The Medium, A Psychological Thriller – Beginner’s Guide
The Medium is a psychological horror game that mashes the ole’ psychic detective trope with actual horror. Developed by the Bloober Team the same people that brought us Blair Witch and Layers of Fear. You play as Mariane a Polish orphan slash Medium that is haunted by visions of a child’s murder. Following these visions, you travel to an abandoned hotel resort to search for some difficult answers.
In this game, a Medium is someone that can cross the border between worlds – the living and the spirit. Nothing is what it seems, everything has another side. Use your Medium powers to see, hear and experience more than others. With every new perspective, you will change your perception of what happened.
The Medium launched last week and is one of the Top 10 games of January 2021 (full list here). While the game does a good job of explaining the mechanics there’s room for improvement which is where we come in. If you’ve already got the game or are thinking about trying it out let’s get into our beginner’s guide.
Use Insight On Everything
Insight is one of the main powers in The Medium and it works just like Detective Mode in Batman: Arkham. You’ll want to press and hold down LB or Ctrl every time you enter a new room. Or just basically the majority of the time.
Using Insight will highlight useful items nearby in white, making them easier to spot. And in some cases, you’ll be forced to use Insight to detect objects, otherwise, the character will not always understand your intentions.
Pro Tip: If you’re playing on the PC I’d recommend re-binding the Insight Ctrl button to another one for easier playability. I used my Mouse Button 4.
Certain items can also be inspected further by using Insight. Look for the Insight notice in the bottom left of the screen and then rotate the item fully to check if there’s an echo in it. If you find one position the item so the crack is aligned with the center of the screen and if done correctly, you’ll get an optional bit of story. Usually something that has to do with the room you’re currently in.
Not all items give you the ability to use Insight on them, so just look for the notice in the bottom left to be sure.
You’ll find a lot of interesting objects in The Medium. Some of them are directly related to the plot, others count as secrets, and the rest simply contribute to the game’s atmosphere.
Listen – Preferably With Headphones
The Medium recommends that you wear headphones to play and we do too. While exploring the world, you’ll often be searching for echoes of the past. While these can be spotted with Insight, you can also hear whispers in the background which indicate an echo is near. Those whispers are much easier to hear if you’re wearing headphones.
Other audio cues include character conversations that will more often than not tell you their aims. As well as moths. Listen for moths. In The Medium, there isn’t combat, but the sections with moths will need you to shield. Only the supernatural version of Marianne can do this.
So put on a pair of headphones or crank up the volume and listen for those audio cues.
Pro Tip: Go to the Options > Settings > Audio to change the Audio Profile to the Headset option. This will make the game sound even better coming through your headset.
Focus On Both Realities In Split-Screen
One of the more unique aspects of the game is that you’re able to control Mairanne from both realities simultaneously in split-screen. Often times, it’s easy to only focus on one reality but we highly recommend paying attention to both at the same time.
Sometimes, an item might only be available in one reality. Or perhaps the same item is available across both, but it might do different things depending on which version of Marianne interacts with it. It pay to give attention to both screens and be on the lookout for the white dots that represent interactable items.
Spirit Energy Level Indicators Are On Your Arm
The Medium doesn’t exactly tell you how much spirit energy your character has while in the spiritual world. However, you may have noticed that when energy is absorbed by a spirit in the spirit world, you’ll see Marianne’s arm glow white with rings of energy around it. The further down the arm those rings go will tell you how much energy is left.
Each time you’re in a situation where spiritual energy is needed, you’ll have the opportunity to return multiple times to the corresponding spirit well in that area to recharge if you need to. You don’t want to waste spirit energy, but don’t be afraid to use it if you feel like you need to.
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Stealth Tips For The Monster
Sleuthing, investigation and exploration are some of the core mechanics of The Medium, but the game does have some tricky stealth sections that you’ll need to go through as well. This includes sneaking past the monster, and if you get caught then it’s game over. Here are some tips to keep you alive.
In the real world, the enemy cannot see you (and you can only see a slight outline of it), but it can hear you. Use Insight to see an arrow that indicates how alert the enemy is, represented by colors. White means it’s not aware, yellow means it’s getting close, and red means danger.
When sneaking by and waiting to not get caught you can hold your breath. But make sure you don’t do it for too long because she’ll pass out after a while. You can walk around while using Insight and holding your breath, so make sure you do that to avoid being caught.
It’s much easier to avoid the creature in the real world since it can’t see you.
In the supernatural world the best thing you can do is store energy by interacting with the glowing white orbs around each level. When the creature approaches you, use RT to cause an explosion of light, blinding the creature. This will give you a few moments to escape. You can only do this if you have the energy, so always make sure you’re equipped if possible.
Aside from that, we highly recommend sticking behind cover and watching the enemy’s movements during stealth sections. Try not to run past, as it will more than likely catch you.
The Medium is out now on the Xbox Series X / S and PC. For more horror games be sure to check out all our other articles here.