The Medium was originally released at the end of January this year on Xbox Series X | S consoles and Windows desktops. From the very beginning, Bloober Team announced loudly that it was their biggest and most ambitious work, which was definitely confirmed by the reviews of the production after its first premiere. It’s September, and the latest work of the Krakow developer has appeared on the PlayStation 5 console, taking advantage of all DualSense features, thus guaranteeing a completely new experience during the game – and the original one was really good. First things first.
The plot in The Medium – the atmosphere and anxiety pour out of the screen
In The Medium we will play the role of Marianne – the title medium who sees our world and the world of ghosts at the same time. From the very beginning, the woman is haunted by a terrifying vision of a murdered child. This puzzle does not give her peace, but finally a mysterious man named Tomasz calls her by phone, who seems to know something about the case and asks for a meeting. To this end, we go to the abandoned Niwa resort, famous for the terrifying rumors circulating about it. Therefore, Marianne has no choice but to try to find out all the secrets of this terrifying and beautiful place at the same time.
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On the spot, however, we do not find Tomasz, but Sorrow – a scary little girl wandering around the Niwa looking for someone to play with. The child agrees to help the main character find the mysterious man and it can be said that he is leading us through this huge hotel by the hand. Sorrow exists in the spirit world, and as it turns out shortly after, it is not the only one. On our way we will meet a lot of beings who are “on the other side”. However, not all of them are as positive towards us as Sorrow …
Two worlds in two screens … on one screen
Marianne’s ability to see two worlds at the same time greatly affects the gameplay. In most sequences that require it, we see both worlds at once. The screen is divided into two parts (depending on the sequence, they either occupy 50% of the screen or exceed the part that we should focus on at the moment). I haven’t played the split screen by myself so far, and although at the beginning I had a little trouble concentrating on both worlds at the same time, I appreciated this element over time and I think it is the perfect solution in The Medium.
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It is also worth mentioning that in the case of the latest work of Bloober Team we are dealing with a rather unusual, for today’s times, camera. We are not able to freely control our field of view – the action is presented from a third person view with a rigid camera.This is not a problem in The Medium, however, on the contrary – most of the gameplay benefits a lot, because the creators used this element in a phenomenal way and often such a camera setting influences the feelings during gameplay. The moments when Marianne runs away from the great beasts or starts sneaking are especially good. The location of the camera increases the feeling of anxiety and terror, which is of course most welcome here. The more so because The Medium is really scary, not based solely on jump scenes. Well, there are really few of these here. The atmosphere accompanying us during the journey causes anxiety and fear and the constant impression that some unpleasant surprise awaits us around the corner.
Not only scaring and running away – The Medium offers much more
I mentioned escaping and sneaking, but that’s not the only thing the gameplay in The Medium is based on. The cornfield, although it works great as a fear house, is above all a huge place with countless secrets. So the most important thing is to explore and search for finds in the form of old notes, letters, postcards or various items. Thanks to the skills of the medium, we are able to listen to the memories of former inhabitants, using a special vision, for example on a shoe or a container of pills left by them. The fates of these people, which unfortunately often end tragically, help us learn the history of the infamous “Niwa massacre”. However, playing them leads us by the hand in this matter and if we want to get to the end credits as soon as possible without getting to know all these threads, then go ahead, go ahead. However, I strongly advise against this type of gameplay in this production, because we lose a really large part of our unique experience in this way.
The world of ghosts plays an extremely important role in exploration. Marianne is able to briefly leave her physical body and move completely to the other side, which gives her unlimited possibilities and allows you to explore places where you normally wouldn’t be. These two worlds are surprisingly close together – we often have to gather energy in the spirit world to restore the power needed to open a gate or run an elevator in a normal world. It is similar with various objects – things that we find in the normal world can then be useful to us in the spirit world, and vice versa.The normal world is simply beautiful and the PlayStation 5 version boasts a higher resolution than the PC or Xbox Series X | S releases. The world of ghosts, however, is incredibly dark and mysterious. The creators admit that they were visually inspired by the works of Zdzisław Beksiński and you can see it at first glance – surreal views with accents made of human skin, mushroom-like plants overgrowing everything, lots of moss, cobwebs, literally still life, bugs. It sounds disgusting, it looks even worse, but this is what makes for the unique atmosphere and the unique experience it will serve to players of The Medium. The music in the game is also very decent and fits the moments perfectly.
DualSense at The Medium. Next-gene immersion
As I mentioned in the first paragraph of the review, the developers before the premiere of The Medium on PS5 proudly believed that using the console’s capabilities will affect the experience during the game. Well, I have to admit… they were right. The haptic vibrations here are amazing and largely reflect the current situation on the screen – from the slight movements inside it falls in stealth moments, to the incredibly intense vibrations of the controller in the most sublime moments. Vibration in DualSens is one of the best things that the new generation has brought, and when it is used well in the game, you can get lost in it. Adaptive triggers have also received support in The Medium, and they lock up or offer a lot of resistance at the right moment. Additionally, all items can be viewed by moving the controller. The last thing worth mentioning is how the lighting in the PlayStation 5 controller has been used. The closer the monster is to us, the more intense the light is and the greater the flashing frequency. All of this creates an amazing atmosphere when we play The Medium at night with the lights off. Bloober Team, chapeau bass.
One and only scratch
The only thing that grumbled for me about The Medium was the fact that the action was located in Poland – the action takes place in Krakow and in Niwa, on the walls there are Polish inscriptions, such as “reception” or “keys”, and at the same time all newspapers, letters and postcards are written in English, the characters also speak only English. And I do not mind such a solution in games – the lack of Polish localization is not a big problem for me, but it was a bit strange for me to see so many Polish accents of communist wall units, while there is a lot of English around. However, this is the only drawback that I found in the latest production of Poles.
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Is it worth buying The Medium for PlayStation 5?
Definitely yes.The captivating plot, the story told in an exquisite way in both worlds, the wonderful audiovisual setting and the constant sense of horror and anxiety are a recipe for a very successful horror movie. In the case of the PlayStation 5 version, the DualSense functions do a lot of work, which, as I mentioned, only enhances the gameplay experience. Not only is it an excellent horror movie, it is also an excellent game, and one of the best to be released this year, for sure. Be sure to give The Medium a chance, the more that its price on the day of release is only PLN 169, which is a really small amount considering the current prices of large games.The captivating plot, the story told in an exquisite way in both worlds, the wonderful audiovisual setting and the constant sense of horror and anxiety are a recipe for a very successful horror movie. In the case of the PlayStation 5 version, the DualSense functions do a lot of work, which, as I mentioned, only enhances the gameplay experience. Not only is it an excellent horror game, it is also an excellent game, and one of the best to be released this year, for sure. Be sure to give The Medium a chance, the more that its price on the day of release is only PLN 169, which is a really small amount considering the current prices of large games.