We live in the era of remakes and remasters, where original PlayStation classics like Spyro, Crash, and Resident Evil 2 are getting resurrected to feed on our nostalgia. Luckily, we have enough undead puns left over from our Resident Evil 2 review, however, we've decided to spare you from the regeneration, reincarnation, and rejuvenation jokes we have and just review what we've got here with the latest remaster exclusive to the PS4 - MediEvil.
With the original coming out two decades ago, we're reviewing this MediEvil as its own thing, but from reading around the project we know that the developers studied the original game deeply. They even met with some of the original team and opened up the code of the first game in an attempt to get into the heads of the developers and get into the same way of thinking. This level of attention and care is obvious in what is a great final product.
For those of you who don't know the story, we'll catch you up. You take on the role of a knight called Sir Daniel Fortesque who long ago led the king's army to victory against an evil sorcerer called Zarok. Sounds heroic, right? Well, in reality, Sir Daniel was struck down by an arrow in the first moments of battle, and his army went on to save the kingdom of Gallowmere from Zarok's undead army, despite the knight's misadventure.
Fast forward 100 years and Zarok is back, raising his undead army with his evil magic to once again threaten Gallowmere. In the process of resurrecting his army he inadvertently wakes Sir Daniel from his slumber too, and we're given another chance at heroism, courtesy of his magical blunder.
This time though, the knight is all bones, and he's missing his eye that was taken by the arrow. This is Sir Daniel's chance to finally become the hero he was thought to be and defeat Zarok, saving Gallowmere and securing his place in the Hall of Heroes.
The plot is simple, but well delivered and rather humorous. We found ourselves chuckling and smirking quite a few times, and even though our memories are a little cloudy 21 years after the original's release, it gave us that sense and feeling of nostalgia.
As you battle your way through Gallowmere, fighting a menagerie of monsters, you come across a variety of different weapons. You have swords and clubs for close-quarters combat while throwing daggers and bows can be used from a distance. Most weapons have a charge function, allowing you to unleash a more powerful attack, and this simple system is still rather satisfying. In fact, we had quite a bit of fun hacking up the monsters.
Then there's the fact that certain weapons can be used to access new areas, like a club that can be used to smash boulders that might be blocking a section of the level. One thing we adored was the fact you could pull your own arm off and use that as a weapon too... we told you the game had humour.
The combat and the jumping feel pretty solid, just as with other remasters of this ilk. You spend a lot of your time jumping over things or hacking something up, and there's even a blocking system using a shield that has a limited number of hits before it breaks and you need to find a new one. Dark Souls combat it ain't, but it's still fun and effective.
Through the variety of levels, you meet comical gargoyles, some of which offer to refill your ammo, while others give you information. There are also chalices to collect in each level which can be used to get new weapons from your fallen comrades in the Hall of Heroes. Most of these chalices are awarded when you kill enough enemies, releasing their souls.
MediEvil looks great in the visual department too. The story parts are wonderfully coloured and animated, while the gameplay itself feels polished, well lit, and nicely textured. Graphically, we can't fault MediEvil, and it even has a camera called the 'Dan Cam' where you can take in the beautiful scenery while looking over Sir Daniel's shoulder.
What we can fault is the camera. Most of the time, modern technology served the game really well, but the camera seemed to run away from us at times and we found ourselves over-correcting. This could be because we're more used to fixed cameras, but there were other instances where we didn't have the opportunity to move the camera when we were in an enclosed environment.
Apart from that, the controls and experience were great. The version we played came along with a comic book, story art, a backdrop and a soundtrack. It made us feel that the developers really loved Medievil, and it felt like a passion project that was tangible when playing it.
The only thing we could be slightly critical about is some of the enemy AI at times. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed our time here, but there was nothing too taxing about it. You spend a lot of time running around to find a soul stone which opens a door and then hacking up a few enemies. The difficulty did get harder, but once you had the ranged weapons, some of the enemies just stood there and took till death. That said, it might appeal to younger gamers, and people looking for a nostalgia burst.
The last thing we need to mention is the sound, as everything's good on that front, with the atmosphere set well. Also, we must give a special nod to the fantastic and humorous acting, as that really gives this classic its character and personality.
MediEvil looks great, is packed with humour, and it's a nice nostalgic feeling to return to the classic all these years later. Fans of platformers should give it a look over, especially if you enjoyed things like Spyro or Crash, and we enjoyed this knight's grand adventure just as much as we did back in the day.