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December 16, 2011
Medieval Moves - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
17/11/2011SonySonyZindagi Games12
Media HDD Space Resolution Move Controls Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Graphics in Medieval Moves are moody.
Out of the five Move games that arrived on my desk a week or so ago Medieval Moves was the one I was most keen to play. What’s not to like about a FPS hack and slash game where you swing the Move controller as if it’s a sword? What I wasn’t expecting was the game to be ‘on rails’, meaning you have no control over when are where your character moves. So how does the game stack up overall? As always keep reading for the answer…

Young Edmund is a prince in training, dreaming of the day he’ll become a knight. He has a long way to go – he hasn’t even graduated from his wooden training sword to a real sword yet. Medieval Moves begins with Edmund undergoing his final tests before he’ll be allowed a real sword. Disaster strikes just as he completes his training, when the evil sorcerer Morgrimm turns up, steals an important gateway jewel and then transforms everyone in town, Edmund included, into a skeleton (Edmund is jokingly referred to as Deadmund thereafter). It’s up to Deadmund, aided by the ghost of a former king residing in a amulet of Deadmund’s, to recover the gateway jewel and hopefully reverse the sorcery that has turned everyone into skeletons.

Initially I was disappointed that Medieval Moves is on rails, but it won’t take long for you to see why it’s been done. Between swinging your sword, shooting arrows and grappling hooks as well as defending yourself with a shield you’re running out of hands to guide yourself around the game world. The controls are straightforward and intuitive for the most part (dynamite excepted). To swing your sword you simply swing the Move controller at whatever you want to hit. You have to swing firmly to deal much damage to your skeletal opponents but the basic motion is simple.

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It's a dude... with a hat... and an AXE!
Early on you’ll find some throwing stars and these are simple to use too – just hold down the trigger and flick it in the direction you want to throw. There is no reticule to assist with aiming, but you have an infinite number at your disposal so there’s no need to worry overly about accuracy. Dynamite is handled similarly but you have to cover up the top of the Move controller while holding the trigger down to light the fuse. Once the fuse is lit you simply flick the Move in the direction you want the dynamite to go.

The bow and arrow is very handy for long-range attacks because it can be aimed, unlike the throwing stars. To shoot it you lift the Move controller over your shoulder as if you were grabbing an arrow from your quiver, hold down the trigger, target and release. The action can be tiring if you use it heavily, but it’s quite intuitive to pick up. The grappling hook gets you over gaps or large obstacles and to use it you point the Move at the ground and pull the trigger, then it’s just a matter of targeting where you want to go (there will be an icon on-screen) and release the trigger.

The shield is your best and only defense and if you want to block an attack you hold the Move button and point the controller in the direction of the incoming attack. Enemies can attack you high or low and from left or right so you need to block accordingly or else you’ll take a hit. After you block and attack the enemy is exposed to a counter-attack, so a block-counter approach will serve you well.

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Medieval Moves is a PS3 exclusive.
I should point out that all of the above controls are for people using a single Move controller. If you have two Move’s you can dual-wield them, unleashing a frenzy of attacks on those helpless skeletons. I don’t have a second Move controller so I couldn’t test the dual-wield controls but I think they would work just as well, if not better than the single-controller does.

Another objective in the game is to retrieve fragments of a amulet that Morgrimm stole and subsequently smashed into little pieces at the start of the game. You earn amulet fragments by beating bosses at the end of some levels. Amulet fragments contain latent powers which you can use once you’ve charged them up with energy defeated enemies drop. Some powers include projectile weapons passing through enemies, projectile weapons exploding when they land and melee weapons stealing the life of your enemies. Powers last a short time so it’s important to use them at the right moment.

As Deadmund makes his way through each level he will occasionally stop at ‘loot points’. Here you’re given a short amount of time to shoot all of the targets to earn bonus loot. The time limits are tough so you’ll need to channel your inner Robin Hood if you want to score maximum loot.

