The Medium is out now (and on gamepass!).

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noboners

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I was going to wait for someone else to start this thread since I'm on mobile, but oh well!

This game is now out and getting pretty solid reviews! This is the first Bloober team game that I've been interested in since I tend to care more about third person horror, so I'm happy to see positive first impressions.

Unfortunately, it seems that the directx12 version on pc stutters. And judging by Bakalar's first impressions, the Xbox version performs similarly.

I probably won't be able to start this game until the weekend, but what is everyone's initial thoughts? Does the "dual timelines" feel like a gimmick or does it actually add to the story? How does it stack up to their previous games?

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Fistoh

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Only a couple hours or so in so far, digging it but the performance definitely isn't perfect on Series X. Good spooky atmosphere and visuals that have been slightly undercut by some stilted writing and inconsistent delivery on the voice acting front, though in a way those parts feel a bit endearing, notes of Deadly Premonition though still a far cry from that game's downright absurdity.

The split world parts have been my favorite so far and they've been steadily introducing a few mechanics for puzzle solving therein that have been interesting enough. The effect is cool for sure, hard to say if they can keep it interesting through the whole game at this point.

Game has a languishing pace to it I'll say, even for a moody atmospheric horror game. When the main character runs she looks like a geriatric woman with ankle weights jogging at the high school track.

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JasonR86

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#3 JasonR86  Online

I’m playing on the PC on a 3070 off an NVME drive. I’d recommend 1440p, DLSS if you have a Nvidia card, turning everything up and RT on, but setting the framerate to 30 FPS. In the Nvidia control panel, you can make a profile for the game where you can set the vsync to an ‘adaptive (half refresh rate)’ setting that clears up frame pacing issues and gives a solid 30 FPS presentation. Without setting that in the control panel, the 30 FPS lock will stutter.

I was able to get 60 FPS at those settings until the game rendered the two realities. Than it dropped to 45-50 FPS.

As for the game, I’m about an hour in and I like it so far. It’s a nice take on older Silent Hill games, just without fighting.

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Humanity

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After watching some footage and reading some reviews it's a shame that the first big Xbox Exclusive of the new generation is a throwback horror game that appears to not only look like those early survival horror titles but plays like them as well. Game Pass is a spectacular service and Microsoft has been making all the right moves these past few years. Whether it's to simply make up for the past generation or because they honestly want to do right by the customer is not all that important because the end result is a net positive. So I keep waiting for them to finally get a win in the game department and they just keep missing over and over again. Not to say this is a bad game or anything, but it's not the Miles Morales or Demons Souls that Microsoft needs to sell their box.

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brian_

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#5  Edited By brian_

Playing on the Series S, I haven't noticed performance issues so far. Though I have noticed that damn near every item I pick up has about a half a second of texture pop-in on it. Does that count as a performance issue? I guess it does.

Honestly, I think more distracting than that for me is the premise of the story so far, and the delivery of the main character's narration. I'm only a couple hours in, so there's plenty of time for it to change but the set up of orphan girl who sees dead people, combined with the sort of off-kilter, sort of theater-y style acting from the main character reads as very corny to me.

EDIT: What is wrong with the character in this game that every time she sees a grave site she goes "What the hell is this thing?"

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wwfundertaker

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Playing on the Series X, i have noticed frame drops and texture pop-ins. I was enjoying the the game until the second half. I don't want to spoil anything but i am close to the end and i think it has got steadly worse over time.

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Topcyclist

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@humanity said:

After watching some footage and reading some reviews it's a shame that the first big Xbox Exclusive of the new generation is a throwback horror game that appears to not only look like those early survival horror titles but plays like them as well. Game Pass is a spectacular service and Microsoft has been making all the right moves these past few years. Whether it's to simply make up for the past generation or because they honestly want to do right by the customer is not all that important because the end result is a net positive. So I keep waiting for them to finally get a win in the game department and they just keep missing over and over again. Not to say this is a bad game or anything, but it's not the Miles Morales or Demons Souls that Microsoft needs to sell their box.

