The Medium - Review (PS5)

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Joel Fulleda

Review for The Medium. Game for PC and Xbox Series X, the video game was released on 28/01/2021

The Medium arrives on Sony's next gen after almost a year of Microsoft exclusivity during which it has divided critics and audiences. In this new guise the most important news are those related to the use of DualSense, the Sony controller that immerses the player inside the title. Now let's dive into the review instead to find out if this move by Bloober Team and Sony was a winner.

The narrative first of all

As in its Xbox version, The Medium has narration as its focal center, with a strongly cinematic directorial cut accentuated even more by the choice of the fixed camera. In fact, it is not possible to move the view to our liking but, a bit like it happens in the titles of Supermassive Games, the game will choose from which point to frame the scene.

But let's get to the story: the protagonist Marianne is endowed with a special power, a sort of connection with the world of death that allows her to live simultaneously in two different realities but cohabiting in the same physical space. The girl receives an unexpected phone call from a stranger who will lead her to an old abandoned resort. Things will obviously take a strange turn and it will be up to us to investigate and discover the most hidden secrets of the place. The promises of an intriguing story full of surprises are almost completely kept, in fact, the plot flows pleasantly during the eight hours that are needed to get to the end credits. Unfortunately it lacks memorability, in fact there are no moments that make The Medium a title to remember.

Almost a walking simulator ...

This is perhaps a somewhat provocative statement, however what one faces when approaching The medium is in effect a long corridor strewn with small interactions in which the autopilot is the master. If the narrative catches the player right away, after the first few moments it is boredom that takes over, while we will continue to play driven only by history. The gameplay consists of exploratory phases, in which collecting documents or useful objects will be our only purpose, and moments in which we will find ourselves solving simple environmental puzzles. To move the situation slightly, the most interesting mechanics devised by the Bloober Team guys comes to our rescue: we explained before how Marianne is connected to the world of the dead, well this "condition" is represented on the screen through a split screen that divides the physical world from the spiritual one. The two dimensions have different elements that distinguish them, starting with the color palette.

All in all, the puzzles never turn out to be complex, indeed they are rather trivial and repetitive, leading to boredom after a few hours. These will lead us to interact simultaneously on the two planes of existence (which are closely linked to each other) in order to unlock passages or activate mechanisms. In the spiritual world Marianne has the ability to interact with light sources to be used in certain points to give energy. The powers of the protagonist, however, will also help us to survive the creatures of the afterlife that will attack us from time to time: we can in fact generate shields of light or explosions to chase away the monsters.

Dualsense makes the difference

So far we have talked about the title without highlighting the differences with the Xbox version released last year, and this is because these are actually not there. The only slight difference is the slight improvement in dynamic resolution on Sony consoles, despite the frame rate still (for incomprehensible reasons) stuck at 30 FPS. The technical and artistic side therefore proves to be of a very good level here too. The setting then (which is very reminiscent of the old Silent Hill) manages to disturb at the right point, also thanks to an excellent soundtrack.

What makes the difference is, once again, the use of Dualsense. Sony's controller manages to give the player back those sensations that cannot be reproduced on other platforms. From the speaker perfectly managed with the voices of the spiritual world to the precise vibrations that immerse the player even more inside the game world.

In conclusion, The Medium on PlayStation 5 is not distorted but rather maintains the strengths and weaknesses of the Xbox Series X version. There are small improvements in resolution but, for example, the loads are slower. The two versions would therefore be on par if it were not for the Dualsense factor that leans the bar more towards the Japanese console. However, the problems related to the gameplay remain, too slow and devoid of bite, while it is the plot that reigns supreme, dragging the user to the end credits.

► The Medium is an Adventure type game developed and published by Bloober Team for PC and Xbox Series X, the video game was released on 28/01/2021

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