Sunday, November 26, 2000

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia | 9.0

I've been a long time fan of the Castlevania series, dating back since the release of Symphony of the Night on the Playstation. Every experience with Castlevania has wowed me to the point where I hardly play ANY 3D games anymore. In the recent years, fans have been upset due to the fact that Castlevania has deviated from it's roots. Well, now is the time for rejoice CV fans for the Metroidvania style of play has returned. Now let me start official review.

Story: I feel no need to give anything away but let me tell you that the story starts out with main-character Shanoa on her way to reciece the supreme glyph Dominus. When she nearly recieves this glyph, her peer named Albus attacks her and steals Dominus. I'm sorry that I'm being very skimpy on the details but that's the point so to find out more please play this game.

Gameplay: This is where the game truly shines. The new glyph system is absolutely an astounding revelation for the Castlevania series. The way it works is, certain enemies will contain glyphs that you must absorb by either killing them or in some cases wait till the enemy performs it's most powerful attack and hold up to absorb it. Now before you start to think that this is anything like Dawn of Sorrow's soul system allow me to elaborate. First of all Shanoa's attack are completely based off of an speedily replenishing MP bar that will continuously regenerate as long as she is not attacking. Another thing to note is that, where in DoS the soul system was essentially the spells, the glyph system is basically the weapons and the spells. Glyphs can be equipped on the back and on both hands. The hand glyphs are usually your basic spells, swords, and axes, while back glyphs will be stat boosts, summons (brought back from SotN) and transformations (yes that's right). The same glyph can be assigned to both hands and chain attacks can be performed, as well as something called a glyph union which is essentially an item crash but it uses hearts instead of MP. Now I want to separately review the pacing of this game.

Pacing: This game will spring tough enemies and bosses on you from the get-go. This said, new glyphs will often be provided. Not every enemy has a glyph and glyphs are easier to obtain most of the time, than the souls from DoS. Mind you, this is NOT an easy game. Fortunately, I found that repeatedly dieing was not all that frustrating. Of course, it goes without saying that even if you are skilled at CV games, you will die A LOT!!!! All I can say is, don't let it get you down because even if you are not an avid CV player, with each death you will become more skilled in dodging and quickly executing each enemy.

Graphics and Music: I coupled these sections up because they are both extremely short. The graphics are quite literally astounding. The only 2D game that comes to mind with art as beautiful as this game is Odin Sphere for the PS2. The character models are executed, and all of Shanoa's movements seem as if they're being performed at 30 FPS (which of course they are not but literally everything Shanoa does that involves movement seems to flow quite well). The sound is where this game most suprised me. I didn't think it was all that good. CV games are usually highly praised for their music but this just didn't stack up in my opinion.

I hope you enjoyed the review and please remember that everything I said that wasn't a fact about the game was MY OPINION, and should not in anyway detract from your experience in buying and playing this game.

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