That's just it. The gamepass is more of a means to an end. It gives players AAA games for a set price each month. It's more of a trial and you end up finding a gem you wouldn't otherwise. You finish fewer games cause there's always more to play but when you get into a game you play it so much you end up buying it when it's gone. It's a win-win. Most would never play medium. Now tons of eyeballs are on the game. A sequel will fix the kinks and do well. People are way more lenient on a free game without micros or free to play. That said. People can jump off easier given they didn't pay for it individually. I assume game pass is great as long as it's not like iPhones and the 100000 games with shallow gameplay for a quick buck that I end up avoiding it. Decent to good games for free is fine. We don't need 20 AAA first day titles that will overwhelm us. It's good for the same reason receiving an indie like rocket league or fall guys was fine and played more than AAA uncharted 4 or Call of duty 4. Most will already buy those games or they're on sale enough if you wanted it you'd get it. Indies you never expected can be just your jam. Like finding out your favorite movie was eternal sunshine when you thought all romantic movies were cliche men chasing women before a plane takes off stories. You normally wouldn't watch the weirder movie if you're bombarded with AAA generic feel-good ones. Generic isn't bad... it's just a known quantity that won't shock you.

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Humanity

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@topcyclist: Completely agree on Game Pass. You don't have as many negative feelings attached when you're not paying for the game, but are instead trying it out as part of a larger subscription. As you said it's also a lot more guilt free to jump in for 20 minutes and decide that you're good. I was speaking more to the point that this is basically Xbox's first big exclusive game and it doesn't seem to be a real head turner.

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bigsocrates

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#9  Edited By bigsocrates

The Medium is not a big AAA exclusive. It's by a medium sized team and doesn't have a ton of money or marketing behind it. It's not even full price ($49.99, which puts it at the same price point as Miles Morales and appears to be the new $39.99 now that $69.99 is the new normal)

Because there are no other 'sclusives for Xbox and it's January without a lot of competition it's getting outsized attention, but I'm not sure why anybody expected a reduced price game from a medium sized team to be more polished than it is. It has reviewed decently well but appears to be a little clunky and unpolished and have performance issues. That's what I'd expect more or less.

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geirr

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#10  Edited By geirr
@humanity said:

.. it's a shame that the first big Xbox Exclusive of the new generation is a throwback horror game that appears to not only look like those early survival horror titles but plays like them as well..

A shame?! My poor gamer dog heart.. This is literally the draw of the game and what sets it apart from the generic mulch of modern games where everything is the same with a different skin. I've been yearning for a, let's say, proven developer to make an attempt at bringing games like these back. And here, "only" 17 years later, there's finally a new one! Cinematic perspectives, incredible attention to detail, atmospheric music by none other than Akira Yamaoka... It makes me so happy! This is very close to being my dream composition for a game and the fact that Gamepass supported something like this is nothing but tremendous.

Now there have been indie attempts at making this style of third person horror that have been good, like Song of Horror, but The Medium is like triple A goodness by comparison. The only shame is how they didn't implement tank controls and rather went for the slightly more modern "2D controls" as Silent Hill referred to them to. My old doggo instincts just want to tank around the enviroment, but oh well.

I'm sure Bloober Team will smooth out some of the optimization issues, til then it runs just fine on my "poorly aged" 2080ti.

Now if the game is good or not I don't actually know, I'm just so happy traipsing around in the opening environments and listening to subtle change in music and atmosphere as I finally have my nostalgia catered to.

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Pilgrimm1981

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#11  Edited By Pilgrimm1981

more like The Tedium amirite? amirite folks?!

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Topcyclist

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@humanity said:

@topcyclist: Completely agree on Game Pass. You don't have as many negative feelings attached when you're not paying for the game, but are instead trying it out as part of a larger subscription. As you said it's also a lot more guilt free to jump in for 20 minutes and decide that you're good. I was speaking more to the point that this is basically Xbox's first big exclusive game and it doesn't seem to be a real head turner.

Oh sorry jumped the gun. Been in too many ign arguments. I didnt know it was AAA starter for series X. In that sense i agree with ya.

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I had no idea that this was on GamePass! Thanks for the heads up!

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TopCat88

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#14  Edited By TopCat88

In the interests of avoiding anything that might even be considered a spoiler, I've spoiler blocked my post. I don't discuss plot at all, just referring to a single, popular game mechanic, the jump scare, in a general way.

Got to a major generic jump scare last night, so I closed and uninstalled it.

I know this is what Horror games are, but I find it cheap and a crutch when games could do so much more than this for their thrills. It's a pity, because they we're doing so well until this moment. Would never have bought it without GamePass, so nothing lost I guess. I'm glad I got to enjoy it for as long as I did.

