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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Extremely Awesome Experience
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...
Published on October 21, 2008 by Sam Weiser

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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A solid Castlevania title with a few twists
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is a really good game. Not great like some of its predecessors, but very, very good.

If you haven't played a Castlevania game before, the basic premise of the game is that every once in a while Dracula comes back from destruction in an effort to enslave the souls of man into dark servitude. The player explores Dracula's castle,...
Published on November 6, 2008 by Halicon5


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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A solid Castlevania title with a few twists, November 6, 2008
By 
Halicon5 (Casper, Wyoming United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (Video Game)
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is a really good game. Not great like some of its predecessors, but very, very good.

If you haven't played a Castlevania game before, the basic premise of the game is that every once in a while Dracula comes back from destruction in an effort to enslave the souls of man into dark servitude. The player explores Dracula's castle, gains levels, finds lots of loot, learns spells, and generally trashes Dracula's well thought out plans. Much like the Metroid series, backtracking to old regions is an important aspect of the game as you gain new abilities that increase you're character's mobility and lethality.

This iteration of Castlevania has done away with some sacred cows of the Castlevania legend. You don't play a Belmont, you don't use a whip, and you aren't Alucard (Dracula's half-human son, for the uninitiated). For the first half of the game you don't even spend any time in Dracula's castle. You will explore light houses, forests, ocean reefs, and rescue the residents of a small village for about half of the maps. This is different and generally works well. Instead of equipping weapons, this iteration of the game utilizes a "magic-only" concept and your character equips glyphs... which mostly act exactly like weapons in previous games. A large number of the enemies have received graphical facelifts, which is nice and I've seen a large number of creatures that are completely new to the game.

WHAT'S DEVILISHLY GOOD ABOUT ECCLESIA?
+++ The graphics and art-style are excellent.
+++ Stepping outside of the castle is good, but there are issues.
+++ Monster redesigns are excellent and the new animations feel fresh.
+++ The music is very good
+++ Gameplay mechanics have changed. The new glyph system takes some adjustment, but it is different from previous iterations of the game and works well.
+++ Villagers give you optional mini-missions, which is a nice bonus that extends the play. I wish there were more of these.
+++ The last half of the game is very excellent, so good that the first half is worthwhile.

WHAT SUCKS THE LIFE OUT OF THIS GAME?
--- The first half of the game is no where near as good as the last half.
--- The learning curve on this game is completely out of whack and unbalanced in the first half of the game.
--- While the music is good, most other Castlevanias have done better. As a fan of the series, I was let down by my high expectations of superior tunes.
--- Inventory feels more limited than previous games and provides fewer options.

Dare I say it, this Castlevania possibly possesses the best 2D art (mixed with some 3D effects) the series has seen. Graphically, I think Symphony of the Night was finally surpassed, but only because the art looks crisper and sharper. The downside is that some of these gorgeous backgrounds are little over-used so some areas give the player too much of a sense of deja vu. More variety from screen to screen would have been nice. The storyline is presented stiffly and painfully, full of cliches common to video games. There is some very limited voice acting, and it is at its best, mediocre; at its worst, embarrassingly bad. But no one plays Castlevania for the story. We know the story... Dracula is bad and he must be stopped. We play the game to explore and experience awesome classic 2D gameplay.

My biggest complaint probably won't bother hardcore fans of the Castlevania series, but I think the unbalanced difficulty level in the first half of the game could turn a lot of semi-casual players off from this game. It almost feels like some really tough monsters were randomly tossed into early parts of the game without recognizing that the character would only have a handful of levels and a lot of weak weapons and spells. To top it off, a few boss fights feel downright cheap and unfair in the first half of the game. I think the first 30% of the game is more immensely more difficult than the later sections, and in some cases just switching the play order of the different zones would fix most of these issues. My girlfriend loved the first two DS Castlevania games. She's just a casual gamer and focuses on if a game is fun. The first two DS Castlevanias had a smoother learning curve and eased new players into the franchise, but I know this game will frustrate her and it isn't likely she will try to complete this version.

All in all, I recommend this game to all Castlevania fans. To newcomers, I recommend playing through at least one of the other DS Castlevanias first (I recommend Portrait of Ruin personally). Once you've got your Castlevania chops up, dive into this one.
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Extremely Awesome Experience, October 21, 2008
By 
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (Video Game)
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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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Castlevania's, October 28, 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (Video Game)
Pros:

+A good story
+Glyph system is incredible
+A good challenge
+Very addictive gameplay
+Backtracking and getting lost is kept to a minimal
+Good artistic design
+Fantastic Soundtrack

Cons:

-It's challenging; you will die

In 2005, Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow brought the franchise to the DS and is often considered one of the best games in the series, rivaling Symphony of the Night as the best Castlevania title out there. Just two years ago, however, Portrait of Ruin didn't make as strong of a run. Portrait of Ruin was a good game on its own, yet switching between two characters felt like a gimmick after a while, and it was obvious that some of the exploration was becoming a drag. Order of Ecclesia works to put some life into the franchise the same way Symphony of the Night did in 1997, and the way Aria of Sorrow did in 2003. Fans will be pleased to know that it does a great job.

