Xbox Series X Review: The Medium

Can Bloober Team strike horror into you once again?

Become a medium living in two different worlds: the real one and the spirit one. Haunted by the vision of a child’s murder, you travel to an abandoned hotel resort, which many years ago became the stage of an unthinkable tragedy. There you begin your search for difficult answers. As a medium with access to both worlds, you have a wider perspective and can see more clearly that there’s no one simple truth to what others perceive. Nothing is what it seems, everything has another side. The Medium features a “dual” soundtrack by Bloober Team’s Arkadiusz Reikowski and legendary composer Akira Yamaoka of Silent Hill fame.

Bloober Team has done some superb horror games like Observer and Layers of Fear so to see them work on a new project that had some serious Silent Hill vibes was definitely right up my alley. The Medium does things a little differently to most games as at times it will split the screen directly into two halves where you play in two realities but at the same time. It’s an intriguing concept as you don’t always know which half you need to be paying the most attention to as you try and push forward through whatever obstacle is in your way. Your character has other powers she can use in the spirit realm but that also impact the real world too.

For example, you can find a power source in the spirit realm and go to a door that needs powering up and fire it into the fuse box (which might be covered in bones or guts or other strange looking things) and it will open in both realities. The game also pays homage to older horror games like the original Resident Evil and Silent Hill games by having fixed camera angles that switch when you enter new areas, making things feel more familiar and spookier thanks to good old nostalgia.

There are a good number of collectibles to be found and spirits that need help passing over with your help. The spirit reality is seriously unnerving and getting both worlds to run side by side is an impressive feat for the new Xbox Series X/S. I was playing on XSX and it ran smoothly and the load times were short.

The visuals were a mixed bag with the character models looking a bit dated, but the worlds themselves were highly detailed and there are some breathtaking looking visuals nearer the end of the game. The voice-acting is believable and memorable while the soundtrack is superb thanks to the joint efforts of Bloober Team’s Arkadiusz Reikowski and legendary composer Akira Yamaoka of Silent Hill fame.

The Verdict

The Medium is one hell of a horror game that will stick with me for years to come. It has a story that I don’t think I’ll be forgetting anytime soon, it handles like a classic horror game and pushes the hardware of the Series X far with it’s unique twist on the use of split-screen. Definitely one of the sleeper hits of 2021.

Score: 8.5