Retro Review: Medievil
Developed By: Millenium Interact
Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment of America
Original Release Date: October 1, 1998
Not Recommended. Bringing Medievil to the PlayStation Store was a questionable decision at best. The original PSone game didn't bring anything new to the table, and it's PSP remake didn't fare any better. The gameplay has aged quite poorly over the past eight years, making Medievil a game that you'd like to like ... but can't. Don't let the endearing characters and setting fool you: Medievil is bad.
Didn't Sony remake Medievil on the PSP in a game called Medievil Resurrection? Didn't that game suffer from poor, simplistic fighting controls? An unworkable camera? Didn't that game already feel antiquated as-is? The critics bashed the game, and rightfully so. Therefore, bringing the original, un-improved Medievil to the PlayStation Store seems like a questionable move at best, considering how there's so many better games we'd like to see hit the platform.
You may be fooled into thinking that this game is worth more than what it deserves from its fun, memorable intro. The CG, although dated, still holds its own. The skeletal hero, Sir Daniel Fortesque, comes alive (pun intended) in the game; he appears to be a fun character in a classically-crafted world. Sure, the themes in the game are somewhat cliche (even for its own time!), but the game embraces its fun, campy nature for good effect.
However, good art direction does not necessarily make a good game--gameplay does, and this is where Medievil ultimately fails. The digital controls of Sir Daniel never feel precise enough for the player, regardless of which PSP control type you choose. Running around becomes a cumbersome task in and of itself, especially with the problematic camera. Certainly, the graphics don't help. Although the art changes from level to level, the textures in each individual area become repetitive: circling around levels becomes confusing thanks to the uninspired color palette.
Precision is something the game sorely lacks, as can be seen by the frustratingly simple combat system. Regardless of what equipment your character is holding, the game boils down to an unskilled mashing of the X button. There is no sense of impact when fighting these brain-dead villians (which is, in truth, much more forgivable when they're zombies).
Medievil Resurrection: exact same game, much better graphics
Medievil came out during an era where companies were blindly churning out forgettable platformers, in an attempt to capture some of Mario 64's success. Although Medievil crafts a fun world to romp in, the gameplay was already uninspired when it originally came out. This isn't the kind of the game that belongs in the PlayStation Store. Sony should give us genre-defining classics, not formulaic rehashes. If you need a fix, it's hard to recommend this over the upgraded Medievil Resurrection. As flawed as that package is, at least it offers better graphics. Don't let the endearing characters and setting fool you: Medievil is bad.
PSP Fanboy Retro Review: 4.0 out of 10
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