For over eight years now, survival-horror fans have been eager to know what is to come of the Silent Hill series. What began on PlayStation had spun into a multi-entry series, complete with feature-length films. However, that was eight years ago, and Konami then is not the same as Konami now.
So, come on gamers, eight years and one PT demo later, here we are still waiting on Konami to revive a series that they seem to have no interest in. If I’m going to be honest, I’d rather them not touch it considering what they did with Contra, but I digress.
This week developer Bloober Team (Layers of Fear, Observer, Blair Witch) launched The Medium, a much-anticipated survival-horror for Xbox Series X and PC. The game’s marketing strategy was staggered in a way where they hid the names of the characters so that players wouldn’t be spoiled in the main game, which I thought was a great touch. However, from these early trailers, I didn’t quite understand the gameplay mechanics completely.
Well, that all changed within 5 minutes of playing. The fixed camera angles, puzzle-solving through item collecting, interacting with the environment. Holy shit, I’m playing a classic survival horror game that had the appeal and style of a modern release. Still, the game doesn’t try to lean too heavily on these classic roots by introducing several unique mechanics woven in with the narrative.
In The Medium, players play as Marianne, who is a medium. During gameplay, she can exist in two realities at the same time. However, any Silent Hill fan will take one look at the spiritual plane and think of slowly being consumed by Silent Hill’s degrading reality. The best part about this, though, is that it’s the year 2021, and I’m playing a game the has clear influences from the series but looks amazing doing it.
The Medium doesn’t rely on gore or action to entice players into diving deeper into its hellish themes. Instead, we get more of an exploration type of game. In retrospect, I would have enjoyed some weapons to take out a few of these creatures. Regardless of this, the developer nails presentation, if you need more convincing of the atmosphere, composer Akira Yamaoka, who worked on the Silent Hill series, composed the tracks for the spirit world.
I’m trying to get at this: We don’t need Konami, and we don’t need Silent Hill anymore with developers like Bloober Team delivering solid releases in the genre. They proved that fixed camera angles can still work in a modern survival horror game and that there is room to add unique systems to the genre. I’m excited to see what other small teams take out of this release as well as what Bloober Team has planned next.
I hope Silent Hill fans can learn to let go in time, but I suggest playing The Medium if you need help. The game focuses on exorcising ghosts, but I felt like I had been exorcised from the burden of wanting to see a new Silent Hill after playing.
Here’s to the future of classic survival horror.
In case you missed it, check out our review.
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