The Medium takes a standard approach and does something unique within its gameplay.
Looking at it head-on, your first impression would be that it is Resident Evil without any combat and a dash more puzzle-focused.
The Medium does bring a unique aspect to the table with its otherworld, but is it enough to call it amazing?
The Medium Video TimeStamps:
- 0:00 Hello and Welcome
- 0:42 Building a Photograph
- 6:05 Exploring the Otherworld
- 15:07 The Normal World has Awakened
- 23:55 Once More into the Otherworld
- 27:50 Run, Then Run Faster!
- 30:35 Is The Medium Amazing?
Table of Contents
- Becoming a Medium
- Flickering into the Gameplay
- Frame Rate Drops and Other Issues
- Is The Medium Amazing?
Let’s jump into the otherworld! Make sure you grab a flashlight and as we jump into this deep dive!
Becoming a Medium
The basic breakdown is that you are Marianne, a medium who can go between two different worlds.
I like to call it the Otherworld as you spend a fair amount of time between the two: the normal world and the Otherworld.
The aspect that makes this game interesting is that during certain sections of the game you will inhabit both worlds at the same time, or one or the other depending on what the puzzle is asking of you.
This isn’t to say that the puzzles are anything challenging, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
The game takes you to a creepy building called Niwa to investigate the origin of these crazy powers.
From here you’ll be solving puzzles, running from monsters, and jumping back and forth to solve everything in your path.
The game is very linear as you do things in a set path, but since you revisit the same area with some small changes it always feels new and consistently gets more terrifying.
There’s a big mystery to unravel and although it can be a bit confusing, you’re almost always pointed in the right direction.
Flickering into the Gameplay
Marianne has a lot of powers at her disposal which is incredibly helpful as she needs as much as possible to take on everything trying to brutally murder her.
The name of the game isn’t combat, it’s all about puzzle-solving for survival.
You enter a room, solve the puzzle and move on, not rocket science here. The biggest problem is when you’re asked to do something fast, like run away from a monster.
This is not well done and at 6:05 I tend to die a lot from a running away section that did not feel the least bit polished.
I got stuck in the environment, ran into a door that immediately killed me, the run button didn’t work, yatta, yatta, yatta. The list goes on. Be sure to watch the video to see just how bad it is!
You’re also shown a mechanic to hold your breath to hide from the enemies, but unfortunately, it is not well done.
It feels like an afterthought like it was thrown in towards the end of development to make the game feel longer. There are no stakes here and the way you hide is pretty funny.
You spend a lot of time running through a location, picking up everything that has a button prompt, and then mashing it all together to move forward.
Two separate realms make it all seem like one place with one being more or less destroyed.
Some cool moments utilize the mechanics, such as using time manipulation, tuning a radio to hear into the world, and putting masks on dead husks to help them move on.
But it all boils down to the simple actions of moving this thing to the other thing and hoping that A equals B.
Frame Rate Drops and Other Issues
The frame rate dropped a few times throughout the video, and I take a second to point one out at 20:10.
From my perspective, this was supposed to be the crown jewel of the Xbox Series X, a true first-party masterclass. The game was going to showcase its true power by having two different planes of existence be explorable at the same time.
It all feels hollow the more you play and I realize that while it may not be smoke and mirrors, it didn’t get enough time to fully come together.
I know earlier I mentioned that some of the buttons didn’t feel responsive but it snowballs into a big problem in the chase sections. When you add in an action set piece it should complement the gameplay that is already established, not spin it on its head for intense action moments.
The Medium feels as if it doesn’t know what kind of game it wants to be, whether it’s a stealth game, something more action-heavy running, or just puzzle solving.
It juggles all three and doesn’t quite hit any of the marks.
Is The Medium Amazing?
The Medium was supposed to be a showcase of the true power of the Xbox Series X and it just fumbles all over itself.
Once you get past the selling point of being in two worlds at once what’s presented to you is fairly hollow.
If I play any more of the game, I just want to see it completed, not because I’m a diehard fan of the gameplay or story.
I just can’t recommend it due to the flaws and the gameplay that is too all over the place. I think it’s time for this medium to retire.