4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Castlevania at it's best,
This review is from: Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow (Video Game)
I keep worrying that Castlevania is going to run out of steam soon, and every time I pick up the latest 3D installment my worst fears are confirmed, but then I pick up the 2D sidescrollers that I have been most worried about and find myself relieved.
Very little has changed by way of overall game play style. The game still plays like a medieval Metroid, similar to the classic Symphony of the night, but where as the 3D Castlevanias feel stale, and tired somehow the GBA (and now graduating to the NDS) games have managed to remain fresh, and wonderful for more than 5 games in a row even though the core game play has remained unchanged.
Dawn of Sorrow may have a bit of an odd name, lie its predecessor it's not really an emotional story, but one thing that it does have over Castlevanias of yore, your character, Soma, IS Dracula (reincarnated), and I thought playing Dracula's son was neat. The story isn't very deep, or involved, but the characters therein are still quite cool, and there is just enough story to keep you playing for the 8-12 hours it'll take to complete the main quest. Additionally, one advantage CVDS has over Aria of Sorrow, is that this one is quite challenging, where as AoS was a little on the easy side. Best of all the game features a new weapon synthesis system, which enables you to combine weapons with the souls Soma has stolen to create a new and more powerful weapon. I ended up getting the Grim Reaper's scythe, which, while slow, is insanely powerful. It's quite cool.
Additionally the level designs are quite intuitive, and beautiful. The game incorporates a number of tricks to give the appearance of a depth that I haven't noticed in a side scroller before. It makes me wonder what a 2D side-scroller could do on a next gen system. On top on that, the game also has some of the finest graphics I have seen in a side scroller with very little aliasing, and no grain to the DS picture.
Another innovation I appreciated was the ability to see the castle map on the top screen, which helped keep the action more consistent rather than breaking it up the way past installments did any time you needed to look at the map.
This game also features the best alternative play mode, which allows you to play as Julius Belmont, Yoko, and Alucard, regretfully, however, this mode does not permit for the player to collect or purchase healing items, which would be tremendously helpful when up against some of the game's tuff bosses.
In all, however, this game is the 2nd best 2D Castlevania to date, and the 1st game that has made me pick up my DS again (after both my DS and my PSP have been collecting dust for a while) and thankfully this game seems to have ushered in a flood of must have games for the system, as it was the first of a huge handful of new titles for the handheld that I've picked up over the last few weeks.
If you had previously dismissed the DS as a viable handheld, this is the game that will change your mind!