Order of Ecclesia puts you in the role of Shanoa as she has to go forth and once again vanquish Dracula. While Castlevania has never been too much for story, it has slowly begun to put an emphasis on its story through the years. While it centers firmly on its gameplay, Order of Ecclesia actually has a pretty good story, and Shanoa is easily one of the series's most likable characters.

Since 1997's Symphony of Night, Castlevania has abandoned it's level by level design and has a had a more Metroid style approach ever since. Order of Ecclesia holds onto that, but it also brings back the level by level run. You'll got to a "level" but you'll be able to explore it in the Metroid style way you've no doubt become accustomed to. It helps keep backtracking and running around aimlessly to a minimum. Most of the areas aren't too big either and it's a little hard to get lost. Yet there are plenty of optional things to do later on that will lead you back to these areas. So while it has a level by level design, exploring is still encouraged.

Order of Ecclesia's biggest strength is its glyph system. Throughout the game, Shanoa can absorb glyphs that give her certain abilities. At first it starts off being very basic things such as using a Rapier or being a magnet to shoot yourself from one spot to another. But they get more complex and allow for several different combinations. If you enjoyed the soul system from Dawn of Sorrow and Aria of Sorrow, you'll love the glyph system. It allows for many more combinations than the soul system does and allows you to utilize the glyphs more strategically.

Streategy is especially important in Order of Ecclesia. It's a tough game. One of the hardest Castlevania titles out there to be sure. While you probably won't have too much trouble getting through each area, you'll be put to the test in the game's boss battles, and they are by far some of the toughest moments in Order of Ecclesia.

Despite that, Order of Ecclesia is as simple to pick up as any Castlevania before it. Not only that, but the game still has a beautiful art design. As far as 2D Castlevania games go, Order of Ecclesia has some fantastic art design. You'll admire many of the backgrounds. In particular, the boss designs are some of the best the series has ever had. Artistically it's fantastic. On the other hand, it's not really a step above Dawn of Sorrow or Portrait of Ruin.

The biggest strength of Order of Ecclesia (and the Castlevania series in general) is easily its fantastic soundtrack. The Castlevania series is well known for having some of the best music in gaming and Order of Ecclesia sets a new high for the music in handheld video games.

Order of Ecclesia is one of the best Castlevania games out there. In terms of the DS games, it rivals Dawn of Sorrow as being the best on the handheld. If you're a Castlevania fan, you'll love it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Castlevania: Definitely Not Easya, December 3, 2008
By 
Ggam Dizzle (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (Video Game)
New to the Castlevania franchise, my first Castlevania game was on the DS.. Dawn of Sorrow. It was my favorite game for quite some time..

Portrait of Ruin followed, and I was somewhat disappointed. It's possible that it had in part to do with my extreme enthusiasm for Dawn of Sorrow that I felt that Portrait of Ruin fell short. I landed myself a nice 20th anniversary collector's edition though.

Fast forward to the present day. Order of Ecclesia was announced with much fanfare. I had hoped for an extravagant pre-order bonus in the likes of the Japanese release. We didn't get one, but what we did get was a beautifully animated, wonderfully difficult game that put its DS predecessors to difficulty shame.

The glyph system, a new feature in the Castlevania series, is a weapons/support system that the heroine Shanoa uses to gain features. Certain monsters leave behind glyphs when killed, certain statues retain glyphs when shattered, etc. They're scattered all throughout the game. Glyphs include rapiers, swords, blunt weapons, axes, bows, magic attacks, etc. There is a piece of equipment (I forgot what it was called) that allows the user to preset three sets of glyphs that the user can switch back and forth between using the L & R buttons. Up to three glyphs can be equipped: left arm, right arm, and support, activated by the R button.

At first, the controls seem clunky. Having to alternate buttons (X and Y) to use each weapon in each arm seemed awkward. Fighting became much easier when I realized that instead of alternating button hits, all I needed to do was to roll my thumb back and forth between the X and Y buttons to attack rapidly. This is, of course, limited by mana expenditure per attack.

These new features, new attack styles, new ways to obtain weapons and armor, etc. all have their counterbalances, which I believe makes the game difficult. Gaining gold is not easy, until much later in the game when a glyph is obtained that increases gold dropping. There is also an accessory equipment that raises gold drops. But it must be equipped as a glyph, in addition to the equipment that boosts the feature to maximum potential.

