REVIEW: Medieval Zombies

Medieval Zombies ($1.00) brings forth yet another FPS game built on the time-tested practice of slaughtering legions of undead. Well, it’s more a first-person hack & slasher than shooter, but you get the idea. You better get the idea by now. This is the part where I blah blah blah, filler filler filler, and it’s like every wave-based zombie game you’ve ever heard of or played. No need to rehash or explain away the plot, because none of that matters once the zombies shuffle onscreen.

The game’s name implies a retro hook, and to some extent, it does feature some of that ‘ye olde design’. There are no traditional firearms in Medieval Zombies. (Semi-)true to the time period1, your roster of weapons includes things like swords, dual daggers, a lance, or a very-slow-firing crossbow. It’s also involves thousands… nay, millions, of the blockiest, schlockiest, barely-animated zombies you’ve ever laid eyes on. Looks aren’t everything, right? Right? Of course.

Thankfully, the zombie AI is well done in its place, with enemies reacting not just to your presence, but also to things like noise and player taunts, allowing you to wrangle together dozens of walkers for a massive kill-off and / or to lure them away from chests and other potential treasure-seeking moments. And looting items and weapons is the key component here, giving you extra food (to maintain energy) and bandages (to heal yourself or fallen allies2), or the potential to snag a better damage-dealing armament.

Better weapons means you clear out stages quicker… at the cost of durability. This game subscribes to Silent Hill‘s school of hard knocks, meaning its melee weapons dull and eventually break over time / repeated use. There’s plenty of chests to open on each map, but the limited space in your bag (6 slots) means you’ll have choose wisely between healing items and weapons, as well as stat-boosting passive upgrades to your armor, which allow for certain perks like decreased energy drain, or faster chest-searching.

Medieval Zombies - Screen

That careful trade-off in item management is interesting and requires thought (as well as the zombie-free space to think), but the action itself is cookie-cutter and monotonous. With swarms regularly reaching into the hundreds of zombies, you can see why. And if you should die, the game places you at the start of the ‘day’ you fell on, taking away all your progress and inventory… and any desire to rebuild your arsenal. The promise of a million zombies on a single map is a nice thought, but the banal gameplay leading up to that means you’ll have hacked and slashed your way through your fill of cloned zombies long before you reach that promised land.

For better or worse, the Undead are a genre all on their own, but at the end of the day, Medieval Zombies is just another entry in that category. There’s no real draw or hook, and it’s not really a viable substitute or alternative for something like the recently-reviewed Deadburg, which balances its zombies with exploration and crafting. By comparison, Medieval Zombies is ultra repetitive, visually unkempt, and unfortunately… not very fun.

  1. King Arthur never dealt with any zombies that I was aware of, and I actually paid attention in school. 
  2. Each round you get a handful of faithful knights that will randomly go around slaying zombies in your stead, cutting down on the high enemy counts over time. You’ll still be doing most of the heavy lifting— i.e. slaughtering— yourself. Natch. 

12 thoughts on “REVIEW: Medieval Zombies”

    1. Dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!!!

      I don’t use it often (probably went more than year between posts at first), but I’ve went to it a couple times for reviews. Especially when there’s no trailer to go with a game, it works to give you guys a very short feel for the gameplay. Streaming would be better, hell, even a sample-sized serving to put up on YouTube, but I don’t have the equipment for that. I did put up some P.T. vids on my channel, back when that came out in the Summer. Maybe I could stream from the One, for theXBLIG Version 2.0, if and when MS decides to open up the ID@ program to current and former XBLIGers. I’d really like to think they will… someday. 😦

    1. In my case, yeah.
      Here’s my opinion:
      AI is great, no doubt.
      Some voice over are pretty cool.
      But the rest… It’s getting boring pretty fast. 1000 zombies to kill is just to damn long. And finally, the game is WAY to easy. 0 challenge.
      Of course it’s my opinion.

    2. @Chris: Yes sir. You mentioned it in your original email, and I always check out the controls for a game, no matter what.

      Otherwise, I’m with Derp on saying the AI is really solid, but it’s just too repetitive to maintain interest over an extended period of time. I will say I feel there is a little more challenge there than what he mentions, but absolutely, plowing through 1,000 zombies, one wave at a time, would start to wear anyone down.

  1. Want to slash at some block-ified zombies yourself? I’ve been given TWO codes for Medieval Zombies, courtesy of Mr. Chris Antoni. Drop a reply to this comment, and the game is yours!

    1. Aw you didn’t get the upgraded crossbow? That thing is my favorite weapon and is practically a machine gun. Thanks for the review, I am glad you noticed the AI did things like walk around walls and react to noises (such as a round hitting a wall or the chopping of an ally’s axe).

      The point of the game is exactly what you stated, inventory management or you’ll end up with broken weapons and too many undead or not enough energy to win. Similar to dayz and dead burg.

      I have not seen a zombie game out there on Xblig with better AI, especially dead burg where your opponents literally have to destroy walls because they can’t walk around them, if you even go close enough that they see you and then they stop chasing after like 10 feet. I couldn’t play dead burg or dayz because of the terrible AI and I guess you can’t play this game because of the monotonous fighting mechanics. It’s a shame I couldn’t find the right middle ground. Thanks again for the constructive criticism, I am learning so much because people like you give feedback I can use.

    2. LOL soooooooooooo here we are some 4+ hours later and your begging to give codes away. OK OK you’re not begging but I’m groveling over the chance to get one. PLEASE!

    3. @Derp & @ImTheMetalLord: Codes are yours, fellas. Sent them about a minute ago, so check your respective inboxes. Enjoy, and you’re welcome / de rien. 😀

      @Chris: Whaaaaa?!? Upgraded crossbow that’s like a machine gun!?! No, I certainly did not run across that weapon. That would’ve made clearing out the next 300 or so zombies much better, methinks. Must be a rarer chance of finding that one. I was inundated with dual daggers and ‘sexy swords’, though, as well as the standard crossbow.

      No problem on the review, of course. I’m glad you haven’t shunned me by now, considering I’m about 50 / 50 on your games catalog at this point. 🙂

      You’re absolutely right, though; the criticism does help you build better games and expand on ideas in the long run. The AI was definitely the ‘high point’ of the game, but the repetition is what did it for me. ApocZ and Deadburg aren’t the smartest zombies on the block, agreed, but they do give you other things to do away from the zombies. There’s side components to this game as well, but not enough to make you forget about all the zombies you’re eventually going to have to kill. It gets tiresome chasing them all down, over and over. Even the AAA stuff like Dead Rising can get repetitive in that regard, and you’re given 101+ ways to kill the undead in that one. It’s a tough balance to maintain. Hell, repetitiveness is the reason I stopped playing the Dynasty Warriors series, and I used to love playing that.

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