There is nothing exclusive to show off the new console’s potential for those lucky enough to get their hands on an Xbox Series X|S. Halo Infinite was supposed to lead the charge, but its fall release slot disappeared. That leaves Bloober Team’s The Medium as the first Xbox Series X exclusive. It is a timed exclusive, though, and it will come to PC. While it may not look like a flashy AAA experience, the mysterious horror game offers a look at the power of the new console.
The Bloober Team is becoming synonymous with psychological horror; They are the creative minds behind Blair Witch, Layers of Fear, and Observer. With the power of the last-gen consoles, they knew their vision was too ambitious. Now, they’re confident the Series S and X is the hardware to get the job done.
What exactly is The Medium?
The Medium brings psychological horror to the forefront, where players control Marianne. She is a medium, a person with psychic abilities that allow her to solve puzzles in the real world and the spirit world. She has traveled to an abandoned hotel where something terrible happened. The basic premise I’ve described sounds like a typical story-beat, but it’s the execution of the idea that stands out.
Marianne explores both worlds simultaneously to get down to the heart of the dark mystery in the game. No, not narratively. The game renders both worlds at the same time, relying on a split-screen to traverse both worlds. According to Eurogamer, we will play a third of the game in a dual reality. So, it’s not an ever-present gimmick that the game relies on to wow us. However, both worlds will have separate soundtracks. Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka will score the music for the spirit realm.
Marianne can utilize an out-of-body experience. When she does, she is vulnerable in the real world, while the player navigates the spirit realm. Here, secret passages can be spotted where the player can’t see in the real world. She can also use a spirit blast to power electronics in the real world. Unfortunately for Marianne, she does not receive a weapon. You must avoid The Maw, using any method you can to survive. In an interview with Windows Central, The Medium producer Jacek Zięba reveals you do not fight with anyone or anything.
The Medium looks to be a unique experience
Overall, The Medium looks like a cinematic experience like Beyond Two Souls. It is also clearly inspired by Silent Hill, though Team Bloober insists it’s more like Amnesia. Anyone used to the fixed-camera angle in old horror games will feel familiar. The team experimented with a third-person, player-controlled camera, but that resulted in motion sickness because of the two worlds. Thank goodness they caught that; I have been gaming on a monitor lately, and my motion sickness is back with a vengeance.
I look forward to trying out this unique game for myself. Action-horror video games fall flat on the scares, often hoping a jump-scare pays off. The team behind The Medium isn’t looking to entertain us with cheap tricks. They want us to think, and the scenarios we players will endure should be frightening enough. Let’s see if they can pull it off. The Medium arrives on January 28th on the Xbox Series X|S and PC.
Take a look at 14 minutes of gameplay below!