There are always two sides to every story, but audiences rarely get to experience them both at the same time. This is the new central gameplay hook for The way, an enthralling psychological horror adventure that divides your focus between a dark real-world setting and a haunting parallel spiritual world, with actions taken in one having a measurable impact on the other. It’s a sleek and clever technique that’s used for an ever-engaging effect, allowing for challenging puzzle design and exhilarating moments of cat and mouse jumping into reality with a truly memorable monster.
I quickly warmed up to the self-deprecating charm of Marianne, The Medium’s split-screen screaming queen. She’s a spiritual guide who is lured to an abandoned Polish hinterland resort in hopes of uncovering the origin of her clairvoyant abilities, and her ever-ironic observations – provided by actress Kelly Burke – have kept the mood from becoming too dire in what is otherwise intensely. disturbing detective tale. Determining the extent of the evil atrocities that took place within the hotel walls and identifying the perpetrators soon became the primary focus, a goal I morbidly enjoyed as I gathered every grim piece of evidence along. his bloody trail.
Much of the collection of clues is admittedly fairly straightforward in a mechanical sense, using Marianne’s ability to shed insight into discarded objects found around the world to reveal information about the fate of their owners, for example, or to put highlight the ghostly footsteps that point the way forward. But elsewhere there are some satisfying practical methods you have to use, and I especially enjoyed the sheer pleasure of having the chemical trays for photography and dipping the paper into the right sequence of solutions in order to properly develop a picture. photo in a dark room. (Do you remember developing photos? … No? Okay.)
Two shock absorbers
Of course, almost every room in The Medium is a dark room and it only gets darker. At predetermined points along the main story path, the screen will divide to reveal the Spirit World side-by-side with the Material World, and you will suddenly control two versions of Marianne at the same time. It’s an incredibly stark contrast; On one side of the screen, Marianne in flesh and blood will move along a dimly lit hotel hallway, on the other, her silver-haired spiritual form will stalk through a hallway carved into Hell. . On both sides of the divide, the environments are exceptionally well done, but it is the spirit world that is particularly strange to explore, with supernatural tendrils springing from the floors, outstretched hands clawing at you like icicles from the ceiling, and your general environment resembling a nightmare landscape like one normally doesn’t see anywhere outside of a heavy metal album cover. On that note, in this otherworld you frequently reveal new areas by slicing through sheets of human skin with a blade made of bone, which also sounds like the opening lyrics to the most metal song ever made.
Displaying both realities at the same time is not only meant to be elegant; there is also a practical purpose. During these times, Marianne is able to trigger an out-of-body experience, relinquishing control of her earthly self for a short period of time in order to send her spiritual form to otherwise inaccessible areas in the mortal realm. In fact, the complementary use of mortal and spiritual abilities is paramount in solving the bulk of the puzzles in The Medium which, while never stopping me enough to stop the momentum of the story, still required a substantial amount of lateral thinking. which extended on either side of the Divided. It can be as simple as sending Marianne’s Spirit to deliver a blast of energy to power a broken elevator’s fuse box or, in a more memorable sequence later, to manipulate the hands of a clock. from grandpa in the real world to rub back and forth. time in the Spirit Realm, revealing clues to a hidden doorway of the ghost presences that appear along the timeline.
That said, it’s not just the haunted souls of the hotel that you’ll have to face off against, but also the ghosts from past horror games. There are a lot of oddly shaped wrenches to find, valves to turn, and broken lever handles to fix, which on paper may look like dated returns to people like Alone in the dark. However, it was the use of Marianne’s reality phasing abilities to discover and obtain these objects that made The Medium feel distinct, and allowed me to make my way through. its increasingly worrying obstacles.
Always let them want Maw
The other force that propelled me forward was The Medium’s main villain, The Maw. While I certainly enjoyed the strong performances from Marianne and the small supporting cast (both human and spiritual), this is Troy Baker’s unusual and utterly unsettling turn as the chief antagonist of The Medium. which really steals the show.
The Maw is a malevolent manifestation that haunts Marianne throughout her journey, first within the confines of the spirit world, but ultimately following her into reality. A little like Resident Evil 2 and 3 monstrous pursuers, The Maw cannot be killed, only avoided, which keeps tension levels high as you move from one reality to another not knowing how or when it will appear; he could erupt as his towering demonic form in the spirit world, or as a more camouflaged spectral figure in the real one. Baker brings a real threat to The Maw’s insane mumbles as he walks you through each setting, oscillating between throaty growls and tormented moans, and it’s his heavy presence combined with a spooky ambient sound design and anxious score that m made my way to The Striking Conclusion of Medium while looking over my shoulder.
I say that metaphorically, since you can’t Actually look over your shoulder in The Medium. Well, not on purpose at least. While each of developer Bloober Team’s horror games to date has been first-person, from Layers of fear 2 at Observer at Blair witch, The Medium is a strictly third-person affair, appropriating the multiple fixed camera angles of the beginning resident Evil and silent Hill games that change from room to room. Apparently, part of this decision arose out of necessity, as giving free control of the camera would have caused nausea during the double reality sections.
Yet, while the many claustrophobic close-ups and cinematic angles certainly contribute to a sense of continued dread, The Medium doesn’t have the power to manipulate or disorient you as sneakily as Bloober’s previous first-person games. He cannot destabilize you by diverting your attention one way in order to rearrange the environment behind you, for example. It’s a scary race regardless, but the most disoriented I ever felt in the eight hours it took to complete the story was whenever the camera suddenly changed angles and I needed to correct the cape with an awkward step like someone who had just narrowly avoided entering the wrong bathroom by accident.