MediEvil remake review: Nostalgia right through your eye

Other Ocean Emeryville
Other Ocean Emeryville /

MediEvil is back, all shiny and new. Does this game hold up on its entertainment value after 20 years and a graphical and gameplay update?

Title: MediEvil
Developer: Other Ocean Emeryville
Publishers: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PS4 (version reviewed)
Release Date: October 25th, 2019

I remember when I was just a wee lass in 1998 and I somehow had a demo disc of a game called MediEvil for my PS1. Being the spooky little brat that I was, I fell in love with the art of the game and played the demo countless times. Unfortunately, my dad never got me the full game (he was too busy playing Abe’s Exodus) and I have always regretted it but somehow still never played it even though I’m a grown woman who can actually buy it now. But that was all about to change with the PS4 remake of MediEvil. Did it live up to a 20-year hype-up?

For those of you that have never played or heard of MediEvil before, the story follows the long-dead and newly resurrected Sir Daniel Fortesque. He was the Hero of Gallowmere who led the charge against the evil Zarok and his undead army… or so it was told. In actuality, Fortesque was shot through the eye with the first arrow of war and fell in the first charge. While the living considers him a hero, the dead know the real story and he is unable to enter the Hall of Heroes.

One hundred years later, Sir Daniel Fortesque is a one-eyed, jawless skeleton and Zarok is back once again. He raises the dead, steals the souls of the living and plunges Gallowmere into eternal night. His spell also awakens the “hero” and Fortesque rises again to finally defeat Zarok and earn his place in the Hall of Heroes.

The original game released in October 1998 and was developed by SCE Cambridge Studios and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. The remake was developed by Other Ocean Emeryville and published again by Sony. I wanted to compare this remake to the original, so at certain points in the game, I had a PS1 playthrough going on my phone as I played the same area to see just what was changed, if anything.

The first impression of this game: it’s gorgeous. I love how they kept the PS1 feel with PS4 graphics. In my memories, this game was just as beautiful on PS1 as the PS4, but looking back I was extremely wrong. Comparing the two side by side, MediEvil on PS4 is full of life (and death), color and atmosphere. It makes the original seem muddy, monochromatic and empty. Aside from some basic and sometimes more thematic changes, this is almost a shot for shot remake.

The gameplay changes are pretty subtle, mainly centered around how your health bar, shield bar and inventory is displayed on the screen. They gave those things a more modern feel to their display, allowing them to be second thoughts off to the side (or the bottom), giving you more room to bask in the beauty that is MediEvil.

Even though this game was redone for a certain demographic of people, aka those in their 30’s or so who remember the original,  MediEvil has the ability to draw in a new audience of all ages. My young son keeps trying to steal my controller as I play because it appeals to so many different people. The graphics are simple, the colors are bright and the game is spooky, yet family-friendly. Each region has a different look and color scheme and it can change drastically from a graveyard to a farm to a swamp.

AND THE SOUNDTRACK. I am very picky in terms of my video game audio and I pay close attention to soundtracks and sound mixes. I adore the soundtrack to this game. It has big and sweeping orchestral numbers that are on par with the music of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and I mean that. You have organs and choirs and swells that only get bigger during boss fights. Different regions have different music and I just loved every part of it.

Is the game perfect? No, it still controls like a PS1 game sometimes that means you’re wildly running around with Fortesque’s goofy gait and swinging your weapon of choice while getting your butt handed to you, but such is the way of those games. The camera angles sometimes suck and you can’t always change them.

MediEvil isn’t an easy game all the time. There is an autosave mechanic that saves after each level you beat. You receive life vials (one-ups) and energy vials (HP which can earn one-ups). You get a variety of weapons through the game like a sword, crossbow, your own arm, etc. If your HP depletes, you use a life vial. If your life vials deplete, then it is game over and you have to restart the level on the world map, no matter how far in you are. Thankfully, the levels aren’t huge and you always have the opportunity to replay any level if you need to earn the Chalice of Souls for that level.

There are technically two endings: one for beating the game and another for beating the game after collecting all Chalices of Souls on the map. Unlocking those will unlock goodies in the Hall of Heroes during your playthrough like weapons and life vials, so finding them all would behoove you. The ending is considerably more epic and thematic than the original and ends with a tight and pretty bow to the story.

MediEvil was worth the 20-year wait for a new coat of paint and then some. Just enough was updated and just enough was kept the same to appeal to those looking for a game filled with nostalgia and to those looking for a fun and family-friendly game in a bright and retro style. You can get MediEvil for $29.99 on October 25th for PS4 and I really recommend that you do.

Other Ocean Emeryville. . MediEvil. 10. <em>MediEvil</em> is a colorful trip down memory lane filled with gorgeous, updated graphics, the same amazing OST and improved (yet still retro) gameplay mechanics. This will make you feel like a kid again.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.