Is The Medium Game Worth It Gameplay Review

Is The Medium Game Worth It? Gameplay Review

Is The Medium game worth it? Now that one of the first true next-gen titles is out for Xbox Series X/S. It is the first next-gen Microsoft exclusive game. The Medium uses its flagship feature of split-screen and dimension shift. The game focuses on investigation and environmental storytelling so there is no combat. There are a few chase scenes here in there but it still lacks excitement. The game has puzzle-solving, split-screen, and investigation but it lacks combat or proper character control. The fixed camera angle intensifies horror and excitement but at the same time, it breaks the intensity of thrill.

The Medium has everything that a horror game needs besides combat but yet it is still not a perfect horror game. The outdated camera and lack of proper character control make it a tiresome experience. The game holds your finger, every step of the way from start to finish to support its narrative. Rather than focusing on blending you into the world of The Medium, the game forces you to see and do what developers want you to. The horror and mystery elements of the game do not sit well with the general aspects even though it has potential. It makes you wonder “Is The Medium game worth it? Let’s find out.

The Premise of The Medium Game

The Medium takes place in Poland. It follows the story of a spirit seer named Marianne as she tries to find out the origin of her mysterious abilities. The game does not have any combat so you can just walk around and enjoy the story. It has a strong start but becomes normal as you progress. Players usually expect great things from a game with a solid start which is not the case with The Medium. The story is not griping and won’t immerse you into the world of the game. It is just enough to progress the game and keep players going. The Medium is not a story-driven game so don’t expect exceptional storytelling. The total playtime of the story is 8 to 9 hours. Throughout the game, the story will not smite you because it is just there to progress the game with some excitement.

The setting of The Medium is disturbing and intriguing at the same time. The game has good environmental storytelling with a detailed setting. Two versions of the same world add excitement to the game. Whether it’s the Spirit World or the normal world, The Medium has an amazing setting. The disturbing setting of the Spirit World and the mysterious setting of the normal world makes it a good blend. Both environments are disturbing and beautifully crafted. The environmental storytelling of the game is also quite good. You can see the impact of different topics of the story on your surroundings. Investigations, environmental storytelling, and mystery work together to deliver a good setting. Is The Medium game worth it based on its premise? Well, there is more.

The Medium Emphasis on Some Serious Issues

A lot of different topics are discussed in the game. Some of the story related topics are quite disturbing. During the playthrough, you will come into contact with different spiritual characters. These characters have backstories that you will investigate. The topics of background stories are different social topics. Pedophilia, rape, murders, and other such negative aspects of society are discussed in the game. The Medium capitalizes on different topics to shape the narrative.

General Gameplay

First and foremost The Medium is a horror and mystery game with investigations. The Medium has no combat and it relies on other aspects of the game for progression. It has a huge emphasis on puzzle-solving mechanics. Despite that, puzzles in the game are not interesting and act as just generic hurdles. All the puzzles are easily solvable and do not offers challenges. At times, puzzles seem useless and are only there to extend the game. The game has an emphasis on investigation yet its puzzles lack creativity, making it a shallow experience.

The Medium has good voice acting and the voices of characters fit their persona. Marianne is played by Kelly Burke as the main character of the game. She has done an amazing job of voice acting for her character. Even though most of the supporting characters are forgettable, their voice acting is still good.

The Medium has a static camera similar to classic Resident Evil games. It relies on the static camera to make the horror elements more prominent. The use of a static camera successfully compliments horror but at the same time, it acts as nescience. There are bad camera angles in the game that will obscure your view. Bad camera angles can also mislead you, making it hard to find your way. At times, the camera can get frustratingly bad and you might hate the way the camera works. Such bad angles usually occur during the shift of angles. Without the static camera, horror would become less intensive. Developers are relying on the outdated camera view to elevate the horror in the game which shows how much it lacks. Is The Medium game worth it for its general gameplay? There is more.

The Medium Does Not Relay on Jump Scares

Many horror games really on jump scares to grab the attention of players. That’s not the case with The Medium, as the game rarely relies on jump scare. Most of the time, the game relies on building tension to grab attention. It will throw you in a situation that demands you to focus on the screen. The main antagonist of the game is Maw and Maw will follow you throughout the game. He acts as the boggy man and help in creating tension in the game. Maw will appear from time to time and you have to hide from him. There is no combat in the game so all you can do is avoid him.

Maw can even appear in the natural realm which creates more tension. In the natural realm, Maw appears invisible and players can only see the consequences of his action. You can only guess his appearance through the consequences of his action. The constant caution of anticipating the appearance of Maw keeps up the tension. He is the only memorable character in the game. The Medium relies on Maw to keeps up the tension most of the time. Is The Medium game worth it for you? based on what you know so far.

