The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Sony's foray into HD motion gaming has been stunted by a
drought of quality Move titles – or any Move titles, for that matter. When it
debuted, Medieval Moves: Deadmund's Quest looked like one of the more promising
Move games, an action/adventure title in the vein of – dare I say it – The
Legend of Zelda. It won't take long for optimistic gamers to have their hopes
Deadmund's Quest tells a fairy tale-style story of kid
prince Edmund, who (along with everyone else in his kingdom) gets turned into a
skeleton and must put together a broken amulet to reverse the curse. The music and
voice acting goes a long way in selling the story (although Deadmund himself
has an annoying, Anakin-esque whine), but the moving comic cutscenes are
unforgivably shoddy – I've seen storyboards with more detail, and I can't
imagine even the youngest children being engaged by such a cheap presentation.
The cutscenes aren't the only disappointment Deadmund's
Quest provides. If you're expecting Zelda-style antics, you should know that
the skeletal prince's journey is entirely on rails. You'll unlock a few new
weapons and items as the quest progresses, but gameplay apes a light gun
shooter, not an exploration-rich adventure. Luckily, the motion controls are
solid. Deadmund's Quest was created by Zindagi, the developer of the Move
launch title Sports Champions, which is obvious since Deadmund's main weapons
have all been repurposed from that game. Sword fighting, archery, and throwing
stars (i.e. disc golf) all reappear, and are as accurate and responsive as ever.
The on-rails format didn't bother me as much as I thought it
would. Having the game control your movement keeps the action focused and
minimizes the frustration caused by trying to navigate an environment with
motion controls. The real enjoyment-killer is the repetition. Zindagi sucks
every drop of value out of the environments by extending your time in them far
too long, battling countless waves of enemies for every inch of ground you
progress. If you do something once, you can expect to do it 10 more times. At
one point in the game, an enemy appeared at the top of a staircase holding a dynamite
barrel above his head. After lighting him up with a well-shot arrow, another
barrel-toting skeleton appeared. Then another. Then another. I shot five such
enemies in succession before ascending the flight of stairs. Later on, I came
upon another staircase and repeated the entire process again.
Whenever Deadmund's Quest strays from its core gameplay
mechanics, it fails. These departures include lame quick time events that only
register your movements half the time, avoiding objects while sliding down
ropes, and the pièce de résistance: balancing on beams. Throw in some cheap,
drawn-out boss battles and you'll be aching to get back to your sword and bow. The
puzzles are crap, too – unless your definition of a puzzle is "shoot the green
target staring you in the face." Outside of the campaign, there's also an extensive battle
mode that features multiplayer, but it's still not as fun as the laid-back
competition offered by Sports Champions.
Deadmund's Quest is a decent attempt at an action/adventure game
built specifically for the Move, and doesn't just shoehorn in functionality as
a bullet point. That said, it's still not great, and I'm not sure who the
target audience is. The gameplay is too hard and complex for the casual crowd, yet
the larger adventure is too simple and repetitive for seasoned gamers. Like
much of its on-rails action, Deadmund's Quest is a plodding step forward for
the Move, but it still has a lot of ground to cover.
Email the author Jeff Marchiafava, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.