11th December 2011 - The PlayStation Move is yet to see a killer title come out that innovatively utilises the technology in a true gamers’ game. By this I mean it isn’t just an add-on that most people will never use (for example to aim in games like Resistance and Killzone). Nor is it part of a “party game” which some would argue are merely fancy tech demos. Probably the best use of Move since its launch was Sports Champions produced by Zindagi Games. Although it was still just a series of mini games, each one was executed really well and created an enjoyable multiplayer experience. Zindagi Games has taken a host of those skills and put them together in a more story-orientated format. Medieval Moves is a good attempt to solely utilise the Move in a more mainstream format, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark.
You are young Prince Edmund. Your kingdom is attacked by an evil sorcerer who steals an artefact and turns the whole kingdom (including yourself) into skeletons. Your humanity is kept intact by an amulet and now you must pursue the sorcerer to restore yourself and the kingdom. The game relies entirely on the Move controller for all actions. Edmund moves along in a rail shooter type format (think Time Crisis or The Shoot) with enemies and objects to destroy before moving on. Through a progressive series of tutorials you will acquire weapons and tools to complete your quest. If you played Sports Champions, the movements and weapons will be very familiar. One or two controllers can be used with slight variation on the movements for each, but essentially execute the same activity. Standard fare is your sword (which you swing in any direction to swipe enemies down) and your shield (to block melee and projectile attacks). Press a button and move your controller over your shoulder, and all of a sudden you are pulling an arrow from your quiver and drawing it back to take aim, release the trigger and away it goes. Multiple enemies running in? Hold the trigger button, flick your wrist sideways a few times, and you’re throwing a shower of throwing stars (Frisbee anyone?). It’s not just attacks that are catered for either. Replenishing your health means putting the Move controller to your face and tipping it up like drinking from a bottle. The variety of weapons and tools you acquire along the way all work a treat. They are mostly intuitive and (importantly) the transition between them is smooth and consistent for the most part. The only times there were a few issues was when I went between moves too quickly so that I didn’t complete the movement properly. Aiming with bow and arrows was accurate however the throwing stars were difficult beyond close to medium distance.
The movement from one area to the next via a rail system seems a curious one. It forces the game to essentially have an on-rails shooter feel despite the melee and RPG aspects. I couldn’t help feel through the game that some movement of the character with a controller in the left hand would completely change the experience. Allow some exploring of the environment, differing strategies for enemies, just a sense of control rather than being spoon fed. The games style and narrative is clearly designed for a younger audience, so whether it was this or the logistics of moving around which kept the game as is only the developers know. I feel they dropped the ball on this though and what is an okay game could have been a good one with this change.
The enemies are basic and don’t offer much challenge other than to see how fast you can dispose of them. They can be challenging when a combination of melee and projectile enemies attack you at once trying to decide who to take out while protecting yourself ends up in more than a few hits. There are bosses to toughen things up a bit and progress the weak story. To add a challenge for more experienced gamers, there are multiple spots along the way to acquire bonuses. Get x number of boxes in y time frame type deals to test your speed and accuracy.
There are other game modes too where multiplayer is an option. You can play a survival type mode against waves of enemies or a defence mode protecting a statue from being destroyed. In this mode the incentive come in points to upgrade your character to the next level and unlock better weapons. To be honest I didn’t find that it added to the game that much, as it was essentially the same thing as the story mode just without the cheesy story.
The art style is cartoon like with big blocky characters and basic environments. The effects are fit the style which in the end is aimed at a young audience. This isn’t an excuse though and I suspect they have designed it like this to make it easy to target and hit enemies as it has a similar feel to other rail shooters.
I know this game is more for kids but for gods’ sake does the acting have to be soooo cheesy. Every voice in the game is so irritating, the jokes are not even remotely funny, and you just wondered why they bothered at all. I think I would rather just have another tech demo! There are a few nice sound effects essentially taken from Sports Champions. The sound of your bow been drawn, the clash of sword and shield, and barrels breaking apart all have a good ring to them.
I really can’t imagine anyone playing this game for long periods of time. Just getting through the main story was so monotonous that if you do make it through to the end after a few hours and play a few multiplayer games I doubt you will pick up the game again. If you have a Move I would hire it out or pick it up second hand as I don’t think you will get great value buying it brand new.
Zindagi Games did a solid job with Sports Champions. The moves for each game were intuitive and reliable and it was a fun game with mates. Medieval Moves attempted to merge those skills together and create a story. It had so much potential but just never quite got there. The moves are done just as well and the transition between one to another is for the most part smooth and reliable which you want in a motion control game. But being on a rail with no control of your characters direction (except at a fork in the road) significantly dulls the experience. The enemies are monotonous and not that challenging and the story is embarrassingly pitiful. The multiplayer options add a bit of life but not enough to raise the game. So the wait continues for a great Playstation Move title I’m afraid.
+ Accurate, reliable movement with the controller to screen action
+ Good transition between different actions
- The game is on rails making it a spoon fed experience
- Monotonous easy enemies
- Cheesy, unfunny, poorly acted story
Written and reviewed by Khye Davey