Developer: Other Ocean Interactive
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Release Date: October 25th 2019
Platforms: Playstation 4
Back from the dead. Both character and franchise, that is. Medievil is a cult game that peaked in popularity right at the beginning of its career way on the Playstation. However, it only got one sequel and a PSP Remake, which was poorly received. The franchise has been on the shelf ever since. Thanks to the massive wave of remakes we’ve been getting, Sony decided it was time for Sir Daniel to leave the cemetery once more and save Gallowmere.
A hero, a legend. Long ago, the city of Gallowmere was attacked by the evil sorcerer Zarok. Sir Daniel Fortesque, the bravest of all Knights, fought against Zarok and slayed him, but unfortunately, he also perished during the Battle Of Gallowmere. Or, at least that’s the story people say. Daniel was actually a terrible fighter who died on the very first charge against the army of Zarok. Now, the villain is back and has resurrected the dead to serve as his new army, all the while accidentaly waking up Sir Daniel from his grave in the process. Seeking redemption, Daniel begins his journey to fight the wizard and become the Hero that people already think he is.
Don’t let most reviews fool you, this is no platformer. It has some platforming elements every now and then, but well, most games mix genres anyway. The game is both a hack n’ slash and RPG. This game has more similarities with the likes of The Legend Of Zelda than Crash Bandicoot. Your goal differentiates according to levels, but most of them only require you to reach the exit.
The combat is quite peculiar. You have a variety of weapons and each of them has two attacks. Using your weapons don’t stop you from running, unlike most games of the genre do. At the same time, there’s no dodge button (although there’s blocking). So the idea is to attack and keep your movement to avoid attacks as well.
Aside from that, you have shields scattered across the map, each of them vary in durability and can absorb a certain amount of damage before breaking. There are plenty of swords, spears, hammers (a personal favorite of mine) and bows to use against your enemies. What’s interesting is how you obtain them. Each level has a chalice, which is (usually) obtainable by killing a large amount of enemies. It’s best to complete these tasks, because, without these special weapons, the game can be extremely challenging.
A key feature of this game is exploration. If you’re tired of mindlessly linear levels and want something more challenging, then this game got you covered. At first, the game is very straightforward during its tutorial, but after that, which maps you tackle next is up to you. Sometimes, completing a level will open up multiple paths. Also, you may need a specific item from one level to be used in another. Sure, NPCs will help you figure these things out, but they won’t exactly tell you what to do. It reminds me of other RPGs of the time, like Pokemon or Zelda. Anyway, all this backtracking for special items required to progress may result in you getting lost at times, which can be annoying. Still, on the whole, figuring out what goes where and finally the correct path is a very satisfying feeling. It’s as if the game itself is a giant puzzle.
Not much else needs to be said here. The game has a heavier focus on gameplay rather than the plot, which is still interesting. There are very few cutscenes, but the interactions with other characters will often earn you additional information about the creatures you fight against, thus feeding you extra lore, if interested.
For better or worse, this is one of the most faithful remakes I’ve seen. This will probably be good news for the old fans, and bad news for newcomers. Aside from some slight tweaks to the controls, the game is pretty much the same. Be warned, as dying will reset the entire level because there are no checkpoints, which is still a pain. In any case, the things that made Medievil great has thankfully been retained in this faithful recreation. Personally, I don’t see it as a downside in any case, and I highly encourage to check this adventure out.
This remake is like a time machine that takes you back to the good old days of gaming. It’s just as dark, funny and challenging as the original release. Medievil finally got justice with a remake that’s just as good – dare I say, even better – than the original. Now, let’s hope that Medievil 2 will receive the same treatment, and, who knows, a new Medievil game entirely.