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The Medium Lacks Ray-Tracing on PS5, But is Perhaps Better For It

The Medium

The Medium launches on PS5 tomorrow, after being an Xbox console exclusive for just over seven months. It has also been available on PC during that time, though.

We weren’t overly impressed with the game when we first played it on Xbox Series X, thanks largely to its clunky controls, poor animations and its dual-world presentation turning out to largely be a gimmick. We did like the overall world that The Medium presented though, as well as the game’s story – it is going to be intriguing to see what Bloober Team cooks up now that it’s working with Konami.

Going hands-on with the PS5 version of The Medium, we can confirm that nothing has changed in terms of the game’s content. So, unless you like slow-paced adventures with a sprinkling of horror, there’s no need to rush out and buy it. It certainly does have its merits, though, including a great soundtrack composed by Akira Yamaoka and Arkadiusz Reikowski. On the technical side of things there are some notable changes, however, that may in fact have a bearing on your purchase.

One of the first things we noticed is that The Medium is simply sharper on PS5. The resolution is higher, giving more clarity to the image which is very much welcome. On Xbox Series X, the game went as low as 1080p in some places, leading to an image that looked a little soft. Here it never gets so bad. The lighting seems a little better, too, and with it the shadows.

The Medium PS5 20210901025723

Despite these improvements, the framerate also seems to be more fluid on PS5, making The Medium‘s protagonist, Marianne, a little more responsive to your inputs. Movement is still clunky, but now a little less so. But like us, you’re probably wondering how these gains have been made, and the answer is simple: the PS5 version of The Medium doesn’t have ray tracing.

It’s first noticeable when you enter Marianne’s room at the start of the game. Interact with the area close to the mirror, and when the camera changes you’ll notice the lack of any reflections, as you can see in the image above. Marianne is also no longer reflected in the tiles that adorn the corridor outside of the funeral parlour. It’s a bit disappointing, but ultimately it’s not a great loss. A few reflections here and there are easily outweighed by the resolution and performance bumps.

The Medium PS5 _20210901032305

There’s another PS5 advantage, too: DualSense support. Adaptive triggers provide some resistance when preparing a spirit blast – used to power up certain devices – while haptic feedback is used in various scenarios to immerse you further into the action. When moving in to examine areas of interest, gyroscopic aiming can now also be used to look around, and the speaker isn’t left out either, with some dialogue and effects blaring out of it to draw you further into the game’s world. Overall, there’s nothing ground-breaking, but it all adds up to make the game a little more enjoyable.

Ultimately, there’s nothing transformative about the PS5 version of The Medium. It’s largely plagued by the same issues as the Xbox Series X version, with only the clunky controls being made somewhat less so thanks to the improved framerate. And even then, its performance and visual gains come at the cost of a next-gen feature – ray tracing. Still, it’s a worthwhile trade-off in our book, and thanks to DualSense support, there’s probably no better way to experience The Medium than on PS5.

The Medium is available on PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC.

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Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!