Having found some success with their previous title, Sports Champions, Zindagi Games returns to the PlayStation Move with MEDIEVAL MOVES. Can lightning strike twice? We find out.
Medieval Moves follows Prince Edmund, with guidance from the ghost of one of his ancestors, as he sets out to save his kingdom from a debilitating curse: an evil sorcerer has used dark magic to turn the citizens into mindless skeletons. Through a magic amulet, Prince Edmund maintains his free will whilst the rest of the population fall in line to do the sorcerer’s diabolical bidding. Edmund becomes Deadmund and sets off to defeat the sorcerer and save the day. It’s a contrived and simple plot, but Medieval Moves is clearly aimed at a younger audience, and with that audience in mind it does a decent job of keeping things moving.
The tale is told through hand-drawn, comicbook panels that match the charm of the rest of the game marvellously. Character design sports a simple, caricatured style that, when paired with the bumbling actions and animation of foes, completely immerses you in its whimsical humour. It’s further cemented by the dialogue, which remains light and amusing throughout, from your Scottish ancestor’s one-liners to the comments from the many citizens-turned-enemies. Add to that a high quality of voice acting and there’s no denying how alive with character Medieval Moves is, and this goes a long way in keeping you engaged despite the simplistic narrative.
I like to move it move it
Medieval Moves follows traditional on-rails progression as you’re guided along a path through the environment, only stopping for combat. You do occasionally get a choice in direction but the outcome is always the same – a tiny bit of travel before a horde of undead attacks you or you engage a boss. It gets repetitive quickly, although Medieval Moves does try its best with a selection of weapons to keep it from becoming too monotonous.
You have the choice to use your bow and arrow, sword and shield or throwing stars, with the ability to switch between all of them at will. Whichever you choose the controls are great: responsive 1:1 tracking makes swinging your sword, aiming you bow and chucking your stars simple and enjoyable with either a single or pair of Move wands. Moreover, there are some clever uses of the wand for other actions. Things like cupping your hand over the orb to light dynamite or performing a drinking action to down some milk and restore health adds to the charm of the title.
The combat actions are taken straight from Sports Champions and make the transition brilliantly. They imitate real life to an impressive degree of accuracy, with the bow and arrow actions particularly feeling authentic as you pull arrows from the imaginary quiver on your back. It all comes together to immerse you in the world. The PlayStation Move controllers certainly prove their worth in accuracy and ease of use in Medieval Moves, and the decision to make this title an on-rails combat game further compliments the control setup.
Good job Jeremy
However, despite the choice of weapons to dispatch your foes, the repetition persists. Combat is practically constant and the on-rails limitations to exploration provide no opportunity to search the many locations. It’s an action adventure game highly focused on the action and despite the charming aesthetic and atmospheric environments, you’ll find little to entice you back to this medieval world.
The lack of replayability is a shame, as the world itself is vibrant and varied. You’ll find yourself fighting through thick woodland, dank caves and dark castles against a nice selection of skeleton enemies brandishing a variety of weapons and tattered clothing, as well as a few animal skeletons and oversized boss characters. It’s certainly a visual treat, and whilst the overall graphical quality is average, the cartoon-esque aesthetic and some great lighting effects make it a world worth visiting. It’s fortunate then that some additional modes flesh out the experience to encourage you to return.
Outside of the main story are survival and multiplayer modes. Survival offers the very familiar challenge of taking on waves of enemies with different rules and modifiers, while a two-player competitive mode sets you and another player against each other – online or locally – to see who can kill the most skeletons in a session. They’re nice additions but ones that offer fleeting engagement. Additional difficulty settings and collectables are available in the story mode for the completitionist but trying to nab these collectables with an on-rails setup can get frustrating. Otherwise, Medieval Moves is a bit light on content.
It certainly provides an entertaining adventure for kids and a charming one for adults, but it suffers with its return value. It’s a shame, as it could have been of the best Move titles around, but tight controls and an appealing identity aren’t quite enough in the end.
Built on the solid mechanics of Sports Champions, Medieval Moves is positioned to be one of the best Move titles around. Unfortunately, there’s certainly not enough going on to make this title really shine.
Medieval Moves, by Zindagi Games and Sony Entertainment, is Out Now on PS3.