While The Medium certainly grabbed our attention with its clever and ambitious gameplay trailer, I wasn’t able to grab the game itself since it’s only on Xbox (which I don’t have) and PC (of which I have a baked potato). Thankfully, there are quite a few folks on the internet who are blessed enough to have such gaming devices, doubly so that they’ve shared their thoughts on the new Bloober Team title. I’ve compiled some of the best takes together to share with you here, and boy are they divided.
Across the board, reviewers praised the visuals, aesthetics, and ambitious storytelling approach to The Medium. Where the divide occurs, however, is in how well the game actually executed the idea to split the action between a mundane and paranormal world, or whether or not the story itself connected with its audience. The Medium certainly feels like a title that’s going to hit differently for different players. That’s going to be a big factor in just how much slack you give the game, which is on the pricey side for what appears to be a roughly 10-hour bit of entertainment.
Read on to see how The Medium stacks up, but beware of some story spoilers:
Eventually The Medium‘s narrative threads begin to weave together… The promise that everything somehow connects in some unforeseen and fascinating way is a thrilling reason to see the game all the way through. The connections to real-world events of Polish history make many of the revelations even more poignant–even if the supernatural aspects are fictional, it’s deeply unsettling to think about how some of the evil present in this game did actually occur.
And to that end, The Medium‘s conclusion sticks with you; it’s one last horrifying reminder that trauma may not define a person, but it can have consequences we can’t even begin to foresee if it’s not adequately dealt with and simply left to fester over time. I can’t say I enjoyed the ending to The Medium, but I am deeply satisfied with how it sets up the inescapable nature of its horrifying conclusion. –
The Medium uses a unique reality-shifting ability to bring a new dimension to some tried-and-tested genre puzzle-solving mechanics. It presents an intriguing mystery to unravel and adds a tangible sense of urgency to your investigations by placing a truly memorable villain hot on your heels. It isn’t able to play with perspective as effectively as some of Bloober Team’s other work, but it’s brilliantly paced and palpably tense. An absorbing and nerve-racking journey from the shriek of its first jump scare to its very last gasp, The Medium delivers a psychological horror adventure that’s all thriller and no filler. – Tristan Ogilvie
Despite some technical foibles and the simple, unchallenging stealth and puzzle solving, I fell completely in love with The Medium. The writing stacks up to the very best in the genre with its well-crafted mystery that explores difficult, often heartbreakingly relatable themes on its way to a satisfying, though not uplifting conclusion. Top-notch actors realize complex and memorable heroes and monsters along the way, and the score, sound design, and art are gorgeous, pulling together an unforgettable, cohesive whole. The Medium is going to stick with me for a long time. – Leana Hafer
The Medium is hugely ambitious and could have been a site for incredible, innovative storytelling. Instead, it fumbles sensitive topics, plot points evaporate into thin air, and characters who are studied closely are left behind and never mentioned again. Even while taking notes, the story became difficult to follow. It took me 12 hours over three nights to play, and towards the finale I was astounded by how a game so short could feel so long.This certainly is a game of two worlds: one very beautiful and one very empty, unfortunately leaving us with a game that is all skin and no spirit. – Sarah Maria Griffin
Yes, Marianne’s world is one of duality – good and evil; heaven and hell; life and death – there is little negative to weigh down Bloober Team’s lofty ambition. Even though it substitutes scripted scares for an unsettling atmosphere instead – something I fear not all fans will be happy with – The Medium is the studio’s most successful, accessible offering yet, and a sign that Bloober continues to improve, mature, and innovate. I cannot wait for its next terrifying adventure. – Vikki Blake
I never felt like the game truly took advantage of its two-reality system. There’s no big final level that tests all your spirit world knowledge and skills… It’s a shame, because I did enjoy the world Bloober Team had created and many of the cutscenes were fantastic. I also dug the idea of playing in two different realities at once. But so much of The Medium just didn’t connect with me. Horror games shouldn’t be boring or frustrating, yet that’s what I felt a lot over the nine hours it took to finish the game. Some wonky controls and performance issues didn’t help improve things either.
In a different reality, I could see this game being something special. And it might, like so many other horror games and movies, go on to become a cult classic. But in this realm, for me, it just doesn’t come together. – Zack Zwiezen
The Medium isn’t even really a horror game, despite the setting and themes, and lacks any scares bar an early cheap jump. For a studio so focused on creating psychological horror it’s hard to see this mildly spooky action-adventure as anything other than a misstep. – Leon Hurley
The Medium turns from a game ready to tackle the heartbreak of losing a loved one — or how that loss can reverberate through others over time — to yet another familiar story about violence. It can’t help but turn the traumatic experiences it wrestles with into trivial plot points to move its story along. As much as its latter half is concerned with doling out big revelations, none of them will stick with me as much as being able to talk to Jack one last time. –
Some of the best horror games of the last decade have offered combat-free frights. After all, abandoned buildings are scarier when you can’t push back against the shadows. However, The Medium’s lack of combat highlights the challenge of letting atmosphere and puzzles carry a horror experience. The idea of exploring split realities is neat, but Bloober Team needed another gameplay hook to hang its hat on, because this horror show is a bit shallow. – Ben Reeves
This clip is full of major reveals!
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