A long time ago, in a distant distant kingdom in name Gallowmers, a bony as well as improbable hero awakened from his long sleep. Zarok, a sorcerer as evil as he was powerful, once again threatened the quiet people of the kingdom who, with a loud voice, called for the return of Sir Daniel Fortesque, the unblemished and fearless knight who had put an end to the magician's intentions a hundred years earlier. In spite of all odds, Sir Daniel managed to defeat Zarok again, restoring peace, redeeming his honor, and finally returning again to his eternal rest.
Hundreds of years have passed since the adventure of our hero and, despite the everlasting memory of those who lived his exploits firsthand, the young shoots of the videogame had only heard of this brave swordsman, wondering if he would ever have the an opportunity to touch the much vaunted emotions firsthand (or with a pad). Well, in 2019, another magician (this time a good one) has decided to awaken Sir Daniel Fortesque again, bringing to the surface both him and his adventure, and giving everyone, young and old, the opportunity to play. Medievil, as if it were the first time.
A short distance from the darkest night of the year, a few days before Halloween, Medievil is back on Playstation 4, in an expected remake like few others, both by critics and fans. Despite the initial enthusiasm, a question haunts the many fans of Sir Daniel Fortesque: so much hype will it have been well placed? We will try to give an answer in the lines of our review.
Medievil: Sir Daniel returns his PlayStation 4
If any self-respecting player knows the plot of the game by heart, it is certainly useful to remember the historical context "in which the game was released. Between Crash Bandicoot (1996), Croc (1997), Oddworld: Abe's Oddyssee (1997), Spyro the Dragon (1998) and many other quality titles, Medievil consecrated what we could define the golden age of platformers on Playstation, the first and very successful Sony console. The fact that almost all of these video games just mentioned are back in vogue with successful remakes, made everyone understand that, sooner or later, we could also embrace Sir Daniel again.
But what distinguished Medievil from his other illustrious colleagues? First, a fort cinematic cut, perceptible from the initial game menu; secondly, atmospheres between the scary and the ironic, which make Tim Burton fans happy; finally, it is impossible not to mention the game mechanics hack'n slash which, combined with the large number of weapons available to the protagonist, guaranteed different possible approaches to gameplay.
Fortunately, from the very first bars of the game, we can say that Other Ocean Emeryville has perfectly preserved all the strengths listed above, adding, as expected, more refined polygonal models, texture up to a triple A and, above all, implemented the many "special effects" of Sir Daniel's weapons and various enemies, making them more realistic.
From a graphic point of view, the impact with the remake of Medievil was remarkable. Although the feeling with the title has remained practically unchanged, just admiring the statue of our unlikely hero and the "polished" face of the evil Zarok made a certain impression. Wandering through Sir Daniel's crypt, talking to the heads of the Gargoyles, and venturing through the lands of Gallowmere - all preserved the same taste as twenty-one years ago, to which a graphic design in step with the times has been added, capable of making even the most skeptical of players remain speechless.
Second, the choice to have confirmed much of the voice cast already present on the PSX version of the game made the joy of Medievil fans, who were able to enjoy both the original voices and the fantastic soundtrack of the title, again created by Bob and Barn (aka Paul Arnold and Andrew Barnabas) and capable, as always, of plunging us into the dark and perilous lands of Gallowmere.
In addition, the 'ironic element it was even more accentuated, both in the new lines of dialogue present in the new Medievil, and in the hilarious voices of the Tome of Gallowmere, in which the various information on allies, enemies and bosses will get you more than a laugh.
A gameplay faithful to the original ... maybe too much
But let's now analyze another of the crucial aspects of the remake: the gameplay. Personally speaking, when I first played Medievil, I loved its gameplay mechanics halfway between platformer and hack'n slash, obviously without forgetting the puzzles and boss fights, never dull and never boring. However, as we all know, certain titles can "age" in a way that is not always perfect, and the comparison with their illustrious past can often reserve many negative surprises. Based on all of this, when I was about to grab the play pad, two questions gripped me: how has Medievil aged? And is there still room, in 2019, for Sir Daniel Fortesque?
As mentioned earlier, the line chosen by the development studio that worked on the remake was that of fidelity to the original work. Apart from the addition of secret areas and rooms, the geometries of the stages have remained practically unchanged, but they can count on a whole series of textures and particle effects (including for example the foliage) not achievable in the 90s. The same map / gaming hub, where you can select the various levels, has remained intact, retaining its mystical and medieval charm. A nice addition is Sir Daniel's helmet which, if equipped, will make your opponents stronger, thus adding a difficult mode, entirely absent in the original title.
However, there is a downside on which it is not possible to overlook, linked to two aspects of fundamental importance: the combat system and game camera. In the first case, the reason why the combat system of the Medievil remake did not convince us is that, basically, it remained anchored in the 90s. In an era like ours, in which there is an increasing tendency to the "perfect shot", and in which hack'n slash have heavily evolved (just think of Devil May Cry 5, or the latest God of War), our hero will continue to strike as in the first version of his adventure, often missing the target due to game mechanics from the last century.
As for the camera, the reason for this problem lies in the fact that, in this remake, the game view has been brought closer to our protagonist. The consequence of this choice will make the camera "get stuck" in some points of the stages, making us totally defenseless against enemy attacks and, often, blocking us at certain points in the levels. If you add a frame rate not particularly stable, especially in the most crowded areas of the game, and the slight loading times between some screens of a single stage, you can easily understand how much more could be expected from a technical point of view.USEFUL INFO
I played Medievil on Playstation 4 Pro in Italian, without any patches, completing 80% of the main storyline and all side missions. On day one, the first corrective patch will arrive, as usual.Duration
- The game can be completed in about ten hours, which can become 15 if you want to take all the glasses.
- 4K support, but there are no choices between different configurations on the PlayStation 4 Pro.
- There are no difficulty levels. However, anyone who has played the Medievil demo will get Sir Daniel's helmet which, when equipped, will make enemies stronger.
- There are two secondary missions, which will be assigned to you by the witches, as long as you are in possession of the witches' talisman.
- The only collectible items in the game are the Goblets, obtainable only after defeating a certain number of enemies per stage, and as long as you understand where they are located.
Let's get our teeth out immediately: the remake of Medievil is not free from flaws, flaws that will make those accustomed to technical perfection and gameplay filed in every single detail turn up their noses. However, Medievil is a game that anyone who calls themselves a video game enthusiast should try it at least once in your life, and the work done by Other Ocean Emeryville has the merit of bringing back one of the most loved platformers ever, respecting its nature, enhancing all its strengths and accentuating its strong ironic component.
Despite the flaws listed above, we can confidently state that in 2019 there is still room for Sir Daniel Fortesque, and letting you miss the opportunity to (re) play his heroic deeds would be a fault you could not make up for in any way ... not even with a resurrection!Review by Claudio_Albero
Excellent resolution and excellent textures for a platformer that deserved a comeback at these levels. Some frame rate issues that are sure to be fixed with the day one patch.
SOUNDTRACK AND DOUBLE ROOM
Excellent choice to confirm most of the voice actors present in the original version of Medievil, and even more welcome the new soundtrack, written by the same authors of the original music of the game.
Something more could be done on the combat system and, above all, on the game camera, which to define uncomfortable is an understatement. However, Medievil still entertains as if we were playing it for the first time.