Capitalising on early 90s nostalgia has proved to be big business for video games these days, what with Spyro the Dragon, Crash Bandicoot and most recently The Legend of Zelda having already received popular remakes. Cult PlayStation One classic MediEvil is the latest title to receive this treatment, arriving just in time for Halloween to make for the perfect spooky game that just so happens to be family-friendly.
While the original MediEvil was developed by SCE Cambridge Studio in 1998, this new version has been worked on by Other Ocean Emeryville. This has given this classic game a new lease of life, giving the new team a fresh opportunity to make subtle enhancements while still retaining the charming heart of the original. Undead knight Sir Daniel Fortesque is still attempting to prevent an evil sorcerer from taking over the kingdom of Gallowmere. Only now it looks and plays better than ever. Here’s how:
It doesn’t take a detective to work out that the original MediEvil’s graphics haven’t aged the best in the two decades since it first released. After all, the first PlayStation console could only ever render objects and characters at extremely low-poly counts, so the 2019 remake afforded PlayStation the perfect chance to swoosh up the visuals in a way that was faithful but improved. Textures have been brought up to date to full 1080p HD, character models have been fully rebuilt from the ground up and locations completely revised.
Everything from Sir Daniel Fortesque himself to the various regions of Gallowmere now boast a bit of 21st century flourish, harnessing the full power of PS4 to recreate one of the best 3D Hack-and-slashers of yesteryear. The general look now appears similarly to Insomniac’s 2016 remake of Ratchet & Clank, where playing it feels like going through a fully interactive Pixar movie. Only in MediEvil there’s a bit more pumpkins and ghoulies.
The original MediEvil suffered from an annoyance similar most early PS One games did: a poorly directed in-game camera. So often would it get stuck on the environment, make you lose sight of your character, or simply just found itself in the wrong place. This is a drawback the new developers were aware of, seeking to remedy this with improved camera controls that would work with players rather than against them.
Because of this, solving puzzles and finding collectibles feels much fairer in the 2019 MediEvil remake. This is appreciated considering that the original game’s limited colour palette of greens and browns are being replaced with more vibrant shades, in-keeping with the spooky theme. The new camera work feels cinematic, all while managing to retain that nostalgic ‘90s tone.
Despite following Sir Daniel Fortesque’s classic journey, the MediEvil remake makes subtle improvements to the size of its world. New elements come in the form of fuller backgrounds which helps to give environments better depth, especially since the draw distance has been substantially increased. You know how the Dark Souls games let you see locations you’ll explore far-off in the distance first? This has the route MediEvil 2019 has opted for.
Those wondering what the MediEvil remake will look and play like need only check out the other recent PlayStation One remasters released on PS4. MediEvil has been given the same love and care as, say, Spyro The Dragon or Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled, appearing just as you remember albeit it with a bit of 2019 spit and polish. There’s no longer any need for rose-tinted glasses.
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