MediEvil Remastered Proves There's Such A Thing As Being Too Faithful

When I was growing up, there were three games in my household in heavy rotation. Crash Bandicoot 2, Spyro: Gateway to Glimmer and MediEvil. Over the last two years, Sony has brought justice to Spyro and Crash with hefty, polished remasters, merchandise and mind-boggling promotional campaigns.

MediEvil Remastered has arrived with considerably less fanfare, and it's a shame, because as I've said before MediEvil deserves to be remembered as a true classic. So, does the remaster do it justice? Well, yes, but that's part of the problem.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let me set the scene for you. When I was five, gaming was simpler. PlayStation was king in my house, and my siblings and I devoted hundreds of hours to playing through our favourite PlayStation One titles again and again. If I were to count the times I'd played MediEvil as a child, I'd run out of fingers, and then I'd run out of toes. As a certified Weird Kid, I loved the goth aesthetic of MediEvil, and the kid-friendly horror vibes of the game. When I was older, I played it less frequently, but enjoyed it just as much. MediEvil is a great little game, and I love it dearly, but that doesn't mean I can't admit its flaws.

Of them, the most prominent — and the most often complained about — is the locked-on camera. When travelling through the open spaces and breezy plains of the game, this doesn't present much of a problem. But when you're legging it through the tight corridors of Pumpkin Gorge, or even just trying to make your way through the Hall of Heroes, the screen produces such a shaky, jagged effect that — not to be dramatic — it caused me headaches. And it wasn't just a one-off, either.

The same jaggy effect haunted me through the entire game. Any time there was a slim corridor, wall or obstruction, the camera went off its nut with the shakes. This was a problem that dogged the original title. The remaster, in all its glory, could've solved the issue. But it didn't? It kind of just ... leant into it? And it's somehow worse? The whole thing is very perplexing, and more perplexing because it's so consistent. There's always hope that a day one patch will swoop in to save the day, but as it is, there's some serious teeth gritting to be had when it comes to the camera.

Crystal Caves suffers most in this regard, because it's such a tight and self-contained level. Camera angles dipped and swished throughout this level like mad. One minute, you'd be walking straight down a corridor, and the next, you'd be walking the opposite direction in what looked like a completely different area. It made it extremely difficult to keep track of everything. While, yes, you could argue that it's a staple of the PS1 era, it's also really annoying, and it rubbed me the wrong way multiple times.

It's also lacking polish in a lot of other areas, too. Textures frequently glitch in and out. In a later level, I saw objects teleport randomly within stages (such as the ghostly horseman boss that teleported momentarily towards the exact opposite side of the stage and through a wall). Thankfully, these issues aren't common, but the fact that they're happening at all — and disrupting final stage boss fights — is concerning.

That's not to say it's all bad. If you can get past the glaring camera issues and occasional texture flicker, there's a solid and still very fun game beneath the roughness. MediEvil was never the household name it deserved to be, but there's still hope for it yet. Yes, MediEvil Remastered is a bit of an odd duck, but I had a heap of fun returning to the land of Gallowmere and the adventures of Sir Dan, and I hope the generation discovering it now can find the same joy in it that I once did.

I still believe it has some of the most innovative level design of any of the games of its era. On the surface, the remastering is gorgeous. Colours pop, enemies look fresher (and deader) than ever, and combat is satisfying and slick. There's plenty of challenge to be found, and exquisite worlds to explore. For returning players, there's even an added collectible hunt, with Sir Dan now required to uncover Lost Souls and solve their riddles in each level.

I love MediEvil Remastered a lot. I really do. Playing it feels like a kid returning home, and I whiled away a brilliant weekend playing it with my brother — the first time we'd played the game together in a good 15 years. It was nice to reconnect and reminisce over a much beloved game. I just wish there'd been a bit more TLC put into it. It would've made all the difference in the world.


Comments

    That's one thing about remasters, is you have can't easily get rid of the quirks of the original game. When the Crash trilogy released I had forgotten how tight the movement and jump was, you couldn't and learnt that as a kid I mastered the jump and movement. 20 years later, games adapted to how platformers jump and move and so when I got into the remaster I was so, so bad at the game

      Maybe you were better at the game back then as well, you don't see many people over 30 in E-Sports

        Damn, I'm 70 next year but my retirement future in competitive gaming is a bust you say?!

          I had a mate I used to play Halo with pretty regularly back when it first released on the original Xbox, and since then we played every iteration finish legendary played team doubles blood gultch, we were pretty good.

          We thought that we still had "It" when his younger brother challenged us too 2v1, his brother was around 12-13 we were 30's and he destroyed us absolute blow out.

      The Crash remaster is a bit of a special case because Crash's behaviour was different between the three original games. They used the same physics for Crash in each game in the remaster, but used the original level designs, so Crash 1 became really hard as a consequence.

    Aww, now I'm less excited to play it. My copy just arrived from Amazon this morning.

    Why did you write this only a month or so ago: https://www.kotaku.com.au/2019/09/medievil-ps4-forgotten-franchise/
    but in this article you basically dislike the game because it is genuinely like the original was? Just gonna say what all the video game journos who are non gamers hated about the game not being modernized enough with checkpoints and difficulty settings? This is depressing. The game doesn't have flaws, its just people who want the game to be easier and hold their hand. How can these "critics" praise From Softwares Dark Souls series but take a big dump on Dans Medievil? Is it because they know if they crapped on From Software games which are universally liked, they would get huge backlash?

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