Scream for me.
The Medium is a thrilling psychological horror adventure that’s mostly straightforward, but a memorable villain and a plethora of puzzle-solving mechanics make it worthy of playing.
I love horror movies but for some reason, horror games aren’t my thing. There’s a greater feeling of dread when exploring dark surroundings with a controller that randomly vibrates. Bloober Team’s The Medium brings a rather unique gaming experience: split-screen.
In the game, you play as Marrianne, a medium who is able to talk to the dead. After getting a mysterious phone call that brings her to an old hotel in Poland, she encounters spirits and an invisible monster that connects with her past. The narrative is probably something you’ve seen in movies before, including a few interesting twists that get revealed by the time the credits roll.
Part of the gameplay also includes solving a variety of puzzles, though they’re fairly simple and while there are some that would actually require you to think, I wish these puzzles could have been more challenging.
But probably the best part of the game is when Marianne starts crossing between the real world and the spirit world at the same time. This is presented in split-screen, where you can see Marianne’s locations on both worlds at the same time. It’s an interesting take on how The Medium approaches gameplay.
Something that is blocked in the real world is accessible in the spirit world. It’s somehow enjoyable playing with objects and how it can affect another world. This in turn makes you explore your surroundings more, making it a more immersive world. I enjoyed the creepy vibe of the spirit world, which combines dark surroundings with rather unsightly imagery – think human skin or a blade made from bones.
The Medium isn’t heavy on combat and relies on chilling moments that would lead to confrontations. Facing the big baddie of the game (called The Maw) mostly requires Marianne to run or hide and while it can be thrilling, I’d wish there was more to do other than just run or hide. But similar to Resident Evil 2’s Mr. X, the Maw can’t be killed so the best way is to run or just hide from it.
It’s a mostly straightforward adventure, and while I wish it lasted longer the game has a lot of scares and thrills that make me want to play it again. Overall, there’s a lot to like about The Medium despite its flaws, offering a new take on puzzle-solving games combined with old school horror.
The Medium is now available on Xbox Series X/S and PC and is also available as part of the Game Pass subscription.
+ Unique split-screen gameplay
+ Creepy atmosphere
– Puzzles could have been more challenging
Final Rating: 4/5