There aren’t many studios on a run like Bloober Team. The Polish game studio have Layers of Fear 1 & 2, Blair Witch and Observer under their belts, and there’s not a stinker among them. Considering the troubles of their neighbours, CD Project Red, in recent months, they may well be the jewel in Poland’s crown.
More importantly, The Medium looks like a further refinement of what Bloober Team do so well: horror games that wholly immerse you in their worlds, and they’re beautiful worlds at that. The Medium has been made for the Xbox Series X|S, and we’ve been baying for a game that showcases the tech. Well, it’s finally here, and it’s free (depending on definition of ‘free’) on the Xbox Game Pass. The Medium is out now on Xbox Series X|S and PC.
But what’s it about? Returning to slightly more traditional horror fare after the sci-fi of Observer, The Medium mires you in a mystery that only a medium can solve. Luckily, you’re a talented empath and can use your psychic abilities to break down the walls that have been put up by supernatural beings. The events take place in an abandoned communist resort, which is a new one, and it allows Bloober Team to explore tracts of their country’s history.
The hook that makes this game a must-play is its duality – and you can read all about that hook and that mechanic by checking out our full review of The Medium on Xbox Series X. You can move easily between two states of being: the physical world and the Out of Body, where you can utilise all of your abilities, like energy shields and powerful spirit blasts. This duality has been used in other Bloober Team games, like Observer and Layers of Fear, where you can see the world through a different lens, but The Medium is allowing you to explore and fight in that other world.
Puzzles and investigation-work involve you flicking between the two states, and you’ll often be switching to a spirit state to open doors that were previously locked. The most malevolent spirits lie in wait in the Out of Body, so Bloober Team are changing up the genre of game you’re playing as you switch: combat in the spirit world, investigation in the real.
The trailer showcases just how good The Medium looks and sounds, and there’s good reason for it. On the audio side, Bloober Team have drafted in Silent Hill genius Akira Yamaoka and then pulled the cracking move of asking him to soundtrack one reality. Long-time collaborator Arkadiusz Reikowski takes the other side, making this one of the first dual soundtracks. From a visual perspective, the artists have been at pains to bring painter Zdzisław Beksiński’s creations to life.
- BECOME A MEDIUM – Wield unique psychic abilities reserved for those with the gift. Travel between the realities or explore them both at the very same time. Use the Out of Body experience to investigate places where your real-world self can’t go. Create energy shields and deliver powerful spirit blasts to survive the spirit world and its otherworldly dangers.
- SEE WHAT’S HIDDEN – Delve deep into a mature and morally ambiguous story, where nothing is what it seems and everything has another side. As a medium you see, hear and experience more than others, and with every new perspective you will change your perception on what happened at the Niwa resort.
- PLAY IN TWO WORLDS AT THE SAME TIME – Never-seen-before and officially patented gameplay that plays out across two worlds displayed at the same time. Explore the physical world and the spirit world simultaneously, and use the interactions between them to solve dual-reality puzzles, unlock new paths, and awaken memories of past events.
- ENTER A DARK REALITY INSPIRED BY BEKSIŃSKI – The Medium’s spirit world is a dark mirror reflection of our reality, a grim and unsettling place where our unpunished deeds, evil urges, and vile secrets manifest themselves and can take on a form. This world has been invented and designed under the inspiration of Zdzisław Beksiński’s paintings, Polish dystopian surrealist internationally recognized for his distinctive and strikingly ominous style.
- MUSIC BY YAMAOKA & REIKOWSKI – Immerse yourself in the disturbing and oppressive atmosphere of the game thanks to the original ‘dual’ soundtrack co-created by Akira Yamaoka and Arkadiusz Reikowski. Yamaoka-san is a legendary Japanese composer best known for his work on the Silent Hill series; Reikowski is a Hollywood Music in Media Awards nominee who worked on such acclaimed horror games as Blair Witch, Layers of Fear, and Observer. Now they join their creative forces for the music and songs of The Medium.
There’s no doubting that this one could be special. The Medium is out now on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S and starts at £41.74 from the Xbox Store (reduced to £37.56 on launch). It’s also out on PC as well as being available via that old Xbox Game Pass route.
Discover a dark mystery only a medium can solve. Travel to an abandoned communist resort and use your unique psychic abilities to uncover its deeply disturbing secrets, solve dual-reality puzzles, survive encounters with sinister spirits, and explore two realities at the same time. The Medium is a third-person psychological horror game that features patented dual-reality gameplay and an original soundtrack co-composed by Arkadiusz Reikowski and Akira Yamaoka.