A spooky hotel and a girl with psychic powers? This is The Medium game review you are looking for.
Bloober Team has a history of compelling horror games but this one is by far their best work. They took what they learned in Layers of Fear and Blair Witch and made an amazing story with really loveable characters in The Medium. So let’s get to The Medium game review.
What is The Medium About?
You play as a medium named Marianne. She is able to talk to lost souls in the spirit world and help guide them on their way.
The Medium starts with a mystery about a “dead girl”. A haunting vision that has plagued Marianne since her youth, of a girl who is murdered by a lake.
We then flash to the present and Marianne’s adoptive father has recently died. She is attempting to get his house in order for the upcoming funeral. This is interrupted by a strange phone call from a mysterious stranger who says he has all the answers she has been searching for, and that she should come to the Niwa hotel. Of course, that is what we will do. Head to Niwa. And the horror-filled mystery begins.
The Medium Gameplay
The unique thing about the Medium is the duality central core feature. Marrianne is a psychic who at key times, experiences two worlds – the real one, and the spirit world. This gives you a full perspective on things and you quickly learn that things are not always what they seem in one world or another.
This occasional gameplay mechanic is featured in a unique split-screen way. The spirit world mirrors the real world, but it a darker, nightmarish haunted version. When Marrianne enters the spirit world, the game turns into a split-screen adventure and you can see her in both worlds at the same time. In the spirit world, she has white hair and a glowing arm. If something is blocking the way in the real world, you also can’t access it in the spirit world. This is something I’ve never seen before and makes for an interesting experience and unique puzzles.
The Medium is played in a 3rd-person view which reminds me of Silent Hill or Resident Evil in terms of horror games. The game is stunning to look at. Each part of the mysterious Niwa hotel is creepy and dark. What exactly happened at this place? Blooper went above and beyond to create a visual world that is both beautiful and dread-filled at the same time.
The Medium uses an AutoSave feature. This means you never have to worry about manually saving. This is a blessing and a curse. Sometimes you are not exactly sure when the last save was, so you will need to keep playing until you see the autosave so you know you are saved up. If you die, you respawn at your last autosave.
The Medium Game Controls
You have a few psychic abilities to help you navigate this world. Insight, Out Of Body Experience, Spirit Sheild, Spirit Blast, and Holding your Breath to Sneak. As you progress these abilities will become available to you.
Insite allows you to scan your surrounding and look for hidden objects or information. The Out of Body Experience allows you to enter the spirit world completely for a short time. If you stay too long in the world beyond, you will die. Spirt Shield hides you from killing moths from the other world and Spirt Blast is a burst of energy that you absorb that allows you to interact with things in certain ways. Usually electrical.
I occasionally experienced some glitches in the game, like getting stuck in a place and not being able to move. Although frustrating it only happened a few times and a reload solved the issue.
Horror Elements in The Medium
There are some truly terrifying horror-filled moments in this game and just a sprinkling of jump scares. Most of the horror comes from an amazing soundtrack and some truly disturbing visuals. For example, occasionally there will be a blockage in the spirit world that looks kind of like human skin. Eventually, you will be able to slice through this, but actually doing it, combined with the sounds. Wow. Something else.
There is also an evil character in the spirit world who’s pretty terrifying when you encounter him. The voice alone sends chills down my spine. You need to use a combination of sneak and holding breath to get past this guy. Creepy!
Final Thoughts On The Medium
The story is very compelling and it draws you in. As you progress there is more and more horror revealed about what exactly went on at the Niwa hotel. The cast of characters is unique. Marianne is an interesting protagonist and you want to figure out what is going with her. The puzzles had just the right amount of complexity. Using a uniquely dark world/ light world thinking style to solve many of them. It was different and refreshing. I enjoyed every minute of The Medium.