The Medium: Where Old School Horror Meets New-Gen Gaming
In a world where most games feel the same, The Medium brings back the classic adventure game with a unique twist. The Medium is one of the best third-person horror games released to date. Bloober Team, the studio behind Blair Witch and the Layers of Fear series, has completely outdone those less ambitious games with this amazingly written, emotionally down-to-earth story of Marianne, a young woman who can see and speak to spirits. If the game lacks anything in technicalities, it makes up for it with the chilling set pieces and fantastic plot developments that keep you engrossed till the very end. If you are tired of playing the same-old first-person action shooter games, take some time off and enjoy some variety gaming experience with this mind-boggling psychological horror game. Warning: The Medium is not for the cowardly!
The Medium: A Complete Review
The Medium gives you the old-school Resident Evil vibes, except you don’t have guns. Set in gloomy Krakow, Poland, you play Marianne, a woman with unique psychic abilities; she can not only speak with the dead spirits but also project herself into the spirit world. Marianne receives a mysterious phone call that provokes her to visit the mysterious Niwa Resort, an abandoned and haunted place from where she starts on her journey to seek a clue to the source of her powers while evading the relentless attacks of a monster named The Maw. The Medium is excellent in making you constantly feel under someone’s watch and that danger is ready to knock at your door anytime.
If you are a fan of environmental storytelling, you will find the ghastly past of Niwa Resort absolutely fascinating. Featuring pre-rendered backgrounds with fixed camera angles, The Medium uses the duality of its world to create its puzzles, splitting the screen into two halves as you control Marianne and her spirit form, mostly at the same time. All your inputs uniquely affect both the real world and the spirit world versions of Marianne, but there lies the twist. There are certain differences in the enemies and the terrain which exist only in one world! So you feel like you’re playing a split-screen multiplayer game. You might find a regular hotel lobby filled with pulsating tentacles in the spirit world or a door made out of human skin.
While the two realms are mostly similar, there are slight differences, resulting in the puzzles where you need to figure out a way to bypass an obstacle in one world to proceed in both. Though things start simply, it becomes quite complex as you proceed. You will need to swap between worlds at some stages using magical mirrors and other mystical objects to manipulate the space around you.
So, what makes The Medium stand out as a next-gen horror game?
Death is everywhere here. You can feel it. An earthy, cloying scent sticks in your throat as you tiptoe across the razor-thin edge between Here and There. Light and shadow! Life and death!
Although the story and puzzles take a while to get going, the one consistent factor in The Medium is its chilling atmosphere. Here, unlike an action game, the monsters are not constantly coming at you. Instead, it’s a creeping dread where you have to explore small and oppressive places that can contain burned-out skeletal remains of a home with a few surviving objects – mostly creepy dolls – or an underworld with twisted bodies fused to the wall. At one time, you may feel fascinated to see how the two worlds differ, while other times, you may find it to be quite gruesome. The sense of dread is heightened by the presence of one real enemy, a giant monster who stalks you throughout the game.
In terms of horror, The Medium packs some good scares. Much of the heavy-lifting for frights is done by the environments, especially in the world where the dead reside, which takes a Lovecraftian aesthetic where slippery tentacles or long arms reach down from the above or shattered bones stick out from the ground. At one stage, there’s a glowing red backdrop in a distorted world made of office supplies and imagery from a slaughterhouse with the background sound of a blade cutting through flesh, making your hairs stand up. In another situation, you encounter a terrifying gargoyle-like beast that can turn invisible at any time and gives Marianne a run for her life.One thing is for certain – The Medium is a game for anyone BUT the faint-hearted. So, be prepared!