Sony has become infamous for showcasing tech demos for their hardware that usually end up never materializing into full games. Case in point: their motion controller showcased a game called Sorcery at last year’s E3 that we’ve heard little of since. So, when they brought Jeremy and his Move controller out to showcase Medieval Moves this past year, people immediately drew comparisons to Sorcery and again wrote the game off. Well, here we are smack dab in the middle of the holiday rush and, lo and behold, Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest arrives on my doorstep. Combining on-rails movement with some fairly accurate sword swinging, this is one game that families will definitely have a blast slashing through.
Developed by Zindagi Games, the same chaps behind the fairly competent Sports Champions, Medieval Moves follows Edmund, a prince who will someday be the ruler of his land. Conflict arises when Morgrimm, the bad guy, brings his skeleton warriors into Edmund’s homeland and turns everyone into bone-bearing citizens, while also stealing the kingdom’s precious artifact known as the Gatestone. Thus your motivation and quest are born as you embark on a rather lengthy adventure to restore the kingdom.
Now, don’t get the wrong idea here, Medieval Moves is an on-rail shooter that allows you to pick up one or two Move wands to act as your sword and shield. Using just one acts as your sword with some truly exceptional one-to-one movement within the game. If you opt for a second wand, it acts as your shield; simply hold the Move button and aim it to block incoming attacks. It actually serves as more of a hindrance, and I wish they had simply opted to allow only one Move controller and the navigation or regular controller to control Deadmund’s movement.
Even with that said, the swordplay works surprisingly well, and you can aim at various points on the enemies to take them down. If that were all there was, the game would certainly feel shallow and grow old quickly. Thankfully, the guys at Zindagi have taken a lot of what they used in Sports Champions and applied it here. Little nuances, such as tilting your Move controller back to drink milk, which restores your health, to reaching behind you to grab arrows and fire them off at skeletons are nice touches. You also have a grappling hook that allows you to move over obstacles and even hit alternate paths if you happen to spot them. You can also toss shurikens at enemies just like in Sports Champions’ Frisbee golf. It is a lot of little touches that keep the experience fresh.
The real issues arise in the fact that Motion controls for faster action sequences sometimes simply do not work. For example, if you are playing on the easier difficulty, which I recommend if letting your kids get into this one, the game offers plenty of wiggle room for encounters. However, if you dial it up, some of the later levels quickly become exercises in frustration. You will find yourself faced off against one brute enemy, a couple of grunts and some long-range foes. Switching between your bow and sword can get cumbersome, and motions don’t always recognize properly. Much like anything else, once you start failing to do what the game wants, it only exacerbates as your aggravation level rises.
Again, this only poses an issue if you bump up difficulty and try to play this game like a serious endeavor. Taken for what it is, there is plenty of fun to be had here. In addition to the campaign, you also have a host of mini-games that can be played both online and from your couch. There are two modes; one is basically horde mode, while the other tasks you with protecting an item while enemies attack. Sure, it isn’t going to replace Call of Duty or the like, but it is a boatload of fun at times. I also liked that the game removed the on-rails aspect by allowing you to grapple around the level to regain your composure.
Visually, the game uses exaggerated characters that fit the light-hearted mood. This definitely doesn’t redefine how good games can look, but it also keeps from being tagged with the “ugly” moniker. Sound is standard and mood setting, with some decent voice acting and a nice score that goes well with the setting. Againt, nothing will blow you away, but it does do a nice job of fitting the source material.
As long as you go into Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest knowing what to expect, you won’t come away disappointed. The game is obviously aimed at more of a family audience where kids can play on their own or with their parents. In that instance, it works wonderfully with little issue. Those hoping that this might be the motion-controlled adventure the hardcore had be waiting for will find little more than a diversion that works well but doesn’t revolutionize the medium. If you have kids looking for a lengthy game with action elements, or just love fake sword fighting, this is definitely one to check out for those that have invested in Sony’s motion controller.
Review copy provided by publisher.