System: PlayStation 4 | Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Other Ocean Emeryville | Reviewed On: PlayStation 5 (PS4 Version) Released: October 2019
Medievil is a remake of the 1998 PSone classic, where Zarok, the evil sorcerer has returned to try and conquer the land of Gallowmere once more, after his failed attempt at the battle of Gallowmere many years prior. As Zarok sets about using his wicked power to resurrect the dead for his bidding, he unknowingly brings back his old nemesis and our hero of this tale, Sir Daniel Fortesque.
Medievil is an action-adventure game, set in the fictional world of Gallowmere, as Sir Daniel Fortesque rises from his crypt, you discover very quickly that Sir Dan is not the hero of Gallowmere that the tales made him out to be. Thanks to two wonderfully voiced gargoyles, you learn the evil sorcerer Zarok has returned and that fate has given Sir Dan a second chance at redemption. Battle your way through beautifully recreated levels, puzzles to complete, boss battles to conquer, with an array of weapons to collect in your bid to stop Zarok and free the citizens of Gallowmere from the evil sorcerer's magic.
The games protagonist Sir Daniel Fortesque is a fun, lovable character, that as you progress through the world of Gallowmere start to collect an assortment of weapons. These weapons range from close combat weapons like swords, clubs and axes to long range weapons such as throwing daggers, bows and chicken drumsticks. You can even pull out your own arm and use that as a weapon either as a throwing weapon, watching it boomerang back to you or like a sword. Many of these weapons can be charged up to increase its power when tackling the many different enemies but also some break over time so you must think carefully when using them. Thankfully, you are not punished when they break as you can easily buy the weapon back from a gargoyle vendor or you may discover the weapon in a chest, which are scattered throughout each level. Chests can also drop gold or shields not just weapons, as like your weapons some of the shields you get, break over time when they have taken too much damage. Luckily, the weapons and shields that are breakable over time show on your screen, shields are shown under your life bar and each weapon has a percentage of what is left before its destroyed.
As you progress through the game you collect life bottles, so when your life bar is drained fully from tackling enemies, any bottles you have, located above your health bar, will automatically fill your life bar back to full. At the beginning of each level your health is carried over, it does not regenerate, but throughout the levels you can find health fountains. By standing on the health fountain, this will fill your health bar and any empty life bottles you have, although after a while the mist will be disappear, it is not an endless amount.
Other Ocean Emeryville have decided to keep to the original game as much as possible and for a lot of players that remember the classic fondly this will be very welcoming news. This however, brings some negatives as the fighting mechanics and camera were never great in the original and overall has been left largely alone. In the original game the camera was fixated to move depending on your direction, you had no control over the camera, but at least in this version you can move the camera to suit but still struggles when in tight areas of the game and in some areas it’s still a fixed camera angle. The weapon handling is not the greatest and you can easily get overwhelmed by enemies, even just trying to beat boss battles and certain enemy types can feel like the luck of the draw and is no where near the level set in today’s gaming standards. There is still plenty of fun to be had with the different weapons at your disposal, if you can look past it’s short comings. It’s just a pity the developer did not try to modernize this aspect of the game, this is were staying true to the original can be detrimental to the experience as a whole.
The good thing about this Medievil remake is that it’s easy to jump into, it’s not an open world game like we have so many of nowadays, it’s a simple story, easy to follow level-based game. The dialogue and humour in this game were just as I remembered them, with even some new dialogue added in and from what I could tell the original cast. It was a blast listening to the funny quips and cheesy dialogue throughout the game, that kept me grinning through my whole play through. I enjoyed working my way through the levels, most of them are not long and can even be completed in minutes such as the first level that acts a tutorial, in the form of Dan’s Crypt. This game truly respected my time when playing and rewarded me equally so.
The developer has even added to the game, once you complete the story, you can collect lost souls which is some welcomed end game content that gives you the excuse to replay these levels. The result of collecting these lost souls and achieving 100% completion unlocks the original game from 1998. Yes that’s right, you can replay the PSone classic on your PS4 system or via PS5 backwards compatibly. This was a fantastic bit of fanfare to add this mode in and felt like a great reward for seeking out the 100% completion.
Medevil is beautifully recreated, the levels are almost identical to the original so if you have played the original, you will love the nostalgia that’s on show. I geeked out the whole game as I loved the PSone classic, every level was visually stunning and was a joy to explore this game. The character models, especially the zombies, looked great, you can clearly see the attention to detail the developer took in being faithful to the 1998 version.
The soundtrack remains as impressive as it did back in 1998, this is all down to making sure the original composers came back on board to help recreate the haunting music that is so synonymous with this classic. The music was fully orchestrated this time around by Prague Symphony Orchestra, remaking the original score in this way, as well as composing some new tracks that fitted the aesthetic of the game perfectly.
The game on average takes around 7 to 8 hours to complete, closer to the 11 hour mark if your going for 100% completion. If you haven’t been able to tell throughout this review I adore this game, faults and all. It’s exactly what I remember playing back in 1998 but upgraded to today’s standards, for the most part. It’s a fun, highly enjoyable game that will appeal to a wide range of players. Luckily I didn’t come up against any bugs of note, the experience for me was very smooth and uninterrupted.
Medievil is a game worthy of your time, with a goofy protagonist, excellent humour padded throughout and a very Tim Burton esc environment. If you can look past it’s faults that it brings from the PSone, then you will have a great time as Sir Daniel Fortesque.