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Medieval Moves Review | You've Got To Move It, Move It

Matt Gardner
Action Games, Medieval Moves, On-rails, Playstation Move, PS3 games, SCE San Diego Studio, Zindagi Games
Medieval Moves: Deadmund's ... | Playstation 3

Medieval Moves Review | You've Got To Move It, Move It

Platform: PS3

Developers: SCE San Diego Studio, Zindagi Games

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Sports Champions was a game that bristled with solid confidence. Its aims were simple: to show off what the Move could do and, more importantly, why it was a more precise experience than its competitors. It worked, the game was a huge success and did exactly what it set out to do. SCE San Diego and Zindagi's follow-up, another Move title named Medieval Moves, takes the duelling, archery and frisbee golf mechanics and slaps them all into an on-rails action title. You play as a skeletal zombie named Edmund (Sony dropped the 'Deadmund's Quest' sub-title in Europe) fighting his way through a bunch of undead henchmen, a few sub-bosses and eventually attempting to take down an evil super-baddie named Morgrimm, who's gone and nicked a magic amulet - the same guy who turned you into a walking pile of bones in the first place.

Medieval Moves Review | You've Got To Move It, Move It

We're very much in Saturday morning cartoon territory here, and nearly every aspect of the game nods towards a focus on a younger audience. The character models are delightfully endearing, the animations smooth and often comical, there are little bits of slapstick humour here and there to get the youngsters giggling and it has to be said that there's a certain charm to the whole venture that manages to provide a little whimsy.

It's easy to look at Medieval Moves as something of a spiritual successor to Sports Champions because, although there's a basic narrative in place here, the real star of the show is the Playstation Move. The game is playable with one Move wand, but for the best experience you'll really need two, with the left hand allowing you to use your shield for defensive purposes as your right does all of the interesting stuff.

Medieval Moves Review | You've Got To Move It, Move It

Swords, shurikens and soaring arrows are on the agenda here, with instantly familiar motions to learn, even if you haven't played Sports Champions. Slashing, stabbing and swinging your sword about is relatively self-explanatory. The Move's real-time tracking is superb and well-integrated, although the enemies you face don't really require any finesse whatsoever to take down. Raise your left hand to defend and then when a gap opens up, and the waves of skeletons that come at you are pretty accommodating in this respect, any right handed flourish will generally be enough to vanquish your foe.

Using the bow is a simple case of reaching over your shoulder with your right hand with your shoulder and bringing it back down to point at the screen as if you'd just retrieved an arrow from a quiver on your back and notched it to your bow. There's a handy zoom function, not to mention a few exploding barrels here and there to help you dispense of larger groups. It's a simple motion, but it is effective, and it works very well, although spamming arrows will knacker your shoulder. Prepare for some tests of endurance towards the end of the game.

Medieval Moves Review | You've Got To Move It, Move It

The most satisfying part of the game, though, has to be the shurikens. Activated by a simple flick of the wrist, as if you were throwing a frisbee, the shurikens are both the most impressive part of the game's showcasing of the Move, and the most fun way of dispatching enemies. The precision of the wand means that elevation, speed and spin are all crucial and, once you've started to hang of things, you can of course curl them around objects, using spin and angle of release to adjust the flight.

Sadly, though, that's about it. You're on rails, so there's no deviation from the beaten path, and it's basically just you, your three weapons (and later on a grappling hook), repeated waves of arrow fodder and the odd sub-boss. For several hours. The core mechanics are very slick - swapping between weapons on the fly is simple and satisfying to begin with - but the game just doesn't really go anywhere. It's not particularly challenging at all and there are few surprises to be found. The weapons each have their own mini-games, available in splitscreen and online, but after charging through the main story there's little reason to play through them. Most upsetting, though, is the complete lack of PvP duelling, which seems thoroughly incomprehensible.

Medieval Moves Review | You've Got To Move It, Move It

The story of Medieval Moves for much of the time is one we've heard many times over when it comes to games geared towards a younger audience. It's a game to be enjoyed in small bursts, that much is evident, and the developers have certainly played to their strengths, but the basic mechanics aren't enough to lift the game from being anything other than a mild distraction to which there's little reason to return. Medieval Moves is another game that relies upon the gimmick of motion control too much to be interesting in its own right, with a lack of diversity, control and presentation making for a game that's not broken, but not exactly thrilling either.


  • Shurikens are an excellent touch
  • Solid Move mechanics
  • Good in small doses


  • Not enough here to sustain long term interest
  • Hugely repetitive
  • Needs two Move wands ideally

The Short Version: A basic narrative and some cutesy presentation can't disguise the fact that Medieval Moves is little more than a Move tech demo. The developers have mastered the Move, that much is evident, but fourteen months on there should be more to say than that and, although fun initially, the level of repetition and paucity of gameplay features results in a game that won't hold anyone's interest for long, even those of a younger age.

Medieval Moves Review | You've Got To Move It, Move It

Add a comment 1 comment
fanpages  Nov. 8, 2011 at 23:39

I tried the US PlayStation Store-hosted Playable Demo of this title on Sunday evening & it was good fun right up until the point when (as with all PlayStation Move titles, it seems, from my experience) the PlayStation Eye & Move controller combination ceased working & the controller needed calibrating again.

It took (literally) ten minutes to get the game working again; about half the duration my youngest child (who had been looking forward to the game since it was first announced) took to play the Demo through to completion (including the mandatory "training mode" prequel to the game to introduce the weaponry & method of selection of each).

During my run-through I found that the selection of the various weapons available to the on-screen character was prone to error with the combinations of buttons & arm positions required, as I often took a swig of a collected milk bottle (to replenish health) rather than taking an arrow from the quiver on my back.

The use of the PlayStation Motion Controller in parallel with the main Move Controller may well have resolved that issue, but that did not seem to be available as an option in the Playable Demo. The incorrect selection of what I wished to perform on-screen also did not detract too much from the game-play as the ongoing opponents were kind enough to wait for me to finish drinking before launching their next attack.

In summary, a game I (& my young co-player) would be interested in playing the full version of, but as mentioned above, it was very repetitive & is the sort of title you would not mind spending 10p (or, sadly, £1 these days... sigh) on in an arcade for five or ten minutes at a time. Long-term ownership may mean it is yet another game on the PlayStation Move pile that seemed like a good idea at the time of purchase but in practice becomes just another example of justification of the original investment in the PS3 motion controller technology.



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