Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest – The PS3 Attitude Review
Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest is an on-rails action/adventure title, exclusively for use with the PlayStation Move. Developed by SCE San Diego Studio and Zindagi Games, Medieval Moves takes the mechanics of Sports Champions (created by the same team), and applies them to an action/adventure game. It’s an interesting concept, but does it work in practice?
You play as Edmund, a young prince who will one day rule his kingdom. However, the start of the game sees the return of a centuries-old skeletal sorcerer named Morgrimm, who turns everyone in the kingdom into skeletons and controls their minds to fight for him. Edmund is also turned into a skeleton himself, and therefore takes on the name of Deadmund for the rest of the game.
However, during his transformation, Deadmund was protected by his family’s magical amulet, which prevents Morgrimm from controlling his mind. It’s therefore up to Deadmund to save his kingdom, with a little help from the ghost of his ancestor, King Edmund the Very First. It’s a clichéd tale for sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining.
Children will definitely get the most enjoyment out of the story, but adults will appreciate its humour too. There are even some jokes that children are unlikely to pick up on, like the fact that Deadmund (a skeleton) drinks milk to regain health. It’s also worth mentioning that even adults will be satisfied with the level of challenge they’re presented with on the game’s higher difficulties.
Before he reaches Morgrimm, Deadmund has to fight off hordes of skeletons along his journey, but thankfully he has an arsenal of weapons and other powers at his disposal. He begins the game with just his sword and shield, but soon gets access to his bow and arrows, throwing stars, and more. Anyone who has played Sports Champions will feel right at home with each weapons’ controls.
For example, shooting an arrow works in exactly the same way as Archery in Sports Champions, and throwing a star is very similar to Disc Golf. It takes some getting used to at first, but due to the natural feel of the controls, you’ll soon be transitioning between scoring skull-shots with arrows and blocking projectiles with your shield without even thinking about it.
Medieval Moves can be played with either one or two Move controllers; one is much easier and is therefore great for young children, but two offers greater immersion as well as other less obvious features (such as the ability to throw stars with both hands). Some players will definitely prefer the former, but we thoroughly recommend the latter for the full experience.
As well as using weapons, the PlayStation Move is also used in other ways such as turning cranks, balancing on ropes, and to use Deadmund’s grappling hook; there’s nothing massively revolutionary here, but this kind of extra interaction with the game is great, and somewhat makes up for the fact that it is on-rails, and you are therefore not in charge of where Deadmund goes.
In fact, considering it is on-rails, San Diego Studio and Zindagi Games have done a good job in making sure that this doesn’t detract from the fun of the gameplay. For example, there are plenty of collectibles to discover, such as treasures, coins, (often hilarious) scrolls, and many other secrets; the window for collecting these is often very small, increasing the replay value of the game.
Similarly, scattered throughout each chapter are quick minigames called Loot Shoots, which task you with shooting as many targets, enemies or other objects as you can within a strict time limit, rewarding you with coins and other items. These sections often appear unexpectedly, and therefore ensure you are always on your toes.
Something else that does this is the variety of enemy types, many of which require very different strategies to take down. For example, there’s the standard skeletons that charge at you and are easy to take down with your sword, others who prefer to throw projectiles from a distance and must be dispatched with ranged attacks, and many more, so you never know what to expect.
It’s good to see that the game’s environments are also as varied as the enemies, so there’s always something interesting to look at. Across the game you’ll visit areas as diverse as the castle dungeons and a local vineyard; occasionally you’ll even be given a choice between two paths, so you won’t be able to see everything in one playthrough.
The presentation is fantastic across the board, with a bright and colourful aesthetic that fits perfectly with the game. The cartoon cutscenes work well too, giving the game a delightful fairytale feel (check points are also referred to as ‘bookmarks’). The sound design is equally charming, with great effects, superb voice-acting and fittingly atmospheric music.
As well as the story, Medieval Moves also includes an arena-like Battle Mode, in which you must fight off waves of enemies to achieve the best score you can. There are several maps to choose from, and you can even set various parameters, such as how long the round lasts, how many waves there are, and which weapons and power-ups are active.
Although the story is singleplayer only, Battle Mode is fully playable with two players. Defeating waves of enemies with a friend is great fun, and you can even go online to challenge other players, as both competitive and co-operative modes are present, locally and online; it makes a nice change to see such a wide range of multiplayer options in a game like this.
If Medieval Moves was a full-priced £40/$60 game, it would be much harder to recommend, but as a £20/$40 budget title, it’s actually very good value. The main story will take around 8-10 hours to complete, but then there’s also King difficulty, numerous collectibles, and Battle Mode, so you’re looking at over 20 hours of playtime if you want the game’s platinum trophy.
Medieval Moves: Deadmund’s Quest should get repetitive after a while, but never does, thanks to the sheer fun of the core gameplay, and its wide range of environments, enemy types and weapons. Let’s be honest, many recent Move games have been nothing more than shovelware, so Medieval Moves makes for a refreshing change, and gives us renewed hope for the future of motion-controlled gaming.