November 27, 2011
Sony came to this year's E3 with a bunch of spiffy exclusive titles in their tool kit such as Uncharted 3 and Resistance 3. However, you may have skimmed over Sony's PlayStation Move line-up which included some new IPs such as Medieval Moves, the second title from Move-focused developer Zindagi Games. It shows that there is some quality with on-rails titles and indeed Sony's Move peripheral.
Medieval Moves follows the story of young Prince Edmund whose life has gone from one of royal luxury to that of an undead nightmare after he is cursed by the evil Morgrimm. Upon being invaded, Edmund is turned into a skeleton and changes his name to Deadmund. He must use the skills he's learned from training and defeat all of the evil skeletons that plague his kingdom. Even though the scriptwriting is not necessarily Oscar worthy, it does provide some cheap laughs especially for the younger generation it's made for.
As this title is Medieval themed, it's natural to predict that most of the combat will involve weapons such as broadswords and bow and arrows. In Medieval Moves, your primary weapon is a sword which you is controlled by swinging the Move controller. The way in which you slice and dice enemies depends on how you sway your sword and some ways are much more effective than others. However, it's important to keep an eye on when your opponent will swing so that you may block with your shield. Mindless swinging will definitely lead you to certain death. You may also use amulet powers which will give you added strength for short periods of time.
Aside from the sword, there are projectiles. The bow and arrow is the first weapon of these that you will learn and is the most effective of the projectile weapons. When aimed accurately, it will lead to insta-killing your distant enemies. Although, one of the worst things about using the bow and arrow is the fact that each time you shoot, you need to reload your bow manually which means a lot of wasted time reaching for more arrows. When there's no time for reloading bows though, there are always ninja stars which are activated by simply flicking your wrist and pulling the Move trigger. It's harder to kill your enemies using this weapon though as they are less accurate.
There's also dynamite which comes in short supply, unlike the ninja stars and arrows which are unlimited. However, these probably have the most creative gameplay mechanic as they fully utilize the Move controller. You must light the dynamite fuse by hiding the bulb at the top of the Move controller then toss it to your opponents. Unlike other motion controllers, the PlayStation Move uses light to identify movement and with this, Medieval Moves shows a small piece of just what the PlayStation Move is capable of.
Medieval Moves also offers a bit of creativity to healing. It's always said that milk helps makes your bones strong. Who knew that after you get hit a few times with a sword that it could heal your wounds as well? Chug back a bottle of milk by raising your arm and tilting it over your mouth. Every now and then the game will glitch not realizing you've made the need health motion, but generally it works just fine.
Games with on-rails mechanics are fairly popular with motion control titles although that's not to say it's always fail-proof. In Medieval Moves, the player has no control over where the camera moves unless of course you choose to use the zoom on the bow and arrow. This makes it very difficult to observe where you're getting hit from, but it can make it difficult to protect yourself, and obtain collectibles. This is especially apparent when surrounded by more than one enemy at once as there's next to no way to attack someone without getting hit by one of the other enemies.
Although there are a few kinks within Medieval Move's gameplay, stylistically it's very fitting all around. Though most skeleton designs in video games are often frightening, Medieval does well to make them look more approachable for children. Deadmund's appearance is also rather adorable throughout. All of the colour schemes with reds, purples and blues really blend nicely with the environment. While it isn't necessarily on par with some of the other PS3 titles, for a motion control game, it looks really up to date. There's also no awful voice acting to speak of.
Mini games give Medieval moves a decent amount of replayibility. Each of them can all be altered in difficulty and the techniques you learn within these games can also help to improve your accuracy in game. If you are feeling a bit competitive though, there are always leaderboards. As mentioned before, going through the levels again will also allow you to pick up any collectibles you may have missed the first time around.
The PlayStation Move has just recently celebrated its one-year anniversary and what better way to honour the occasion by trying out Medieval Moves. Although the gameplay has its hiccups, the presentation is quite good for a child-focused title. If you are considering purchasing a PlayStation Move, Medieval Moves should be one of the first games in your collection as long as you can get past the fact that it's not aimed at the hardcore market.
You can read more about GamingUnion.net's scoring policy here.