Split Screen Is the Flagship Feature of The Medium

In The Medium game, the screen will sometimes split into two parts. It is the flagship feature of the game that is unique to it. One side of the split-screen will show the natural realm while the other side will show the spirit realm. Split-screen occurs in predetermined areas and it is not in the control of players. The split-screen effect is tied to the plot. During the split-screen players can control Marianne in both the natural and spirit realm. Players can clearly see the difference between the two realms in real-time. Is The Medium game worth it? for its split-screen feature.

The spirit realm is not just for show and it plays an active role in the game. The impact of your actions on the environment of both realms is evident in the split-screen for both sides. Things that are not visible in one realm can be seen in the other realm. Players can find solutions to puzzles during split-screen. Inaccessible or invisible areas and items become available through split-screen in one of the realms. The solution for a puzzle or investigation can be found in either realm. It is easy to get distracted while looking at the split-screen. You have to focus on one part of the screen since the solution is present in one screen at a time.

The Two Realms

The two realms in The Medium acts as the most important aspects of the game. Both realms act as key factors to not only the premise but gameplay as well. While solving a mystery or puzzle you would need to utilize both realms. Things that are necessary to find a solution to a mystery might not be available in the natural realm. You would need to go spirit realm to find an item or vice versa. Depending on the locations, inaccessible areas will become available in one of the realms. Players can leave their bodies and travel to the spirit realm to find solutions. Doing so also helps player’s reach inaccessible locations. Things you do in one realm would have an impact on the other.

You can find weird-looking keys to open doors, fix broken handles, or crank values to find locations. Investigation of a location or object can reveal items. Parts of a puzzle can be in two realms. You might need to look for the solution in both realms to find the solution. Different parts of a single puzzle can be in two different realities. Is The Medium game worth it for the two realms?

Opportunities Missed

There are chase sequences in the game with intense scenarios. The problem with chase scenes is the lack of interaction. In chase scenes, players don’t have control over Marianne. The only thing you can do is move her forward through a single button. She will jump, move, duck, balance and climb without the player’s intervention. It’s like a cut scene where you are only moving Marianne forward without doing anything else. Chase scenes are based on one key pressing and that’s all you have to do. The Medium could have capitalized on chase scenes to create some intense scenarios. Developers wasted all such opportunities and let the game do everything which is a disappointment.

The lack of interaction does not stop at the chase scenes. There isn’t anything that a player can do other than moving forward. Even while playing the game in general, the player still doesn’t have a lot of control. You can only move around, pick up items, and inspect stuff while playing the game. Even while walking on a plank Marianne would balance herself. Everything in The Medium is automatic the only thing player has to do is move Marianne forward. Players will occasionally have a chance to press another button for some other action. The lack of proper movement and interaction makes it less interesting.

Impact of Minimal Interaction Is Evident

The lack of proper controls is impacting some of the major aspects of the game. Interactions with Maw are hugely impacted by the lack of proper control. When Maw appears, players are supposed to keep Marianne silent. To do that, all a player needs to do is hide and press a button to keep Marianne silent. There is nothing else that the player can do besides pressing a single button so that Marianne could put a hand on her mouth. A single key will help you to escape every problematic situation. Is The Medium game worth it or not? Due to the lack of proper control.

Puzzles are very simple and the game will take your hand to guide you to the solution. All you have to do is follow the instructions which Marianne would do so with a single button. Not a single puzzle is interesting or complicated because the game acts as your baby sister. There is no sense of survival or the fear of facing a dreadful enemy. If players had more control over such sequences then it could have resulted in some intense sequences. It’s like the developers could not trust the players and made everything autonomous.


The Medium is a psychological horror mystery game. It fits the genre but at the same time, the lack of control makes it a tiresome experience. The static camera successfully delivers the feeling of dread. At the same time, the static camera not only makes it look bad but also takes away much of the control from players. Even with static camera angles, it is possible to give more control to players but that isn’t the case with The Medium. Developers deemed it necessary to take control from players in favor of a static camera. The lack of proper control harms some of its amazing sequences making them look bad. The PC version of the game has major optimization issues but the console version is fine.

The Medium is not the best game of its genre but rather good enough. It does not have combat but at the same time, it lacks proper control despite not being an interactive drama. There is no combat in the game but it does justice to what it has to offer. It is not an exceptional game so don’t get your hopes up.

Is The Medium Your Type of Game?

Let’s answer the question ”Is The Medium game worth it?” If you are looking for a psychological horror game with occasional intense sequences then The Medium could be the game for you. In case you are looking for a game with good environmental storytelling and a new concept then it could still be the game for you. The Medium is also the game for players who are interested in games with little to no combat. However, if you are into horror games with combat then The Medium might not be the game for you. It might also not be the game for players who wants total control over their characters. In short, The Medium is a game for players who have Game Pass and players who expect an okay-ish experience from it.

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