Although The Medium wasn’t the most anticipated game to come out on the Xbox Series X/S, it gained enough fanfare for many gamers to eagerly jump on the chance to play it when it was released and became available on Game Pass. While the game is good, it also isn’t what many gamers expected and has resulted in some negative feedback from those who wanted a different experience.
The nature and design of The Medium isn’t the only thing that gamers should know before diving into this atmospheric, supernatural mystery title, as several aspects of its gameplay and lore may turn people off playing it if they know about it ahead of time.
10 It’s Light On Action
While it was obvious that The Medium was taking many inspirations from the likes of Resident Evil and Silent Hill, there is a distinct lack of action taking place here that may turn some people away. There are no weapons in The Medium, just a flashlight and Marianne’s intuition into the spirit world to uncover the mysteries of Niwa Resort and her own past. More than anything, it plays like a more disturbing version of What Remains of Edith Finch, though with a few more environmental puzzles.
9 Not All Questions Are Answered
By the game’s conclusion, many of the questions that will inevitably come up in player’s minds will be answered, such as Marianne’s past, who Thomas is, and why Maw wants to devour everything in its path. However, not all questions get answers in the end, as Lilianne’s powers, Henry’s immunity to Thomas’ powers, and how Marianne’s adoptive father, Jack, died are all left open-ended.
8 The Story Focuses On Several Difficult Subjects
The biggest thing that players need to know about The Medium if they are planning on playing it is the type of subjects that the game focuses on. The monsters, particularly Maw, are made as a result of a person’s spirit splitting off the damaged part in an act of self-preservation, something that isn’t tip-toed around at all.
War crimes, child abuse, sexual abuse, and mass murder are all focused on multiple times and can be a hard pill to swallow if those topics hit home for players. If you aren’t able to get through these moments, The Medium may not be for you.
7 There’s No Collectible Tracking
Several of the main questions in The Medium are only answered by finding one of the many Memory Shards, Echos, or other collectibles found around Niwa Resort. However, while there are achievements attached to most of these, there is no way to track which ones you have already found while exploring the hotel, meaning you may walk by one without realizing it and have to play the game all over again in order to answer some of the more obscure questions you may have about the world.
6 The Slow Movement Speed
Atmospheric games like The Medium generally don’t allow the player to move all that fast, giving a sense of tension when there could be a monster hiding around the next corner and waiting to chase Marianne down. However, what isn’t shown in the gameplay trailers for The Medium is just how slow Marianne can move at times. While there is a dedicated run button, this does little more than make Marianne jog only slightly faster than her walking speed, which makes backtracking to find missed collectibles a chore, to say the least.
5 The Split Screen Aspect Isn’t In Most Of The Game
One of the selling points of The Medium was its split-screen, two worlds aspect that allowed players to traverse two different environments at the same time. However, this gameplay aspect isn’t in the game all that much and only occurs in a select few parts of Niwa. For the most part, you are using the various mirrors dotted around the hotel to travel to and from the spirit world in order to find information and solve the environmental puzzles.
4 Insight Isn’t Like Detective Vision
In order to help the player find all of the hidden notes, Echoes, and other items needed to progress the story, Marianne is able to use Insight to see the world in a different way and help her find exactly what she is looking for. While this will inevitably be compared to the “Detective Vision” mechanic that has appeared in multiple other titles, it doesn’t actually function in the same way.
In order to see objects with Insight, you need to be fairly close to the item already, as the range that Insight grants isn’t all that large. The only time it works similarly to Detective Vision is when you need to direct power from one location to another, where it will show the cable trail in the room.
3 It’s Not A Horror Game
While The Medium wears its inspirations like a badge of honor, the reality of its gameplay and world design is that it isn’t actually a horror game. There are several horror elements, including at least one jump scare and the horrific designs of the monsters, the game is actually more of a supernatural mystery title, forcing players to investigate a mysterious world rather than the game actively trying to scare the player.
2 The Secret Achievement Requirements
Secret achievements are nothing new in Xbox titles, with most games having at least one or two to prevent the player from accidentally spoiling story points if they want to see what achievements they can get before playing the game. While the majority of secret achievements are story related, several of them aren’t, such as finding all of a particular kind of collectible or running a total of 2KM, neither of which really spoiling anything and don’t need to be secret.
1 The Ending Is A Cliffhanger
Before starting The Medium, you should know that the conclusion of the game is somewhat open-ended. After discovering the truth about her past, Thomas, and Niwa Resort, Marianne is presented with two options that both lead to the same result, though which one she picks isn’t shown on screen as the game fades to black before you are shown what happens. While this is typical of the genre, it also might change a player’s entire perspective of the game and may turn them off of ever picking it up in the first place.
Next: Xbox: 10 Psychological Horror Games To Play While Waiting For The Medium
- The Medium
Callum Archer is a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia. He is an avid gamer, Nintendo fanboy, and lover of weird sci-fi novels, who also dabbles in manga from time to time, usually dark and twisted work like Uzumaki and Death Note.
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