The latest project from Bloober Team is The Medium, and it’s a psychological horror game that allows the player to traverse between two realities to uncover the secrets of the narrative. It’s currently exclusive to Xbox Series X|S and PC, but will come to other platforms at a later time. In it, you play as Marianne, a medium with special powers. The game’s hook is that it allows you to simultaneously control two realities at once — and what you do in one reality can impact the other.
Because of this, the puzzles can sometimes get a little tricky. Even outside of puzzles, you’re tasked with exploring, discovering useful items, and battling inner demons (quite literally at times) — meaning there’s a lot to do in The Medium.
With that in mind, you might be wondering how to get past a certain part, or perhaps you’re struggling with a specific puzzle. Either way, this guide is here to help. Here’s our beginner’s guide for Bloober Team’s The Medium.
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Very early on in the game, you’re instructed to use Insight, which works like Detective Mode in the Batman: Arkham games. To use it, press and hold down LB on your Xbox controller. It reveals useful nearby items by highlighting them in white, making them easier to spot while you’re exploring every nook and cranny.
For best results, we recommend always using Insight when entering a new area, as it’ll help you track down items of interest. You can opt to only use it when you’re stuck, or if you’re like us — hold it down the majority of the time.
You can even use Insight will inspecting items. Since the game focuses on interacting with your surroundings, you’ll want to take note of certain items that can be inspected further by using Insight. Look for the LB Insight notice in the bottom left of the screen to use it.
What you have to do is hold down LB and rotate the item to reveal a crack in it. You must 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.
On a similar note, many of the items you can pick up include text that can prove to be useful. This text often reveals more about the game’s characters or in some cases can give you a hint as to what to do next. The problem is that — at face value — much of the text is not readable since many of the items you find are withered or damaged.
To mitigate this, press Y to reveal the text on-screen, making it much easier to read. (You can also increase text size from the game’s menu.)
As soon as you boot up the game, it recommends for you to play The Medium with headphones, and we’re here to echo that suggestion. There are often audio cues in-game that give you a hint as to what to do next, or are even built in to alert you of danger. Aside from functional purposes, wearing headphones will ensure that the game sounds as best as it can.
We recommend going into 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, so take advantage of it because The Medium has superb audio design.
Eventually, you get to the point where you can start controlling the main character, Marianne, from both realities, simultaneously. Often times, it’s easy to only focus on one reality since this mechanic is somewhat unorthodox. 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. Don’t get tunnel vision by only focusing on one reality — instead, always pay attention to both and be on the lookout for the white dots that represent interactable items.
When looking at a group of objects, make sure you turn the camera all around so you don’t miss anything
In keeping with the theme of tunnel vision, we advise being thorough when looking for items. Specifically, when you zoom in to look at an item, double-check to make sure there aren’t other things you can interact with by moving the camera in all directions.
You’d be surprised just how many times there are multiple items to interact with, even though — at first glance — it might just seem like there’s only one. And once again, use Insight when searching because there might be a hidden item in a drawer that can’t be seen otherwise.
Without getting into spoiler territory, the game features multiple stealth sections against the main antagonist. You’ll know it when you get there. If you get caught, it’s game over, but there are a few things you can do to survive.
While in the real world, the enemy cannot see you (and you can only see a slight outline of it), but it can most certainly hear you. Use Insight to see an arrow that indicates how alert the enemy is, as represented by colors. White means it’s not aware, yellow means it’s getting close, and red means danger.
If you hold in RS, Marianne will hold her 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.
While in the supernatural world, things are much tougher since the enemy can see you. 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. It 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.
One of the most interesting mechanics of The Medium is that you can control both realities at once. But sometimes, the supernatural version of Marianne is able to reach inaccessible areas in the real world. To reach them, you need to have an out of body experience by pressing and holding B. This will separate the supernatural version of Marianne from the one in the real world, allowing you to reach certain areas to make progress.
You’ll need to act quickly, though, as you can’t stay separated for too long. Your character will start to deteriorate as time goes on, so pay attention to this before heading back. At any time, you can hold B again to instantly revert back to your starting place, so if you’re about to run out of time, make sure you do warp back before you die.
When there’s a door you can’t get through in the real world, try having an out of body experience, as this will sometimes be the solution since supernatural Marianne can often reach areas that the normal version cannot.
As mentioned previously, you’ll definitely want to keep your ears open for certain audio cues. One of which is moths, and if you hear them, you’ll need to prepare to get past them. In The Medium, there isn’t combat, but the sections with moths do require some active participation. What you have to do use hold RB to utilize a shield that will prevent you from taking damage from them. Only the supernatural version of Marianne can do this, but remember — what happens in the supernatural world impacts the real world.
This means the real Marianne will still be protected as you walk through with a shield. However, you can’t always utilize a shield against the moths. You have to have energy (as mentioned above) which is found at the glowing orbs scattered around each level. The game is designed in such a way that it never leaves you stranded without a way to gather energy if you need it, so search around and you’ll probably find a source.
Sometimes, you need to do something special in order to absorb enough energy from the orbs. For example, you might need to discover an item in the real world that “unlocks” the energy source in the supernatural world. Either way, listen for the moths and be on the lookout for glowing energy around each stage. While maneuvering through the moths with your shield, the game allows you to run (by pressing LB) so make sure you do that.
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