Medieval Moves: Deadmund's Quest|
Itís ironic and even a bit sad that even a year after the PlayStation Move launch we are still waiting on that first big title to really get excited about. Sure, the Move has had more than a few moments to shine, mostly with sports games and more recently with the Sharpshooter gun attachment and a crop of FPS games, but we have yet to see anything that would cause the more fiscally responsible game to pony up the cash to add a Move to their PS3. In fact, following in the footsteps of the Wii and Wii Sports, perhaps the best Move title released to date is the Sports Champions collection of games that came bundled with the hardware. I know its still the only game I regularly break out for gaming parties...until now.
Iím sure I wasnít the only gamer who saw the potential of what the Move could deliver while playing the various games in Sports Champions. The Archery game triggered visions of a Zelda-like or Robin Hood inspired video game while the sword combat had me dreaming of a gladiator game. And who didnít have visions of a ninja chucking throwing stars when they were playing Frisbee golf? OkayÖmaybe that last one was just me. Thankfully, Zindagi Games, the people responsible for Sports Champions shared my vision and have created a new game that takes those core concepts and disguises them in an entertaining action-adventure title fun for the entire family.
Medieval Moves: Deadmundís Quest is surprisingly family-friendly considering you are mostly shooting a bow, waving a sword and flinging throwing stars, smashing boxes, barrels and ďkillingĒ a whole lot of creatures that are already dead, mostly skeletons that come in a assorted shapes and sizes and delightfully outfitted in clever costumes that fit the themes for each new exciting level. Deadmundís Quest weaves a delightful tale spun with parchment-style panels and charming voiceovers before depositing you in some stunning CG gameplay graphics. The story is incidental at best, but the basics include a young prince named Edmund who is turned into a skeleton when his magic amulet fails to completely protect him from the evil Morgrimm. Now, to become a real boy again and defeat Morgrimm, Edmund, or rather Deadmund, must recover the Gatestone, now shattered into several pieces, each piece under the care of an end-level boss with plenty of undead critters to stand in his way.
The game eases you into its comfortable concepts, although if you have had any experience with Sports Champions you will already be an expert at Medieval Moves. All movement within the game is automatic (or on rails) so you donít need the Move Navigator but the game is infinitely more fun and a lot more realistic when played with dual Move motion controllers. Your primary weapons are your sword and shield combo that allow you to block with your shield then counter with your sword using a variety of slashes, swipes, and stabs. Some enemies go down fairly fast while other enemies are immune to casual attacks and must first be stunned by a successful block on your part.
Next up is the bow and arrow, again best played with dual controllers. Using the same mechanic as Sports Champions archery, you reach over your shoulder and hold the trigger to draw your arrow from it quiver. You then notch the arrow by touch the controller orbs together then pull back just like you were using a real bow. You can aim around the screen in real-time and even zoom in for an unsteady sniper shot with the triangle button. The bow is a great choice for thinning out the enemy before they get too close as well as numerous shooting gallery sequences that will reward you with bonus treasure and collectible gems and scrolls.
Throwing stars prove to be the most deadly of weapons once you overcome the urge to throw them like a Frisbee. Rather than a full sweeping arc of your arm, just make a quick flinging motion with your wrist, and if you are wielding dual controllers you can throw two stars at a time. With unlimited ammo, this becomes a devastating attack for distant targets as well as shielded boss fights, and a great way to pop those collectible bubble items when you are gliding around on autopilot.
The Move has some clever non-combat applications such as turning cranks, swigging back bottles of milk to regain lost health. Just hold the button and tip your head back and pour the contents of your Move controller down your throat. You also have a grappling hook that allows you to connect to specially marked points and zip to new areas, and a magical amulet you can activate by holding the Move controller at your chest and pressing the trigger and Move button when the amulet meter is fully charged. Perhaps the cleverest of all moves is lighting and throwing dynamite by first cupping the Move orb so the PlayStation Eye cannot see it then making a throwing motion to toss the stick at your enemies.
I have to admit, I was initially disappointed that Medieval Moves chose to go with the on-rails navigation, but then I realized, not everyone has a Navigator and nobody wants to hold a DualShock in one hand and a Move wand in the other. Besides, some of my favorite Move games have been on-rails like Dead Space: Extraction and House of the Dead: Overkill, plus, this game is 10x better when played with twin Move controllers. The whole sword and shield, bow and arrow, and twin throwing star mechanic is so much more realistic and natural with two controllers, and the whole game works exceptionally well when you don't have to worry about movement in addition to combat.
In addition to some fantastic interactive physical gameplay, Deadmundís Quest delivers a fun and colorful landscape of unique environments and completely charming undead characters. I couldnít help but laugh each time I saw a skeleton in a new costume like a minerís helmet or sporting a full beard or any time of hair. Even the giant bosses generate more laughs than scares, keeping in theme with the gameís family friendly rating. If you have a 3D HDTV you can enjoy a truly immersive experience with some of the best 3D combat and shooting action the PS3 and Move have to offer. The depth is amazing and there is hardly any ghosting or eye fatigue, even after extended gaming. And I love those parchment-style graphic novel cutscenes complete with topnotch voice acting. The game itself has loads of great sound effects for combat and the environments and fun fantasy music that fits the theme of the game and each level.
Deadmundís Quest offers a fairly substantial story mode as well as a nice selection of mini-games, which all borrow on the core gameplay concepts. All of these games can be played in either local or online multiplayer and two of the games can even be played solo. While these games serve as a bit of added distraction and offer extended gameplay value, they also mask a clever training tool that, when played on higher skill settings, will actually improve your core gameplay skills and help you earn all the fun trophies this game has to offer. You can also tackle the main game cooperatively if you want to share the adventure.
Medieval Moves: Deadmundís Quest is one of the smash hits of the holiday season, not just for Move but for family gaming in general. If you havenít added a PS Move to your PS3 then this might be the game to push you over the edge. Whether you buy the game as part of the hardware bundle or just pick-up the title by itself, you definitely want to add this game to your collection. I havenít had this much fun with my PS Move in a long time.