We live with Marianne one of the best told stories of the humble Polish studio
Following the success of the Layers of Fear horror games, Observer o Blair Witch, Bloober team He once again trusts Xbox to bring us his most ambitious project exclusively and during the launch on Xbox Game Pass: The way. An independent but AA quality production with which the Polish studio takes a step further in quality in this great work.
We bring you the analysis by our own means, like you, as players, the same day as everyone else thanks to Xbox Game Pass, a service that, if it already had great relevance in the world of video games, we predict that it will be one of the most important pillars of the industry for studios that bet on the platform to bet on the taking risks in their productions.
And he’s to be enjoyed as a gamer and as a lover of third-person mystery and horror stories, which had their greatest reps and best breakouts from the Xbox Original era and the Playstation 2. Titles such as Resident Evil, Project Zero (Fatal Frame) or Silent Hill itself have been the inspiration for Bloober Team to develop one of the experiences fans have been waiting for the most.
The Medium tells the story of Marianne, a young woman with extraordinary abilities, able to see the spirit world and who has the ability to travel both worlds at the same time. The young woman, mired in the sadness of the death of her father Jack, receives a mysterious call that will place her in a hotel complex that involves an incredible and horrific mystery.
Marianne must solve a massive crime that took place years ago and reveal the identity of the man who desperately asked for her help. There you will find spirits, like Sadness, They will guide you through the dark hallways of the hotel and warn you of the presence of an evil creature called Maw whose thirst for destruction knows no mercy.
With that premise, we have control over the young medium who must collect information from her own home and the funeral home where she worked with her father to begin her journey. The Bloober team designed The Medium as a third-person adventure with stationary and tracking cameras, as other major titles in the genre did in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Exploration consists of looking into the corners of the rooms, aided by the angle of the cameras and the perception of the protagonist. It is not difficult to find objects and documents, just search well and it is not easy to get lost, due to the great design of the scenes.
The Perception extrasensory Marianne is one of his abilities, and with it he is able to see and hear echoes in objects that tell him the stories of their protagonists. It is very important here to stress that documents, letters, photographs and audios are essential to fully understand the story of the young woman and what happened in Niwa. Therefore, they are not just an excuse to explore, but rather a goal that you as players must set for yourself to make the connection between all the points.
Marianne’s greatest ability, besides being able to speak to spirits, is see the real world and the supernatural world at the same time, where objects can change, play with time, or move things in one world so that they have a different impact on the other.
So in a very smart way they were designed in a simple way puzzles although of great quality and excellent workmanship which will absorb our playing time in a very satisfying way. Taking direct references from study members’ favorite game (Silent Hill 2), we will use tools and play with elements of the environment to make our way through the deserted hotel and solve additional puzzles that will tell us the rugged history of this desolate place and its missing inhabitants.
Among Marianne’s abilities, we can move objects to access rooms, activate mechanisms with other powers such as energy explosion, which will power the mechanisms needed to connect elevators or machines. There is no action as such in The Medium, but rather a mysterious adventure with touches of psychological terror that literally puts us in control.
But Marianne will have to face certain dangers, such as moths that can kill us, or The mouth, the entity that haunts us throughout the game. To defend against the moths, whose mission is to cut off our access to certain areas, Marianne can summon an energy shield that stops them, but not for long (tip: run). But of Maw there is no valid defense that is not ours supernatural energy.
This energy is found in the spirit world in the form of cumulus clouds one of which we will absorb it, charging our left arm with light and with which we can activate certain mechanisms or run away from Maw if he catches us. This energy is quickly depleted, so always find a way to recharge your arm whenever you can.
We can also leave our body on some sort of astral travel, thus moving freely in the spirit world but for a limited time. It will help us get to places we can’t in the real world and activate the mechanism or collect items or get rid of Las Mauces.
In short, a few simple mechanisms, a Lantern (a total nod to Silent Hill for its design) and our own voiceover will be the essentials for touring the resort, a shady forest and facilities that hide more than appearances want to show. Ah, without forgetting Bolts, our faithful companion to open the doors after having cut the chains.
To accompany all of this, there is no better ally than an excellent artistic design, even allowing us to breathe the dark atmosphere that Bloober Team has created around the Hotel Niwa. Using fixed or semi-fixed shots and taking advantage of current raytracing lighting techniques, the scenarios are full of details that transport us directly to Poland at the end of the 90s.
But not only that, but the atmosphere that we breathe oppresses us, saddens us, terrifies us and moves us equally by making us join Marianne in this great adventure. But this is not only done with images that border on photo-realism, but is accompanied by a soundtrack and sound effects that make the immersion total.
In addition, the two worlds are very well differentiated in terms of artistic design. The real world is sad, dark, with very realistic but dark tones; while the spirit world is a little more colorful but it reflects the suffering, pain and all the atrocities actually committed turn into grotesque figures decorating the walls.
Nail soundtrack shared between the teacher Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill) to the spirit world and Arkadiusz reikowski for the real world, they combine perfectly to immerse us fully in this dark forest where silence merges with distant notes and reminds me of Netflix’s Dark series or Konami’s acclaimed horror game.
The sound It’s an essential part here, because in addition to the soundtrack which will be one of the most memorable in a video game, it connects us to this place we visit. The crackles, sighs and moans we hear will guide us or try to warn us of possible clues or dangers that exist.
Also noteworthy is the cast of actors who gave their voices and loaned their bodies to capture movement and despite only English voices being available the performance was outstanding. The added value is the localization to Spanish from Europe and other languages, with the possibility of different sizes of subtitles, a transparent background to highlight or a black background for greater visibility.
The address The game is exceptional and the writers were able to relate the different events that take place at different times by means of audios in memorabilia, documents and postcards. Stories that intersect, without apparent connection but which have been able to connect in a very intelligent way. But that’s where you come in, because your goal as a player is to put together all you can to have the whole story and not just a part of it.
And that in about 8-10 hours of playtime becomes one of the best told stories I’ve ever enjoyed, with the perfect length and narrative depth that makes it the best Bloober Team game to date. Replayability is an option here if you missed something, if you (like me) left some unexplored nooks and crannies that would have led you to a secret in the story and the other characters.
Plus, due to the simplicity of the puzzles and the clever way to hide all the interesting things that tell us more about the story, it’s no surprise that when it’s done you wanted to give it a spin and take advantage of its setting in a different way, its atmosphere full of sadness and melancholy, and the strength of its characters.
In conclusion, The Medium is an essential title for the beginning of this new generation, which despite some slightly outdated animations, has an impeccable invoice in terms of decor, atmosphere and musical accompaniment. The level of decor detail can be disgusting, but it leaves us postcards with every camera change, so you’ll waste time immortalizing those moments with a few captures.
A story for adults, with a lot of mystery and a natural theme that hooks from the first moment, and a clever narrative that will delight lovers of the genre. Bloober Team is not having fun, as the game is sad, heartbreaking, and cruel, but we will always remember its interesting characters, which you can immediately love or hate as the case may be.
Finally, tell yourself that this is a very personal view of The Medium, and that you yourself are the judges / judges; I invite you to try it as soon as you have the chance. It thus becomes a title highly recommended, and while this is more of a narrative adventure, the continuing tension makes it a very rewarding experience as a player.
Support is available at Xbox Series X | S and PC with Windows 10, also available on Steam, using 4K, HDR, Dolby Atmos and Raytracing resolutions at 30 FPS.
- Excellent setting and atmosphere
- Double reality
- The soundtrack is a delight
- The story
- Small performance drops