Reviews - Updated on April 8, 2022

The original MediEvil was released back in 1998 on the first PlayStation and fell in love with the players first of all with its gloomy design, reminiscent of the works of Tim Burton (Tim Burton), and sarcastic British humor (the game was made by the British, after all). After 21 years, Sony released its remake, which has already become a PS4 exclusive. The Canadian-American studio Other Ocean was responsible for the updated game. Let’s break down the latest MediEvil to see if the team has managed to breathe new life into the classic.

Tales from the Crypt

In the kingdom of Gallowmere, Sir Daniel Fortescue is considered a hero: still, this is the same warrior who led his army to victory over the evil sorcerer Zarok a hundred years ago and killed him with his own hands. However, legends sometimes lie. In fact, our valiant knight was the first to die in battle from someone’s stray arrow, and Zarok was defeated by completely different warriors. A century later, the villain, as often happens, returned to the world of the living and resurrected evil spirits of all stripes with him. Including Dan Fortescue.

Having got out of his crypt, the unlucky knight is ready to walk all over the kingdom in order to finally defeat Zarok and prove that he deserves to be called a real hero, despite the ridicule of his comrades who know the truth. They, unlike Sir Daniel, did not resurrect, and communicate with the knight only in the Hall of Heroes, the local analogue of Valhalla.

The plot in MediEvil is simple and serves only as a background for the gameplay, the story does not pretend to be any pathos and seriousness. On the contrary, the whole game is filled with jokes and jokes, directed mainly towards Dan. Almost everything is sharp here: from stone gargoyles to books containing the local lore.

MediEvil (2019) game review

Passive-aggressive phrases not only come from the lips of secondary characters, but also slip into the descriptions of objects.

Sir Fortescue himself is undoubtedly a comic hero: what is worth only his stupid gait and inarticulate “Misterbean” lowing instead of speech. However, the lack of a lower jaw and one eye does not prevent him from being one of the most charming video game protagonists. Fortescue charms with its clumsiness, however, when it comes directly to the gameplay, it starts to get a little annoying.

Dancing on the bones

As with the recent The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, the MediEvil remake can be played while looking at a walkthrough written decades ago. But if in Zelda the gameplay does not feel archaic at all, then in MediEvil it, alas, is godlessly outdated. A lot of things don’t do that anymore.

Take, for example, the save system. There are no checkpoints in the game, and if you run out of flasks with healing liquid, then the level will have to start over. The missions are not very long, but there is still little pleasant in this. Especially when death overtakes the hero due to an unsuccessful jump after killing the boss. Health, by the way, is not replenished between levels, and I constantly had to return to the first crypt in order to fill my vials there a little bit.

MediEvil (2019) game review

On the Gallowmir map, you can select levels that have already been completed and look for secrets on them, coming there with new weapons and items. It’s a pity that there is no mini-map on the locations themselves – sometimes it would be very useful.

In addition to the main goal – to reach the end of the level and exit it – Sir Dan can collect the Golden Chalice, which opens access to the Hall of Heroes. To do this, he needs to defeat a certain number of enemies and, in fact, find this very cup, which is usually well hidden. For each bowl in the Hall of Heroes, they give out something good – a bow with different types of arrows, a spear, a magic sword, a shield, a hammer, a crossbow, a glove that shoots lightning, healing vessels … Well, or just financially encouraged. Money in Gallowmere is needed in order to buy projectiles and arrows with them and to enchant some types of weapons.

In general, shooting in MediEvil is difficult to praise – you can’t aim normally in the game. Enemies, fortunately, have auto-aim, but if you want, say, to attack an explosive chest from a distance, then be prepared to waste some of the arrows, because it is not going to become an automatic target.

