So, i have been interested in trying the new Adventure-Horror title “The Medium” for a while. The studio behind Layer’s of Fear 1 and 2, The Blair Witch and Observer. A stable resumé of horror titles. And attached is also Akira Yamaoka (of Silent Hill fame), as one of the composers.
I won’t get into deep on how the game is, you can find tons and tons of review online about that. To take it swiftly. It’s a meaty (pun intended) Adventure/”Point and click-esque” title in the vein of Broken Sword, Heavy Rain or Grim Fandango. But with heavy horror elements.
But the most prominent thing about this title is that it’s one of the first titles in the next generation of gaming. To be clear; it’s an exclusive to Microsoft platforms so a Xbox Series S/X or a fairly new PC is a requirement. Since 2020 happend and my budget is (limited) to say it lightly i can’t prioritize a new Xbox yet. And i have only owned laptop’s since i don’t have the place/need for a desktop-computer. And to buy a computer that can handle this game is to pay a equivalent of two Xbox Series X consoles anyway so. How to solve this?
Well. Here comes my trusty Nvidia Shield (2019) to the rescue. Built-in is a really neat service called “Nvidia Now”. Which is basically Nvidia’s cloud computing-gaming service. I.E. You own a game on any of the services supported by Nvidia Now (far from every game on each platform is supported as of yet), and then you start a gaming session. The application will search for a empty session on Nvidias servers and it works basically like this. Nvidias servers are filled to the brim with supported titles that are already pre-installed. When you start a service, you login as a private user to their digital desktop computers really.
The load time depends on the pressure on Nvidias servers. If you don’t pay for premium (which i will talk about later in this article), then the queue-time is often around = less than a minute < 10 – ish minutes. The games i have tried so far loads fine and plays without any noticeable lags. The games often run in 60 fps and 1080p. But are by all means more than often customisable. In the case of “The Medium” RTX is a valid option for example. It all depends on your bandwidth. Because that’s is the first pro (as well as con). Everything depends on your bandwidth. Nothing is processed locally, everything is server-side. The only thing that is processed locally is basically controller inputs.
As one living in a country with very good “default-speed” on our internet i can easily play The Medium with RTX off, 60 FPS – 1080p. With very few hiccups. I use a kind of worn-out wi-fi router that surely needs to be replaced. When hiccups do happen they will occur as a “frame-skip” rather than the game freezing. Which could surely be a bad thing if you play loads of singleplayer fps games.
The thing is. With a good network-connection this type of gaming work excellent at the moment. But like in the case of “The Medium” where a bug on the server-side makes the audio dissappear at times when playing makes the need for a good support that much more important. If streamed gaming is ever going to be a alternative for “ordinary gaming” then they hardware support must be way better than it is right now from Nvidia’s sake.