There have been some fantastic remakes over the last few years, Shadow of the Colossus, Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fuelled, Yakuza Kiwami and my personal favourite, Resident Evil 2, to name but a few.  However, the latest remake to catch our attention is that of the 1998 PlayStation classic, MediEvil, now developed by Other Ocean Emeryville.  In MediEvil, you play as famed hero, Sir Daniel Fortesque, however, despite what legend says, Sir Dan is perhaps not quite the triumphant hero that we are led to believe.  The year was 1286 and the evil sorcerer Zarok raised an army of the undead to take over the kingdom of Gallowmere and those that were fortunate to survive, would become servants and minions of Zarok.

However, our “champion” Sir Dan led the battle against the evil forces of Zarok, but he was struck down by the very first arrow launched at the battle and that was the end of his heroic involvement.  To save face, the King of Gallowmere buried this story like a corpse in the graveyard and wrote his own version of the legend that is Sir Daniel Fortesque.  Yet 100 years later, Zarok returns with his undead army in an attempt to take over the kingdom of Gallowmere once more and as fortune would have it, Sir Dan is also resurrected from the grave giving him an opportunity to not only save the kingdom, but to also become the legend that we are led to believe he is.

For just about any remake or remaster, they either cater for original fans wanting a taste of nostalgia or new fans that had missed the original release and are keen to try a newer, shinier version of the game that they loved or heard so much about.  For me, I fall into the latter category as I have never played the original MediEvil, well, that was until recently.  Before playing this remake, I remembered that the original PlayStation classic was a PS+ title on PS3 some years back, so I took the opportunity to download the original, just so that I had a direct comparison.  Naturally, the PS1 version was very dated in almost every way, considering that it is a game a whopping 21 years old!  Regardless, I at least now felt a little more educated on the source material before jumping into this modern remake.

Upon starting MediEvil (2019), it was clear that a lot of love and care has gone into making this game look fantastic.  The opening cut-scene was better than some decent CGI animation movies with a charismatic voice-cast that would remain a regular trend throughout the game, the music was very Tim Burton inspired, which was an added plus in my estimation.  When the game started, obviously the visuals weren’t quite CGI cut-scene standard, but in-game they were vibrant in a gloomy kind of way and the gameplay performed at a steady framerate.  It was clear that this modern remake would certainly be a great looking game from start to finish, and it certainly made a good, opening impression.  However, as nice as the game looked and as charismatic as the voice-cast were, it’s a bit of a mixed bag in terms of gameplay.

From what I can tell, the gameplay in the remake is practically identical as the original and so too is the map layout, with exception of some added space to explore and manoeuvre.  You will be hacking and slashing your way through hordes of the undead whether it is with your trusty sword, a heavy club, throwing knives or a handy crossbow.  Getting used to what weapons are best to use against certain enemy types is worth knowing, because MediEvil can have surprising difficulty spikes at times, especially when you get charged at by tank zombies, so you must also get into the habit of using your shields as much as you can, otherwise your health bar is going to take one hell of a beating.  Thankfully, there are areas in each map where you can top-up your health and with a little exploring; you’ll find some helpful life potions too.  Insuring that your health is maxed out and making sure you’ve got more than one life potion (which act as extra lives) is essential, because even if you die at the hands of an end of level boss, if you have no life potions, you will be thrown back to the very beginning of the level as the checkpoints can be very unforgiving and with some sudden difficulty spikes, it can get very frustrating too.

Once I got used to the enemies in an area of the map and what weapons are best to use where, managing those old-school checkpoints become a little easier to bear.  However, along with old-school gameplay mechanics, comes old-school technical frustrations that seem to be present from the original.  I found issues of clipping when running close to certain scenery, which can be particularly frustrating if it’s during a segment that requires a little speed and precision.  Likewise, I found issues during some of the platform sections, where it seemed that Sir Dan didn’t make the most simple of jumps, which when combined with clipping, these sections at times become more frustrating then they intended to be.  So it’s just a shame that as great as this game looks, the clipping issues that were present in the original release, still made their way into this remake.  Hopefully though, this could be something that the developers could perhaps fix with a patch (if not done already, post review).

After a few hours of play-time, the combat does soon become a little repetitive.  But in all fairness, while it may have been nice to make some new additions to the combat, I suppose if they had changed too much, it would have displeased some loyal fans by not remaining faithful to its source material.  However, there have been some improvements made to the camera, allowing it to become a little more free-flowing and there is a new optional, over-the-shoulder perspective called “Dan Cam”.  Yet despite this, the camera still at times can obscure your view, even if it has been improved over the original.  Additionally, there is also the Book of Gallowmere which offers information on the various characters and enemies featured in the game, as well as new side-mission objectives named “Lost Souls” which are present in each level and if you complete them all, you will unlock the original 1998 game, which is a nice bonus.

All in all, I can only speak from my own personal experience of course, but unlike recent remakes, MediEvil falls quite short of the high standard of remakes that we’ve been treated too in the last year or two.  Sure it looks great and it’s had some extra bonus features thrown-in, but ultimately the core gameplay should have had as much attention and care as the visuals, because mixed in with issues you’d expect from a game over 20 years old and the lack of evolution, this MediEvil remake could have and should have been so much more.  That said, with a launch RRP of £24.99, it is a fair price, so you still can’t go much wrong if you really wanted to pick this game up right now.  However, if you can hold out for the inevitable sales, MediEvil might not be perfect, but there’s plenty of old-school fun and value to be had with Sir Daniel Fortesque and his road to redemption.



Author

Richard Lee Breslin
Richard Lee Breslin

Gamimg has been my life for 30+ years and will always be my passion. I have a BDes Hons Games Development and Digital Media, and I hope to one day turn my passion for gaming and writing into a living. My favourite gaming series are Resi Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, Assassin's Creed, Uncharted and The Last of Us. I collect gaming merchandise, comics and movies. I love football (namely Aston Villa) and WWE. I can also often be found wondering the outskirts of Raccoon City. Follow me on Twitter @Solidus5nake and you can check out my Patreon here: https://www.patreon.com/solidus5nake