As for the battles and platforming, everything is also unchanged here. Sir Fortescue has two types of attack – standard and charged – and a bunch of different weapons. The hero can block with a shield that tends to break, and in a completely hopeless situation, Dan is able to tear off his own arm and fight with it. The protagonist’s jumps don’t come out too graceful, but that’s understandable – he’s just a walking pile of bones in armor. You can still somehow get used to jumping, but it seems impossible to get used to the fact that when jumping onto the platform, the knight will sometimes slide off it. It always happens suddenly and does not add to the passage of positive emotions.

MediEvil (2019) game review

To the question of outdated game design, I would like to cite as an example the level in the maze of the anthill. For about half an hour, I wandered through the same corridors, collecting quest items, only to end up with the boss of the level defeating Dan and I had to start all over again.

MediEvil still does not lead the player by the hand while solving puzzles, but gently hints at what he needs to do. True, because of this, it is not always clear what exactly the game wants from you. Now, of course, I’m not talking about tasks like “Find a rune of a certain type and insert it into your hand next to the door”, but about more tricky things. For example, we need to return a cross to the city church, and for this we need to create it from improvised material. Personally, this old-school approach pleases me: moving through the level without obvious clues and thinking through everything on your own is much more pleasant than just following the instructions.

The Nightmare Before Halloween

If we compare the original MediEvil and its modernized version, then the scrupulous attitude to the original source with which the developers from Other Ocean approached the creation of a remake immediately catches the eye. Each piece of Gallowmir transferred to the new game is overgrown with a bunch of small details and seems to come to life. Which is quite ironic for a world full of undead and graveyard motifs everywhere.

We start the game in our own crypt, from there we go to the Cemetery, then Cemetery Hill is next, then the Mausoleum, after which we return to the burial ground. What’s next? Cemetery Tower, Cemetery Wharf, Cemetery Village? This is practically how it happened: almost all subsequent locations are somehow saturated with a gloomy atmosphere and inhabited by the living dead.

MediEvil (2019) game review

The visual style of MediEvil is great for playing it on Halloween – there are even some levels with aggressively tuned pumpkins.

Unfortunately, there was no place for new content in the game. The original had several cut levels, and fans hoped that they would be added to the new version. As it turned out, in vain. But, after completing the quest with the search for lost souls, players will be able to launch MediEvil of the 1998 model directly from the main menu of the remake.

Restoration has undergone not only the graphics, but also the soundtrack. The dialogue and orchestral soundtrack have been re-recorded and sound much better than the original quality of the first PlayStation, adding an even more heroic mood to Sir Fortescue’s adventures. Moreover, the composers of the original game were responsible for improving the soundtrack.

It would not be entirely correct to say that nothing has changed in the game except for the graphics, because MediEvil has updated the interface and it has become possible to quickly switch from the main weapon to the additional one. Changing equipment, however, is not very convenient: it is tied to the “Triangle” on the gamepad, but interaction with objects is triggered on the same button – get ready for the fact that instead of an action you will accidentally switch weapons and vice versa.

***

The developers of the new MediEvil clearly set themselves the goal of transferring the gaming experience of the late 90s into the remake and not correcting any mistakes of the past. But this approach works when the original itself is perfect, which, alas, cannot be said about MediEvil. Therefore, in the remake, we have an almost complete set of flaws from the era of the first PlayStation: not always an adequate camera, as well as clumsy jumps and battles.

At the same time, it should be noted with what care and attention to detail the levels from the original were transferred. Fans should definitely be pleased: after all, this is the same MediEvil that they played 21 years ago, just in a new, beautiful wrapper. As for newcomers who are unfamiliar with the series, for them the remake can be a good opportunity to join the classic and see for themselves how unfriendly to the player platformers used to be.

Pros: the grave surroundings, on the one hand, are gloomy, and on the other, generously flavored with humor; colorful updated graphics; all dialogues and voice-over phrases are translated into Russian and voiced.

Cons: The flaws of the original have migrated to the remake, although the same camera and jumps could be fixed; sometimes there are bugs (the game sometimes stops working without permission, and the main character can get stuck in the textures).

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