LOS ANGELES--Now that the dust has settled on the launch of the PlayStation Portable, the question is, what other games are on the horizon for the system? OK, you're probably still busy playing the umpteen games that shipped alongside the PSP, but in a few months, chances are you'll be hankering for something new. That's when it might do you well to take a look at MediEvil Resurrection, a portable update of the humorous 1998 action adventure game for the PlayStation. So if you've got a yen for a game that lets you brain enemies with your own severed arm, then listen up! We got a chance to play a bit of MediEvil for the PSP at Sony's pre-E3 event earlier today, and are here with all the details.
Much like the PSP versions of Twisted Metal and Ape Escape, MediEvil Resurrection is sort of a cross between a sequel and a remake. It takes existing elements from the original title but adds a bunch of new features on top of them, including a slew of minigames and assorted multiplayer modes. As such, it promises to appeal to longtime fans of the series while also giving new players something interesting to try out. The mechanics here are tried and true. You play as one Sir Daniel Fortesque, also known as Dan. Once a proud knight, Dan has been reduced to a bony husk of his former self--but his desire for vengeance burns brightly from beyond the grave. Though the world has been engulfed in shadow by an evil wizard and his undead armies, this caused Dan's own rebirth as well, and has thus given the hapless former knight an opportunity to set things right. To do this, Dan will have to navigate various enemy-infested stages, hacking his way past ghouls and zombies using different weapons, and solving the occasional puzzle.
We got a chance to play a work-in-progress version of the game, which featured a single-player graveyard level, a multiplayer race through that same level, and a crossbow-shooting minigame. It didn't take long at all to pick up on the controls, which are basically your standard third-person-perspective action-game sort of thing. It's easy to make Dan attack using the various melee and ranged weapons at his disposal, since he auto-targets whichever enemies are in front of him. He can also run and jump around. We guided him through the graveyard, picking up a short sword, throwing daggers, and a club along the way. The club could smash large boulders blocking our path, while the runes we picked up during our trek unlocked previously inaccessible areas. The game played simply but well in this early stage.
The multiplayer mode was just a ghost run through this level. Both players simply try to reach the finish line first--you don't actually see the other player on your screen, but a meter shows your opponent's relative progress. As for the minigame, it's basically a Renaissance Faire-style shooting gallery that challenges you to earn high scores. There will reportedly be more than 70 minigames in all, including single-player and multiplayer games.
MediEvil's visuals feature the whimsical art style the series is known for, not to mention the dry humor that helped make the original so well liked. An amusingly narrated intro and a nice-looking fully 3D menu system helped draw us into the experience right off the bat. While playing, we noticed that the game's frame rate was prone to getting a little choppy, but this was masked by some blurring effects, and besides, the game's still got a way to go before it's released. It already seems to play pretty well, although the demo version we played didn't let us delve too deeply into the game's combat or adventure elements.
MediEvil Resurrection is slated for release this September and is in development at Sony's Cambridge Studios. Among its other new or updated features, the game will let you save your progress at any time, which should help give MediEvil for the PSP that much more pick-up-and-play appeal. Stay tuned for more information on this one as it continues to shape up.