I realise that what I'm looking for is pretty specific, and I don't blame others for enjoying this sort of thing. I just feel games, unlike most "teen-horror style" movies which are stuck as being non-interactive, could do so much more with nuanced, subtle changes to the environment. Warped shadows that touch on the uncanny valley, but are barely perceptible, that sort of thing. And the big one, natural (in world) sound effects like telephones, footsteps, creaks, etc are much more effective for me than loud noises for the sake of it.

I just end up waiting for them, thinking about what the developers have planned, rather than the story or the atmosphere. I'd rather be creeped out psychologically, instead of having my lizard brain attacked with a false scare.

There's a small moment with a cat in the first minutes of the game, that's the sort of thing I'm looking for. Spooky moments, in world, without simply maxing the gain on the audio for the, in my opinion, unearned 'jump' effect.

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denisxcore

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I can't wait to pick this up. Love a good horror game.

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#16  Edited By ToughShed

@humanity said:

After watching some footage and reading some reviews it's a shame that the first big Xbox Exclusive of the new generation is a throwback horror game that appears to not only look like those early survival horror titles but plays like them as well.

Yeah thats the entire selling point of this game to me, in a good way. I miss throwback horror games and don't like how many games have went away from the formula or move to be genre hybrids.

Always a matter of execution of course.

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I think I'm more than halfway into this game. I'm at the point where you take over Richard's spirit body

So far it's been a disappointment. It's basically just been walking around and bumping into things until I see a prompt that gives me a bit of story or an item. The encounters with "The Maw" (the main enemy) have all just been really easy stealth sections and one scripted chase scene. Every one of the "puzzles" I've encountered are either trivial or are frustratingly difficult.

The most damning thing I can say is that this game isn't really scary. It's more of an atmospheric point-and-click adventure game than a horror game.

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Humanity

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@toughshed: I guess I should have clarified that the concept in of itself is not inherently bad but in the larger context of getting more positive attention towards your game box, targeting a rather niche audience is not going to have the same impact as say a Miles Morales popcorn blockbuster.

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#19  Edited By dezvous

@jasonr86: you might consider dropping the RT from high to medium. It's cool that this game has RT at all but the performance difference between RT medium and High is nearly half in some spots. And the RT presentation in this game isn't nearly as impactful to begin with compared to a game like Control so you're not missing out on much by dropping down a peg.

I'm on a 2080ti and play at a basically locked 60fps at 1080p DLSS high RT medium. I play on a TV so going to 4k really doesn't even make much of a difference for this game at my sitting distance so you might consider that as well if it makes sense for you.

I've been enjoying the game so far but it's been a real eye opener being reminded what a proper B game is. Dying suddenly without understanding why, dealing with poor checkpoints and some pretty opaque gameplay mechanics. The animation quality is almost surely a product of how difficult good animation is and a small team but it's wild to see so many claw hands in 2021, I'm into the story though and overall the game is endearing.

It makes me appreciate the classics horror games in some design ways that I took for granted. The camera placement can really leave something to be desired in The Medium compared to the Resident Evil's and Silent Hill's that came before. In The Medium there are a enough areas where I'd expect to walk towards the camera and then have it transition to show me an opposite angle and it almost never does and it's quite unsatisfying, leaving you feeling like there's a sort of off limits no mans land in some of the areas which feels really bizarre. Many off-putting times where it feels like there are invisible walls which is a bummer that never crops up in those classic games.

Also, anyone who's a tank control afficianado like myself will really miss that as an option. Lots of goofy random turning between camera changes going on without it.

@humanity I totally agree about the surprise of this being the first big "exclusive" Xbox game. Really just makes Microsoft's whole 2 year cross gen plan seem nuts having to rely on third parties for a big draw into the system and I don't think it actually does them as much good will as they think. That being said, they probably don't have a choice because they don't have any games ready to release in that time window that would adequately take advantage of the Series consoles to begin with which is a failing on their part.

The Medium is a super niche game that I'm extremely happy exists but it's very rough compared to how I think your average person has come to expect a videogame to operate, let alone to occupy this spot for the first Series exclusive.

