The Medium PlayStation 5 Review

The Medium delivers an excellent horror experience full of disturbing moments.

By Grayshadow, Posted 02 Sep 2021

Released back in early 2021 The Medium was met with mostly positive reception. Now PlayStation owners can experience the paranormal adventure of Medium Marianna as she uncovers one of the deadliest massacres in her country’s history while learning of her past. With the exception of long load times, the PlayStation version of The Medium captures the same haunting experience Xbox and PC owners have already experienced.
 

The Medium,NoobFeed,
 

The Medium stars Marianne, a gifted Medium capable of interacting with the spirits of another realm. This isn’t an origin story and Marianne is a seasoned Medium but still learning new things about her powers. The opening section serves as a summary of her using these abilities to help those in need and her stepfather supporting her. Unfortunately her stepdad Jack passed away and it’s during this section where we see Marianne using her abilities to help him pass on while showcasing how much he loved her. This moment is quickly lost as a mysterious phone call from a random individual reveals Marianne’s personal secrets. Including her abilities and a dark nightmare, she has been having, advising her to come to an abandoned resort called Niwa if she wants answers. Marianne decides to go but will find out she’ll be uncovering something that should’ve been left alone.

The Medium’s gameplay is simple, involving locating key items and unlocking specific paths. Hidden throughout are echos that help Marianne dive into the past with remnants of those who touched the object. These serve as the most significant pieces of lore about Niwa and what happened while providing much-needed links to the core narrative. Marianne is armed with spiritual powers that go beyond this but she’ll more about her abilities during the adventure. This includes defensive abilities that can protect her but even with these, the game encourages Marianne to sneak past deadly enemies by breaking her line of sight and holding her breath. Don’t expect Metal Gear or Splinter Cell levels of sneaking challenges as the sneaking is very simple.

To highlight Marianne’s abilities 2 screens are shown and split; one of Marianne in the real world and the other in the spiritual realm. This splits creates new obstacles since Marianne is limited by both areas, if one world has a locked area but the other does not you cannot proceed until both areas are clear. She must find ways to unlock these paths or use the spiritual world to open new paths since Marianne can separate herself from her spirit form but only for a limited distance.
 

The Medium,NoobFeed,
 

Using this spiritual form Marianne must use her powerful spiritual energy for specialized attacks and charging junction boxes. These are only located in specific areas that condense spiritual energy that Marianne will sometimes have to charge by invoking lost memories from those who lived in the area. Either through objects placed in certain areas or altering the environment. These abilities also serve as Marianne’s only form of defense against powerful demons or moths. Puzzles do become more difficult but nothing too taxing but they offer a healthy selection that mixes together real-world and spirit world actions.

The cutscenes are magnificent as they highlight what Marianne sees and what the real world sees by splitting and showing both. Marianne is seen talking to spirits but also how she is seen in the real world. This split helps showcase how her powers appear but at the same time, the game highlights the importance of these interactions. With the spirits able to interact with the real world to an extent but some can go even further, this being the game’s primary antagonist The Maw.

The Maw is a demonic-looking creature that constantly hunts Marianne throughout Niwa. This dangerous figure is one of the most unnerving creatures created by Bloober Team. It constantly voices how it wants to be inside you and other disturbing things. The chases involving this horrible monster are incredibly intense as it shouts these insidious things toward Marianne sometimes with the environment shifting between the 2 planes. There are other demons you’ll encounter, each of them incredibly designed but none of them have the same present as The Maw.
 


 

The game does allow you to dive into the realms of other people, stages that reflect their trauma and demons. This was fantastic as it provides a direct reflection of the person’s life and how this molded that individual. It’s a lot like a palace from Persona 5 but much more horrific. However, if you happen to die you’ll have to suffer a long load time but these are rare. It also doesn’t help that the player is forced to move at such a slow pace.

Outside of the trauma-focused areas, The Medium does an excellent job of presenting Niwa as a place that should not be disturbed. Dry blood from the victims, destroyed areas, and other objects give the entire resort an unsettling feeling. This is reflective of the spiritual areas that other showcase devastating storms and something out of Alien. It’s especially impressive during the chase sequences with The Maw when both worlds are colliding as Marianne tries to control her abilities.

The haptic feedback exclusive to the PS5 version is okay. It doesn't really add much other than restrictions when Marianne is moving. It's a neat addition but doesn't add much to the experience.

The Medium is one of Bloober Team’s best works. The horrible monsters and well-designed world spiritual world helps bring this world together as you uncover Marianne’s past. Visiting realms of traumatic people and facing against the demon that calls that plane its home. All while avoiding the creature that hunts throughout both the real and spirit world. The long loading times can be frustrating and the slow pace of the sprint is vexing but these are small problems. The Medium delivers an excellent horror experience full of disturbing moments.

A Review Copy Was Provided

 

Adam Siddiqui,
Managing Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

The Medium

88/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PC
Publisher(s): Bloober Team
Developer(s): Bloober Team
Genres: Horror
Themes: Supernatural
Release Date: 2021-01-28

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