I really enjoyed The Medium back when it launched on the Xbox Series X earlier this year. Bloober Team had proven in the past that they could deliver when it comes to gripping horror experiences, and Marianne’s journey certainly lived up to expectations with its eerie frights and harrowing narrative. It was an exclusive that PlayStation 5 owners would be envious of, which was something that was hard to come by in the Xbox Series X’s early months.
Well, PlayStation 5 owners are in luck, with The Medium finally releasing on Sony’s chunky white gaming machine. Was it worth the wait? I’d say so, even if it doesn’t perform quite as smoothly as it does on the Xbox Series X.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
I already reviewed The Medium when it launched on the Xbox Series X, so I won’t be going into too much detail about the gameplay here. If you want to know the finer details of what I thought, you can check out my initial review through this link. Instead, I’ll focus on the performance on the PlayStation 5 and where its strengths and weaknesses lie.
The Medium puts players in the role of Marianne, a young woman who is able to communicate with the dead thanks to her ability to project into the spirit world. Following the death of her father (who she was able to share one last goodbye with thanks to her power), she receives a strange phone call from a man named Thomas asking to meet him at the abandoned Niwa Hotel. With the man promising to give answers about her abilities as well as the strange visions she sees of a girl being murdered, she agrees to meet him.
What follows is a haunting journey that sees Marianne exploring an array of creepy locations, all whilst shifting to the spirit world to help solve puzzles along the way. The Medium is very old-school thanks to its cinematic fixed camera angles and classic style of puzzling, whilst encounters with the game’s enemies focus more on escaping than trying to gun them down.
“The most unique aspect of the game comes with the dual-reality mechanic, which sees players controlling Marianne in both the real world and the spirit world at the same time.”
The most unique aspect of the game comes with the dual-reality mechanic, which sees players controlling Marianne in both the real world and the spirit world at the same time. The screen splits in two so players can see both landscapes clearly, with the spirit world acting as a more dilapidated and sinister form of the real world. They both affect each other in different ways though, with some clever exploration and puzzles mechanics utilised between both worlds to give the mechanic some real weight.
I was a big fan of the gameplay and story of The Medium when playing it the first time around, with some minor hiccups barely tarnishing what is otherwise a stellar experience. In my previous review, I said, “The Medium is another thoroughly enjoyable psychological horror romp from the experts at Bloober Team, even if it could have done with a little bit of tweaking here and there.” It’s clear that I enjoyed it, but how does it hold up on the PlayStation 5?
It’s a bit of a mixed bag, really. The game still feels great to play and nothing has been lost in the transition to the PlayStation 5, but some of its new features don’t feel as significant as they could.
“The performance didn’t feel as smooth as on its Xbox Series X counterpart, with more hitches to the frame rate noticeable that when I originally played the game.”
One of the biggest features pushed ahead of launch was the DualSense functionality, which brings with it clever use of the haptic feedback to correspond to Marianne’s actions. Unfortunately, its implementation is far from perfect, with some instances of its use feeling over exaggerated for the scene. There were times when I’d feel massive rumbles for a character taking minor footsteps, whilst other times the rumble would last much longer than it needed to. It just felt inconsistent, especially when compared to other titles that make much better use of the feature. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when it works really well (especially when in the spirit world or when using your abilities), but it could have done with a bit of work.
The performance didn’t feel as smooth as on its Xbox Series X counterpart either, with more hitches to the frame rate noticeable that when I originally played the game. It’s not awful and doesn’t make the game feel unplayable by any means, and hey, the Xbox Series X was guilty of suffering a few stutters to the frame rate itself. I just noticed they occurred more regularly on the PlayStation 5.
Thankfully, the game still looks great, whilst the use of gyro controls when examining objects adds an immersive way to pick out hot spots that are worth checking out. The audio playing from the controller added to the immersion too, though I’ll admit that I spent most of my time playing with headphones so didn’t get to appreciate it quite as much. It’s clear that the port gets all of the basics right, but doesn’t hit the heights that it could have – it doesn’t make The Medium feel worse on the PlayStation 5, but it did have the potential to feel significantly better.
The Medium Summary
Despite the inconsistency of some of its console-specific features, I had a really good time re-playing The Medium on the PlayStation 5. It looks gorgeous, the story is harrowing and full of little twists, whilst the dual-reality gameplay really makes for some fantastic puzzling and action sequences in-game. The DualSense features can be cool too, even if they aren’t perfectly implemented.
It has a few flaws here and there, but it’s definitely worth experiencing The Medium on Sony’s console if you missed out on it the first time around on the Xbox Series X.
– Gripping story that will hook players in
– Dual-reality mechanics feel unique and cleverly implemented
– Stunning visuals
– DualSense features could’ve been better utilised
– Frame rate hitches
Developer: Bloober Team
Publisher: Bloober team
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), Xbox Series X|S, PC