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CreepingDeath0

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So I'm playing this on Gamepass and, honestly, finding it a bit naff. But was determined to finish it. That is, until I died near the end of the game (in an underground corridor) only to find that, for whatever reason, the stupid autosave feature hasn't worked for about 2 hours and I'm back to following the dog.

So... Yeah, fuck this.

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JasonR86

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#21 JasonR86  Online

I'm about two levels away from the end. I think I find the game more interesting than good. I do appreciate the call back to older survival horror games, like Silent Hill, but with much less frustration than those older games. I like the art design as well. Some of the characters, specifically their animations, aren't quite there but the environments are really interesting. And I appreciate that the game focuses so much on Poland. I've never personally played a game with such a strong emphasis on the Polish experience.

But, I will be honest, it does sort of feel like Quantic Dreams made a survival horror game. The writing can work, like with QD games, but for every hit there are so many misses. But unlike with QD, Bloober's first attempt at this style of horror game, with this style of writing, is still interesting to me because it's a novel experience. I appreciate that they went for it, even if it doesn't totally work.

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LapsarianGiraff

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#22  Edited By LapsarianGiraff

Just finished it in one sitting without meaning to. Holy shit, I love this game.

It has some issues. The character animations look wonky and out of place, given this is a smaller team otherwise working at near-photorealistic levels. There's one too many mechanics in the later game (did we really need a parry? really?) There's one section near the end that I think just drags and goes on too long (the bit with Henry, for those who know what I'm talking about.)

Overall, though, I did not know how much I wanted a new classic Silent Hill game until I played The Medium. The writing mostly works, the story is really compelling because, while it works in these subtle-as-a-sledgehammer visual metaphors, it never really stops to over-explain what you can already see is happening. The atmosphere is just dripping, the music and look really worked for me, both in this abandoned Polish resort and the spirit world.

Finally, I have to give a shout-out to the main antagonist monster, such a delightfully creepy fucker. There weren't many jump scares with him, because there didn't have to be, just the stuff he says is so unsettling and single-minded. Maybe there's a low bar for horror villains in games, since horror games lately usually deal with unknowable or no motives, just pure malice, but the Maw has consciousness and intent in a real disturbing way. And I think they stick the landing on his origin, too.

If you like slower horror games (mostly story, puzzles, atmosphere) or narrative-driven games at all, and have GamePass, I think this is a must-play. If you need to buy it because you don't have GamePass... eh, your mileage may vary. $50 is a lot to pay for a 6-7 hour "play it once and you never need to touch it again" deal, but it's worth it if you A) have the disposable income and B) really want a new classic camera-angle'd horror game. I think they nail the Silent Hill vibes -- Akira Yamaoka's score can't hurt on that front.

Finally, if you're playing this on PC, it is... a system hog. With a 3090 and 5950x, I was only able to run this at a smooth (ish, very questionable frame pacing) 60 FPS at 1440p and RTX Medium -- at 4K, it only ran at 60ish after turning off any raytracing whatsoever. 4K with Raytracing Ultra resulted in about 20 frames per second? So dial in some settings, ignore raytracing unless you have one of those shiny new GPUs.

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CreepingDeath0

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@lapsariangiraff: Bit random. I don't suppose you'd be willing to share a late game save with me? I died after getting through the secret door in the Red House and lost hours of progress because the autosave had somehow stopped working. Really don't want to replay everything to catch back up, partly because it's such a narrative driven game and partly because that Henry section REALLY dragged.

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LapsarianGiraff

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@creepingdeath0: My earliest auto-saves are a fair bit into the underground bunker past the Red House. I can try to scrounge that up for you, if that's an acceptable gap in the game? (I'd say 15-30 minutes).

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CreepingDeath0

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@lapsariangiraff: Sure, it's better than the alternative Ido be facing having to play it all again. Would really appreciate it.

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I ended up playing through probably 90% of the game yesterday. I meant to just check it out for like 20 minutes or so on a whim. I am really enjoying this game a lot. I am not typically in to horror games, but this one playing more like an adventure game is what I think pulled me in, since I often like those types of games.

I have certainly run in to issues, and I haven't loved every part of the game, but the story has been pulling me along.

There are two things I have really not enjoyed so far though,

One being the stealth sequences with Maw, which felt really inconsistent with when I would or would not get spotted. The other being the part with having to drain the tanks of water and the what felt like far too much backtracking.

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