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Now that's a bigger enemy in Medieval Moves!
You can also find gold, royal jewels, scrolls and milk around the place too. Gold, jewels and scrolls are collectibles with limited effect on the gameplay, but milk is Medieval Moves’ health potion so they’re much sought after. Sometimes enemies will drop gold or milk and these are collected automatically, but in other cases you need to destroy environment objects or shoot glowing icons to obtain hidden items.

Progress through each level is not always linear as you’ll come to crossroads every now and then that let you choose your own direction. Although the variations are minor they do lend themselves to replay so you can check out what you missed the first time through. Some levels also have quick time events where you must swing the controller in the direction you’re prompted onscreen lest you take damage. There are a few puzzles in the game too, but these are usually no tougher than rotating a switch as far as it will go, which is probably fair enough given the younger target audience.

There are a few different multiplayer options here, broken up into team and versus battles that can be played either locally or online. The first game is Invasion, where you must survive as long as you can while enemies attack from all sides. Invasion can be played either with or against a friend – if you play with a friend you can revive your fallen friend with an amulet power up.

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This is one of the better PS Move titles.
The second team game is Royal Guard where you must protect a symbol of your kingdom (e.g. a statue of the king) from Morgrimm’s swarming hordes. The second versus game is Cauldron Chaos where the object is to fill nearby cauldrons with the souls of fallen enemies and then tip the cauldron (when prompted) to summon an army to attack your opponent. All of the multiplayer games are fun for a while, though none of them have great depth. One slightly worrying issue is how hard it is to get an online teammate or opponent – I often had to wait in excess of five minutes to find anyone to play with and that’s not much fun.

Overall I don’t have too many complaints with Medieval Moves. Generally speaking each level is intelligently designed with just enough variety to keep you from getting bored. I would say that some levels, particularly near the end of the game, are too long. Although waving the Move isn’t the most physically demanding task it does become tiring after a while. Having a level that goes for over forty-five minutes seems like a bit of overkill and probably should have been split in half.

Another minor quibble is that loot barrels can be surprisingly tough to break open. Aiming on the fly is out of the question because you have to fight the camera too much, while at other times you lose control of Deadmund and can’t have a crack at the barrels no matter how hard you try. The final complaint is that bosses toward the end of the game can be repetitive, asking you to do the same sequence over and over. In a couple of these fights the controls aren’t quite as responsive (because you must fight the camera to aim) or accurate (you’ll accidentally draw throwing stars instead of arrows) as you need, and that sentences you to further repetition.

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An archer, an axeman and Skeletor walk into a bar...
Visually the game has a cartoony look which suits the game given its younger target audience. Even though the enemies are weapon-wielding skeletons they never look too scary. There is plenty of colour despite the fact you’re often in enclosed locations like a dungeon, cellar and cave. Up close some environmental textures look rough but you don’t have much time to notice it as Deadmund runs from one place to the next.

The music is generally cheerful, and even in the darker moments it doesn’t get too grim. The voice-acting is definitely aimed at younger kids and is very simple, straightforward and above all encouraging. Archer enemies who like to hide behind barrels will say ‘peek-a-boo’ when they come out from cover, giving everyone a fair chance to pick them off before taking damage.

Overall Medieval Moves is one of the most fun Move games on the market, and that goes for people of (almost) all ages. Some of the controls will be tough for the youngest players to come to grips with but most people will pick them up easily enough. Although the game is targeted at younger kids older players can have fun with it too. Things can get a little repetitive, especially later on in the game, and occasionally the controls and camera let you down. Those minor gripes aside though, Medieval Moves is an enjoyable game that should finally get the Move back into your PS3.

Review By: Mike Allison

GRAPHICSCartoony and colourful despite its dark theme. A few rough textures but otherwise solid.
SOUNDMostly light-hearted music and sound effects, and the main characters encourage at every turn.
GAMEPLAYI was initially disappointed the game is on rails, but to be honest you’ll get over that quickly. Some camera issues aside the game plays very well and is the best Move game to date.
VALUEIt’s about eight hours long but there are multiple difficulties to conquer, a few multiplayer modes and enough loot to hunt for some time.
OVERALLMedieval Moves is a fun game that people of all ages can enjoy. It’s the best Move game yet..

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