The Medium Review (Xbox Series X)

The Medium Key Promo Box Art

The Medium is first major exclusive to be released on the new Xbox Series X|S, which launched back in November 2020. The game was delayed a month due to scheduling conflict with Cyberpunk 2077, which released on The Medium’s original release date of December 10th 2020.

The Medium Review In-Game 1
Credit: Bloober Team

Bloober Team aimed to deliver a fresh take on the horror genre with the game’s Dual Reality Gameplay, which sees 2 game world be rendered together in real-time. But is The Medium enough to spearhead Xbox into the next generation, with the notable absence of games such as Halo Infinite?

NOTE: I have tried to make this review as spoiler-free as possible, instead focusing on aspects of the game, rather than detailing the story to you, so you can go into the game with no prior knowledge of its events.

Who Are Bloober Team?

Bloober Team is the studio behind The Medium, and one with a long history of developing psychological horror games.

They are responsible for the Layer of Fear series, a fantastic pair of horror games, as well Blair Witch and Observer. So, while not a huge back catalogue of games, they have shown that they know what they are doing when it comes to making horror games.

Dual-Reality Gameplay

What sets The Medium apart from other horror games is its new Dual-Reality Gameplay. This mechanic really does push both the Xbox Series X|S and PCs to the limits by rendering two game world at the same time.

The Medium Review In-Game 2
Credit: Bloober Team

There are multiple sections in the game where you have to complete certain tasks in the different worlds, jumping back and forth between the two. Quite often when you are playing both worlds are side by side on the screen, really showcasing the power of the next-gen systems. The two worlds are the regular world and the spirit world. The spirit world is much darker and more evil feeling like you’re walking through hell, and it looks fantastic.

There is also a mechanic that allows you take full control of yourself in the spirit world in order to access certain areas or collect key items. It is definitely unique and really makes The Medium stand out against other psychological horror games. This was the aspect of the game I was most looking forward to seeing in action and it did not disappoint.

Credit: Bloober Team

A Secret Collectathon

Everybody hates collectathons right? Tirelessly searching every nook and cranny to find an item of very little significance, but you just need that 1000/1000 gamerscore. Well, The Medium unofficially makes you do just that.

The Medium Review In-Game 3
Credit: Bloober Team

There are a huge amount of things to search for and interact with, whether its a note, a picture, or a random everyday item on someone’s desk, the game wants you to interact with them.

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There are also two main collectibles called Echos and Memories, these, along with some of the regular items you can interact with, help flesh out the story and narrative of The Medium, so if deep diving into the story is important to you then be prepared to search down every alley, every side room, and anywhere where you are able to explore in.

Not Ground Breaking, But More than Adequate

The Medium is a very good looking game, for the most part. Overall the visuals look great, with most of the environment keeping up with modern standards. But on the flip side, there are times where it feels like I’m playing an upscaled and remastered Xbox 360 game.

The Medium Review In-Game 4
Credit: Bloober Team

None of the previous games from Bloober Team has set the world on fire from a graphical standpoint, so I did go into this not expecting groundbreaking visuals, but overall they are more than fine and perfectly adequate for the genre and game itself.

Games Should Really Be Beyond 30fps In 2021

But one aspect that perhaps isn’t fine is the frame rate. On the Xbox Series X|S it is locked to just 30fps, something that we should really be passed in 2021, but many games still run at just 30fps on console. The Medium is quite a slow paced game so 30fps doesn’t seem terrible to play and to be honest it is fine. However, what isn’t fine is when the game struggles to maintain 30fps, especially on a next-generation system.

The Medium Review In-Game 5
Credit: Bloober Team

The newer Nvidia RTX series of graphics cards do struggle to hit 60fps when the game is maxed out, which does show how much power is needed to render the two worlds at the same time. But sacrifices really should have been made to at least maintain a solid 30. I can excuse the less than ground breaking visuals, but it is hard to excuse not being able to maintain the lowest standard of frame rate in 2021.

A 2010 Game In A 2021 Skin

One way I keep describing the game is that I feel like I’m playing an Xbox 360 game with Xbox Series X graphics, the controls and movement feel outdated.

The Medium Review In-Game 6
Credit: Bloober Team

The character movement is slow and clunky at times, the animations can be a bit sub-par, and the camera can’t be controlled by the player at all which sometimes makes exploring rather difficult. Most of the camera angles are fine, but some just feel awkward to move around with.

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Visually the game is fantastic, the detail of the characters and most of the surroundings are really good, some areas it could be improved upon but for the most part I have little complaints. But it feels like two different eras of video games merged into one. It can take you out of the immersion a bit, but not enough to spoil the experience. What Bloober Team set out to achieve was monumental and for the most part they did succeed.


The Medium is overall a fun experience to play. While it is a little rough around the edges from a visual and gameplay standpoint, plus the fact it does dip below 30 fps from time to time, something that shouldn’t be acceptable in 2021, it has to get a pass due to the impressive feat that it pulls off with the Dual-Reality Gameplay.

Credit: Bloober Team

At times the gameplay feels like you’re playing an Xbox 360 game with Xbox Series X graphics, making the game feel a bit outdated, but it is still enjoyable enough.

And with The Medium being on Game Pass, unless you HAVE to have all of your PC library on Steam, there’s no need to even pay for the game. So that for reason it is definitely worth the price of admission and a game that I recommend you add to your to-play list for 2021.

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The Medium






Fun Factor







  • Dual-Reality Gameplay
  • Story
  • Graphics


  • Controls are clunky

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