PAX West 2019: No Bones About It, MediEvil is Another Nostalgic PlayStation Trip
When Crash Bandicoot got his remake a few years ago, critics and fans were unanimous in their adoration of the collection. The same happened soon after with Spyro the Dragon's trilogy. Then, Crash Team Racing got its moment in the sun earlier this year.
Each outing has been awesome for new fans new and old, and the projects have amassed a ton of goodwill for these properties which laid dormant for so long.
Fittingly, it's now the undead Sir Daniel Fortesque's moment of resurrection. I went hands-on with the first two levels of PlayStation's overhaul of the cult classic, and I found in it the same nostalgic thrill all recent remakes have given me.
I was never really sure what the lasting impression of MediEvil was among the gaming public. I liked it a lot when I played it on PS1 as a kid, but we had a lot of weird games back then, and there was no internet to tell us the consensus opinion.
With this remake forthcoming, it seems I wasn't nearly alone in my appreciation for the difficult but lovable game as I thought.
The remake truly plays out just like those aforementioned recent remakes do. It's shot for shot the original, perhaps recrafted right over the old code like Crash and Spyro apparently were. If you played MediEvil decades ago, you'll immediately travel through time.
Waking in the crypt, reading tutorial tomes, and gathering your weapons all looks and feels exactly as you left it, only now it's much prettier, even with a layer of the macabre decorating the entire world.
Heading out into the graveyard is another immediate blast from the past. It's amazing how much one retains of influential titles without realizing it. It was like I remembered where to go and what to do, even where the zombies would sprout up.
If there's one element of MediEvil you'll struggle to welcome back, it's the button-mashy combat, where Fortesque chops at the undead almost aimlessly. He's quick with a sword, especially for someone with no muscle structure, but it still feels less than reliable.
No matter how fast you can hack away, the enemies sometimes land a few hits on you.
This could be a long-term issue for the game when later sections get really tough. Nobody likes feeling as if the game let them down. It's easier to accept when it's our own fault, and MediEvil sometimes doesn't feel that way, just like it's always felt.
I played just the first two levels, but the second stage also left me stranded without a shield during a platforming section where a shield is vital.
It's these sorts of old-school design flaws that annoyingly come along for the ride in the same way the original Crash Bandicoot still features depth perception issues.
But for those that recall how the game once behaved and can accept it might be like that again, MediEvil will be a challenging experience, though ultimately one that is still full of simple fun and great imagery.
What's a few broken bones along the way?
For more PAX West 2019 coverage, including more hands-on impressions, be sure to head over to our PAX West 2019 hub.