This leads to the age old dilemma in platformers: whether to grind it out for the things you need in stages you've already beat, or to find an even balance between gold increase, power stat increase, defense increase, and magic increase and to move through the game in linear fashion. Given the limitations of equipment, finding this sort balance makes beating the game without having to backtrack and grind rather difficult.

The experience curve is steep too. Constant playing and grinding netted me a whopping level 32! In which I still have difficult times beating bosses.

If you find the correct balance between glyphs to use for different bosses, different stat boosts for power ups, equipment that raise different stats, etc. the game would probably be a little easier. I didn't take the time to do that, so I blasted my way through the game using the strongest weapon I could find in every instance.

All in all, the game is hard, and in my opinion, it adds to the appeal of the game. Sometimes I forget to save because of the hassle of pressing Yes when I go to town to heal myself (yes, it's a hassle to me), and then I die, losing hours of gameplay. That frustrates me to a point where I would leave my DS sitting on my desk for days at a time without being touched. But I go back, because the game is deathly fun, and deathly hard.

I loved it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great game, October 24, 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (Video Game)
Just started really digging into this game and I am loving it. Although the difficulty level has been dramatically increased there's something incredibly satisfying about trying over 10 or 20 times just to beat a boss, memorizing it's every last move and pattern, and then FINALLY destroying it to be able to move onward with the game. About 3 hours into it so far and I have already felt a great amounts of frustration, as well as pure joy and satisfaction after overcoming the difficult obsticals. The gameplay is quick, sleek, and the glyph system is such a smart move forward, I'm learning that switching between your 3 sets of weapons (an upgrade you get early on the game) constantly is mandatory for being able to slay monsters in certain areas efficiently. This requires a slight learning curve but is very easy once you get the hang of it. Graphics are awesome, some of the best i've seen on my beloved DS. Sounds/effects/music are equally as awesome. There's plenty of fun to be had here, and after the "so-so" (but still fun) Portrait of Ruin everyone at Konami really stepped up and have made yet another great Castlevania game.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE GREATEST!, IF NOT, THE BEST!, October 28, 2008
By 
Ken Masters (Stockton, CA United States) - See all my reviews
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (Video Game)
I've always been a fan of the Castlevania series, owning the original nes system + the 3 castlevania games. I've also transitioned to possibly the best castlevania of them all, symphony of the night. Order of Ecclesia is on a different level however because of the fighting/gameplay system. Being able to use two weapon/magic equips are good additions to an already darn-good series. Im most impressed with the music (YES, I AM A HUGE VIDEOGAME MUSIC FANATIC, very appreciative of many franchises), the quick fighting, the EXTREMELY HIGH DIFFICULTY (people say it's the "hardest." Don't believe them, the NES castlevanias are tougher, especially castlevania II. It doesn't match Contra 4's difficulty, which i can beat without dying =D, hard mode...and it doesn't match Ninja Gaiden NES games, but it does test if you have got the skills).

Amazing game.....this is game for the videogame purists!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great 4-star title!, June 28, 2009
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (Video Game)
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is probably the very BEST Castlevania to date, and that's saying something.

The gameplay mechanics are redefined here, and differ from past games. There's new systems at work here, like Glyphs for example.

The glyphs act as your weapons and magic. Let me explain - Some enemies you fight will leave behind a blue, or red, shiny crest looking thing in the air, or on the ground. At that time, you simply hold up on the D-Pad to suck it into your body. THus gaining the power it had, which could be an upgraded Sword? or maybe a Thunder spell?

The enemies in the game are tough right from the start, as they should be. With this said, you'll likely die quite a few times throughout the game, especially on the bosses, which are extremely well done.

The game itself is long, probably about 40 hours for your first playthrough, depending of course. Then there's new game modes, like a +Game, same as regular only harder! there's also another character you can play as.

Aside from those modes, there's modes like Practice Mode, where you basically run courses trying to get a good time, etc. There's Boss Rush Mode, you have to beat bosses in good time, and health.

This Castlevania even has Wifi options so you can set up your own item shop online for other players to buy from you, and vice versa.

