Or Is It 28?
Every game console has a handful of games that even the most die-hard fans of the competitor would give their left arm for. For me, one of those games is The Medium: A survival horror from Bloober Team where the core conceit is that you’re playing in two worlds at once, with heroine Marianne being in both the physical plane and a spectral one, occasionally switching entirely between the two to solve puzzles. If that’s reminiscent of Silent Hill, the actual game will ramp up those vibes, as it’s got Silent Hill’s legendary composer Akira Yamaoka in charge of the music, and he’s even bringing Mary Elizabeth Mcglynn along for the ride. Sound familiar? She’s contributed her vocals to every Silent Hill game since the third in one form or the other, even directing the voice actors in the remasters of the second and third games.
In short, The Medium is leaning hard into the Silent Hill theme, and with the long-rumored Silent Hill reboot still in limbo it looks like it’s the closest we’ll get for a long while, and while there’s been no word on whether this is a timed of full Xbox exclusive (although the devs have no current plans to bring it to PlayStation) , it’s just one reason at least some PS5 loyalists are curious about the latest Xbox offering – and the new video below won’t do much to fix that.
There’s 14 minutes of new footage that show heroine Marianne investigating the Niwa hotel on the hunt for a man named Thomas, with the help of an ironically perky ghost girl called Sadness. We also get some in-depth look at some of the puzzle and exploration mechanics – like in the Silent Hill series, it isn’t just the decor that’s different (Hot tip: human flesh walls are the biggest trend of 2021 amongst serial killers with horrifying body counts), the layout of the levels are different, with different paths open for exploration – but you have to bring Marianne’s “real” body along for the ride – the spectral form can only last so long.
We also get our first real look at the combat mechanics, as they were, and there seems to be a bigger focus on stealth or avoidance. The monsters – at least the one in the trailer – can only be perceived fully in the spectral realm, with a Predator-esque distortion the only hint of its presence in the real world, and we see Marianne holding her breath, hiding, and creating distractions to get through areas the creature is guarding. Will this be the case for every enemy, or is this one a particularly strong foe Marianne knows better than to go head to head with? We don’t know, but damn, does this make me jealous of Xbox owners.
We also get some disturbing hints about the dangers posed by the creatures – fans have previously noted that Sadness is wearing a porcelain mask, and one segment of the video shows Marianne solving a puzzle that involves reuniting a young boy, Bernard, with his. The masks seem to represent the souls of the dead, without which they can’t pass on, and the creatures seem to separate the humans they kill with theirs. Does this mean that Sadness is some Newt-esque badass, or is there a more sinister explanation to her inexplicable survival? We don’t know, but we’ll get our answers when the game drops on January 28th.