The Medium Review: Well-Done
The world of The Medium begs to be closely examined, to be parsed for small details that begin to paint monsters as something not too dissimilar to humans. Recognizing these similarities, at times, can be even more terrifying than facing an actual grotesque creature. There’s something disturbing about being forced to confront the evils that humans can inflict on one another, and recognize how horrific acts of sexual abuse, ethnoreligious discrimination, and physical violence rarely, if ever, result in a singular trauma. The aftereffects of such actions can fester in the heart and mind of victims for years, an unsettling truth that is often glossed over. It’s here that The Medium finds the basis for its story, one that leaves a lasting impression
In The Medium, you play as Marianne (voiced by Kelly Burke, who does a fabulous job), a powerful clairvoyant who travels to the Niwa Resort. She goes there in search of Thomas, a man who leaves her a strange message telling her to find and help him, promising that he’ll give her the answers she seeks about her past in return. As a medium, Marianne is able to commune with spirits and help them pass on to the afterlife, a skill she’s developed working in her foster father’s funeral home. To that end, The Medium plays out on two planes of existence: the normal world and the spirit world, the latter of which acts as a twisted reflection of the former.
The spirit world–inspired by the surreal dystopia portrayed in the paintings of Zdzisław Beksiński–is a nightmarish hellscape, one where the doors are made of human skin that you have to slowly carve open with a rusty knife, and the inhabitants are either monstrous creatures or creepy mask-wearing spirits. Even Marianne takes on a new appearance when navigating the spirit world, the sleeve of her kickass jacket (she’s so stylishly put together, I’m jealous as hell) and pant leg becoming frayed, as if this version of her is an incomplete, less-human being. But these two depictions of the world are not black and white opposites. Instead, the game posits that they exist as mirrors of one another–one manifesting literally what the other only hints at figuratively. And via this shared window into both perspectives, The Medium is able to explore the trauma of its characters through puzzle-solving and riddles.Continue Reading at GameSpot
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