usually involves freeing a spirit and sending it towards the light but this time she finds herself embroiled in a dark and thrilling mystery linked to her own past.
The Medium takes place in Krakow, Poland, in the late 90s, and as stated above, we are in control of a medium called Marianne. She has the powerful gift of exploring the spirit world, a place with a heavy atmosphere that seems to gather the worst of human feelings. Another important point of her personality is that she also lives with the same dream of seeing the murder of a child, something she thinks is a premonition.
During a difficult time in her personal life, she receives a call from a mysterious man, who not only claims to know her, but also knows about her powers, as well as her recurring nightmares. To make it even stranger, he asks her to go to the Hotel Niwa, a haunted place where a massacre would have occurred. Taken by her need to find answers to her dreams, and still curious to know how that man knows so much. on it, Marianne begins her journey towards that macabre place.
Marianne uses her psychic abilities to solve puzzles, fend off the forces of darkness and talk to the dead. It sounds like a pretty simple concept but it’s anything but that.
The real draw of the medium comes from Marianne’s ability to walk between worlds and this is where the game shines.
At certain points, the screen will split down the middle showing the living world on one side and the other side on the other. Marianne’s movements and actions run simultaneously in both, leading to fresh and innovative puzzle solving and new mechanics for the genre.
You can detach a spirit for a short out of body experience to access areas that cannot be entered in the real world. You’ll have to be quick though because otherwise a soul will be absorbed into the darkness.
PROs, CONs and OVERALL GAMING EXPERIENCE
Within five minutes of playing The Medium for the first time, you’ll be hit with a wave of nostalgia for the good old days. It gives vibes of both Resident Evil and Silent Hill, though this isn’t survival horror – it’s a psychological horror game.
The team at the Polish studio Bloober Team didn’t disappoint. For a developer who’s probably best known for their Blair Witch game in 2019, they really up their game for The Medium. The way the developers have combined these new mechanics makes The Medium feel like no game you’ve ever played.
The fixed camera angles of the game work the same way they did for the original Resident Evil games. They up the tension and keep you guessing what’s around each corner.
Having other worldly entities on your trail, shadows forming figures on the walls and doors shutting on their own gave a sense of both fright and excitement and the camera really helped to keep a high level of suspense throughout.
It’s not necessarily a terrifying game, though there were a couple of jump scares. Instead, the whole experience is more unnerving than anything, and that might have been the developer’s intention.
Some of the imagery on display mainly in the world of the dead was a little disturbing and some of the themes of the game, even the implied ones, might make you paranoid even after putting the controller down. The whole package keeps you on edge as any good horror game should.
The graphics and sounds do an incredible job of immersing the players. The real world areas are beautifully detailed and highly realistic, while the world of the dead is equally as impressive.
Where the game stands out graphically, is the lighting effects. The developers use these effects to keep you on edge through clever use of shadows and flickering lights casting eerie shapes on the walls – blink and you’ll miss it.
The Medium isn’t perfect though, the first thing is that while the camera angles are great for building tension, they sometimes become a hindrance. It was easy to become stuck trying to enter a doorway or figure out the way to go, particularly if that location was towards the camera or too far over to one side. This was frustrating at times.
Another problem is the split screen effect. While innovative and enjoyable for the most part, sometimes it can be a little difficult to concentrate on both screens. It was a little disorientating which may well have been by design but it can be confusing.
Where The Medium stumbles the most is with its pace. It begins slowly, giving you an introduction to the mechanics which is expected of any title, but it never really ups the tempo after that.
In moments that you’d expect the game to quicken the pace, such as when you’re being pursued by some freakish creature, it remains relaxed as though Marianne is taking a nice walk through the meadow rather than running for her life.
The Medium is still a good, solid game. The psychological horror was ever present and the mystery was deep, engaging and gripping. The world was immersive and there were some innovative new features on display that were well executed.
All that said, it still felt like something was missing. The game built suspense but it never really seemed to pay off. The gameplay is the most important part of any game, and with The Medium, it will be curiosity that will keep you playing. With each part of the story, the mystery deepened and that will keep you gripped. The gameplay is good but it lacked that special something that could have made it great.
Overall, The Medium is a good game. It’s well worth playing if you’re a fan of supernatural mysteries. It isn’t an action-orientated game even though there are a few moments that came close to what some would describe as “action”.
This is a mysterious, story driven, single player puzzle experience. If you’re looking for a gory frightfest of a game then The Medium probably isn’t it, but if you’re looking for a gripping story of the paranormal then this is definitely the game for you.
It’s well executed and the new innovative elements is very enjoyable. It’s ts slow pace can become a little tedious at times and the camera angles let it down in places, but it’s still a very well presented title with engaging storyline that keeps you hooked from start to finish.