In a vague attempt to show that somebody on the development team realised that things have moved on since the last century, the game also features the odd challenge – the sort of little mini-game found in a Zelda or a Jak and Daxter. Sadly, whacking rats and herding sheep is as imaginative as it gets, and here the execution is woefully poor. Sorry, but these aren’t much fun either.
Some of this could have been excused if the levels were full of standout moments or lush vistas, but no. There are exceptions, but for the most part they’re horrifically bland and samey. And while the early levels have the decency to stay fairly compact, later ones seem to go on forever. One, Scarecrow Fields, proved such a lengthy struggle to progress through that I not only lost the will to carry on playing but – almost – the will to live. It doesn’t help that Sony Cambridge has been stingy with the health potions, or that some monsters can knock so much off you in so little time. At one point I was saving after each and every kill, not out of fear of dying, but just out of fear that I would have to spend another five minutes defeating the same dumb monster again.
And don’t even get me started on the camera. It just about copes with normal gameplay, but in boss battles or mass scraps it’s determined to prevent your survival. When the boss battles are so completely based on attack patterns, it helps to know exactly where the next attack is coming from, don’t you think?
At its best, this is an average title with decent graphics but bog-standard gameplay. At its worst, it’s a bit of a leaden slog. Like a two-hour special of You’ve Been Framed, it’ll make you smile, even laugh occasionally, but is that really worth all the wasted time? Even when we last saw Medievil, games like Soul Reaver and Ocarina of Time showed that there were exciting, epic new directions that the third-person action/adventure could take. In the time since, Jak and Daxter, Devil May Cry and God of War have confirmed it. Sadly, Medievil now seems like a giant step backwards. If this is all that this series has to offer, then perhaps it should stay buried for good.
Not the most successful resurrection. The heart is pumping and there’s colour in the cheeks, but the higher functions are showing little sign of life.