One of Sony’s long beloved heroes has been resurrected for the PlayStation 4, in a top-down remake of a classic franchise. You play as Sir Daniel Fortesque, an undead hero who is hoping to rewrite his embarrassing battlefield legacy. MediEvil faithfully recreates an ill-fated hero’s whimsical journey filled with zombies, rabid wolves and other specters.
Sir Daniel and I go way back, thwarting evil forces since the original game’s release on the PlayStation in 1998. When Sony announced they’d be faithfully reimagining the game for a modern audience, I was excited to see the game grace the PS4 for a new (and old) generation of gamers.
Platform: PlayStation 4
Developer: Other Ocean Emeryville
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Modes: Single player
ESRB Rating: T for Teen (Ages 13+)
A knight’s tale of redemption
Welcome back to the Kingdom of Gallowmere, where our hero’s story unfolds. The game centres on Sir Daniel Fortesque, a cowardly knight whose legacy is built on false glory. When he walked the world of the living, he wasn’t a very good knight, in fact he was downright awful. Sir Daniel was to lead an army against the evil sorceress Zarok, instead he was victim to a very quick end. He was felled by a single arrow in the opening moments of the battle. Sir Daniel’s army emerged victorious, battling back Zarok but the knight’s embarrassing defeat was hidden by his king.
Fast forward a century later and Zarok is back at it again, raising an army of the dead against the people of Gallowmere. In Zarok’s haste he accidently resurrects Sir Daniel who returns from the grave with a vengeance. The undead warrior has something to prove, this time looking to save Gallowmere and prove himself worthy.
Hauntingly fun gameplay
MediEvil is an action-adventure hack-n’-slash game at its core, with straightforward, yet addictively fun gameplay. As you make your way through Gallowmere your arsenal expands from swords, hammers and axes all the way up to wielding lightening. Your very own arm can be used as a club! It’s no holds barred when it comes to Sir Daniel’s road to redemption!
Melee weapons have both standard and powered-up attacks, helping to add variety to the game’s combat. The streamlined attacks work well with the game’s overall playful design, which doesn’t get bogged down in an over complicated weapon system.
Strike out from afar
If you are a fan of ranged attacks you also have access to projectiles like throwing daggers, arrows and even a magic longbow.
The weapon variety is matched well against the different enemy types you’ll face off against. For example, one area has you facing off against spinning, nearly invincible scarecrows. Instead of engaging them the gameplay dynamic shifts forcing you to retreat and figure out ways to trap the enemy in order for you to progress. I found a great variety of locales and enemies that helped keep the gameplay fresh throughout the game.
Save our souls!
I would have also really liked to see more save points in each of the game’s levels. Unfortunately, they are quite rare and you might go through an area only to get killed near the very end and need to start from scratch. Purists might chalk this up to remaining faithful to the original but more save points would have been ideal.
While battling your foes or traversing platform sections an unexpected enemy can emerge with the camera angles. At times the camera can make it difficult to locate your target. The new Dan Cam which gives you an “over the shoulder” view of the action does help to remedy some of these issues.
If looks and sounds could kill…
MediEvil is an absolute stunner in the graphics department, this is the facelift the franchise deserves. The Tim Burton stylized world is an absolute joy to playthrough and makes me want to come back again and again to explore every nook and cranny. The colour palette and atmosphere has been massively upgraded in comparison to its PS1 counterpart.
Looking back, the original looks grey and drab, the new game is brighter and more vivid, while maintaining the creepy Halloween-y vibe. I did notice the framerate drop when multiple enemies were onscreen, otherwise the game’s presentation is stunning.
The audio is also a real treat, including orchestral scores that fade and swell as the action grows more intense. Organs, horns and other classic instruments help bring Sir Dan’s undead world alive in new ways. The visuals and musical score shine the brightest in this remake, both making the trip back to Gallowmere well worth it.
After the credits
Even after the credits roll there are challenges that remain which add to MediEvil’s replay value. You can return to previous levels and defeat a target number of enemies to earn a chalice. halices can be taken back to the “Hall of Heroes” to reclaim weapon and other upgrades for Sir Daniel.
Another neat bonus centres around the search for Lost Souls, finding them leads to a special reward. There are 19 to find in total and locating them all unlocks the original version of MediEvil from 1998. A great bonus for hardcore fans of the original game.
MediEvil is a frightfully delightful adventure
I really enjoyed the renewed romp with MediEvil and its 4K facelift. The game’s campaign features some great nostalgia inducing moments. The same twists and turns from the original MediEvil are still present. If you have a razor-sharp memory, you’ll be able to navigate around just fine, maps and puzzles remain much the same as the first game.
It was great to see the series macabre humour and charm stay intact after all these years. The areas it would have been great to see upgrades in were the camera angles, control accuracy and save frequency. More polish with these three elements had the potential to push the title closer to perfection. The remake bar has been set very high with standouts like the Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy and Spyro Reignited.
It would have been great to see MediEvil’s approach closer to these titles. With that being said, if you are a fan of the hack-n’-slash genre, MediEvil offers quite a bit of variety in challenges needing both your brains and brawn.
+Macabre story and style
+Outstanding musical score
-Lack of mid-level and boss battle checkpoints
-Somewhat dated gameplay mechanics
-Challenging camera angles
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF MEDIEVIL