An on-rails adventure game for the PlayStation Move, which has nothing to do with the classic MediEvil game.
With the abundance of Move titles that are being released to take advantage of this holiday season, Medieval Moves may well be one game that is overlooked by the family-fun, party-going crowd that will be lapping up these games in time for the festive family gatherings. This is because Medieval Moves is not a party game or a compilation of mini-games, it is an on-rails adventure game primarily for the single player. But, once the party is over and the revelers have all staggered home, or been thrown out, those party games won’t be quite so appealing. But maybe a bit of bow-firing, sword-swinging action will hit the mark.
Prince Edmund, along with his ghostly ancestor advisor, begin the game in his fantasy kingdom going through some basic combat training. This early sequence will get the player used to the basic weapons – the sword, shield and bow. However, things don’t stay peaceful for long when an evil sorcerer named Morgrimm the Black attacks Edmund’s Kingdom and steals the magical Gatestone. He also casts a curse over the Kingdom, turning all of the inhabitants into mindless Skeletons. Edmund is also affected by this curse, turning him into a Skeleton, but his now shattered magical amulet has allowed him to keep his mind. It is now up to the newly named Deadmund to find the shattered pieces of his amulet, remove the curse from his Kingdom and defeat Morgrimm. All in a days work for a young Skeletal Prince.
As already mentioned, the game is “on-rails” meaning that movement is already taken care of. The player will move forward into a given area where they have to deal with whatever threat is there, before moving on to the next area. Whilst this does not lend itself well to immersive gameplay, excellent games such as House of the Dead and The Gunstringer prove that these type of games can be incredibly fun, as long as the actual mechanics work well. Thankfully in Medieval Moves, they do.
Gamers who have played developer Zindagi Games’ previous Move title, Sports Champions, will know what to expect from both the melee and ranged mechanics. Players simply swing their Move controller for Deadmund to replicate the movements on screen with his sword. The Move controller does a brilliant job of matching the moves with amazing precision. Holding the Move button, Deadmund will take out his shield and block melee or projectile attacks, also with great precision, which is important as attacks come from different directions.
For ranged attacks, the player will be choosing between the bow or throwing stars. To use the bow, players need to reach behind them as if pulling an arrow from a quiver and pull the trigger button. They then point at the screen, where a targeting reticule will appear, and then release the trigger to fire. Throwing stars can be hurled at enemies by pulling the trigger and flicking in the enemies direction. Whilst they are especially handy when faced with multiple attackers, they are quite difficult to target properly so are of no use for long range.
The game is also filled with other little Move-based actions, such as drinking milk (which are effectively potions, replenishing health) by holding the Move button and tilting the controller as if actually drinking milk from a bottle, or pointing the controller down to duck and flicking up to jump through various areas.
Having quite a few different actions using just the one controller can get a bit confusing at times, and the game obviously feels the same way. For the most part, the game translates the movements onto the screen quite well, but at times the player will find Deadmund not actually doing what they wanted, which can be annoying. They will also find that the game can require quite exaggerated movements, something which became increasingly obvious when the game kept telling me to swing harder. Believe me, my arm was suffering on the following day.
Although confronted by wave after wave of skeletal adversaries and the occasional boss, the game never really becomes challenging. In this respect, it is ideal for the younger audience, as long as the cartoon violence is not an issue, or for those looking for a more casual experience. This is also apparent in the games’ humour, which is fun and childish, providing a light-hearted adventure with very little threat.
There are also a few mini-games included for two players to enjoy, both online and locally. There are two co-op games and two competitive games to play, all of which are quite enjoyable with a friend. The co-op games will see the players working together to fight off increasingly difficult waves of enemies, whilst the competitive games will certainly get rivalries flowing. But these modes are just fluff that are added to what is predominantly a single player experience.
Nothing can cover up the fact that Medieval Moves has very little depth. But for a time-wasting motion-controlled, single-player game, Deadmund’s Quest is great fun. It is not especially big or clever, but it pulls the player in and gets them involved in some enjoyable fantasy action.