But anyways, this game is great for any castlevania fan that likes a LOT of content and a lot of challenge. Pick it up today.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best. Castlevania. Ever, November 24, 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (Video Game)
this is my first review on amazon, and could possibly be my last, but i'd like all castlevania loyalists, to check this game out, it is absolutely incredible, the animation is beautiful ,the gameplay is surgical, ,you cannot blame your death because of the game or the enemies, true it is difficult, but the first castlevanias were the most difficult, the bosses in this game will kill you multiple times, but the thing of that is.. persistence.. if you persist you will triumph, and that is the best feeling when you go up against a boss and it has beat you fifteen twenty times, and then you GET it... and you boot the game back up and you win! the story-line is also very excellent, the music is hauntingly beautiful, the level design is incredibly creative and beatiful, do not worry about no back-tracking, the levels have quite a bit of depth in them, this is without question one of my favorite games of all time, symphony of the night on ps1 was incredible, brilliant, and a masterpiece, ,and this is the DS's Masterpiece... if it is not the greatest castlevania, it is right NEXT to Symphony of the night.

BUY THIS GAME, ENJOY THIS GAME, So Konami will make others!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Castlevania game since SotN, May 7, 2014
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This review is from: Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (Video Game)
This game. There's too much to say about it, but this game is amazing. I recently played through the trilogy of games on the DS again (since the 3DS is missing something similar) and yet again this game manages to top the already great "Dawn of Sorrow" and "Portrait of Ruin". The graphics are impressively detailed and the environments always feel authentic and full of life. The enemy design is a highlight as it tends to be in most Castlevania games.

The game is unique in that you are exploring smaller "levels" (about 20), that give the game a feeling of variety that makes it more engaging at time. The glyph system is also a new addition that utilizes glyphs as powers that the main character can equip in order to perform attacks or abilities, utilizing MP.

I know this review hasn't said all that much, but this game is definitely worth your money. It's incredibly polished, beautiful, challenging, and just a blast to play.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but WAY too HARD. GET THE AXE., June 18, 2013
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (Video Game)
This is a combination of the hit Symphony of the Night and the early Castlevania games. Like SOTN, it's got levelling up, items, and shops and like early games it is remorselessly DIFFICULT.

The game employs a Glyph system, somewhere between Dawn of Sorrow's "soul" abilities (attained from enemies) and Zelda's avoidable items (from obvious treasure chests in the middle of stages). They follow standard Castlevania items to a degree -throwing axes, swords and missile spells. The axe, thrown in an arc above your head, is easily the most useful item in the game. It's also easy to miss, because you have to kill an axe knight repeatedly, then hold Up to absorb it.

To paraphrase AVGN, "1.GET THE AXE. 2. GET THE AXE. 3. GET THE AXE." It is incredibly difficult starting with the second level, the forest. You will encounter flying squids. Like Castlevania bats, they fly in unpredictable patterns, but have the added bonus of being able to latch onto you and take about 1/3 of your life. You'll meet about seven of them before you even have the opportunity to GET THE AXE and effectively kill them.

The bosses will kill you constantly, so get used to the GAME OVER screen and slamming A to reload your save. The glyph system is supposed to excel here, as each boss has a glyph they're weak against. There's no way of predicting it, so you're best looking on the internet, which will usually tell you to GET THE AXE and forget about the weakness. One boss was weak against an ice attack and fell over in five seconds. Another was weak against wind, but required about fifteen minutes of employing the same dodge/attack pattern over and over, which wind was not effective in.

That is the bigger problem. Many bosses basically require you to memorize a strategy and employ it for ages. Finding a strategy like this is a standard in action games, but using a sword that does 15 damage on a 2500 HP boss isn't. At least the designers put a save point directly before each boss.

At one point, the bog standard enemies before the bosses got fairly difficult and I realized just avoiding them was more profitable than wasting my time fighting them.

The quest system in the village is a nice idea, but is kind of tedious and not rewarding. Bring 3 gems to a jeweler and she will sell you a necklace for $5000. The economics are bizarre, considering you could sell the gems for more than that, you're her only customer, and the necklace doesn't raise your stats much.

Backtracking once you learn to swim is fun, collecting glyphs is fun, and branching paths make for interesting levels, which are conveniently split up in a stage select screen like Mega Man.

Get it if you:
-Like games on "Hard" or "Nightmare"
-Like bats
-Enjoy trial and error
-Like looking up strategies online and seeing answers from smug "gamers"
-Are happy to spend hours on one game

Don't get it if you:
-Want to beat a level in five minutes and then do something else.
-Hate seeing "Game Over" screens
-Hate bats
-Ever used a cheat code to beat a game

Nitpicks:
-Little to no use of the touch screen. Would have been great to switch out glyphs on the fly. Instead you're tasked with holding A and using the shoulder buttons to toggle preset glyphs like in Dawn of Sorrow.
-Glyphs can't be upgraded, but you collect stronger versions, which should replace older glyphs. Why use Sword+1 when there's Sword+20?
-Latin names for glyphs. "Arcus" instead of "Bow"
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Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia by Konami (Nintendo DS)
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