2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A female lead in a Castlevania, craziness!,
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This review is from: Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (Video Game)
Konami took even more risks with this than they did with the previous DS Castlevania (Portrait of Ruin). This game is at it's core much the same as any other recent 2D Castlevania title, and if you enjoyed them you will surely enjoy this game, but it makes enough changes that it might throw you for a few loops if you arent prepared.
First off, the new protagonist Shanoa, is indeed a female lead who is an enigma wrapped in a mystery. She breaks many series conventions, such as requiring MP for ANY type of attack due to her Glyph combat system, and thus being helpless when her MP is depleted. In this game MP regenerates at an astounding rate, but the MP regen is halted during and briefly after attacking, requiring you to attack in short bursts. Safe and easy weapons like projectiles are generally less damage to MP efficient than melee weapons are, such tradeoffs can be found throughout the combat system. Additionally, Shanoa is able to transform into a few select enemies (such as a cat with the Glyph Arma Felis) which alters the control scheme and opens up interesting strategic possibilities. She's also the first Castlevania protagonist in a long time to never unlock a "super jump" type move late in the game, but gains access to actual wing-based flight instead, as well as some other creative magnetism movement abilities and walking through walls. Even her world is different, with an actual world map and numerous one-shot type short platforming levels to traverse. Many types of locales will be visited up until Dracula's Castle actually reveals itself, at which point the Castle is still huge and wonderfully laid out, filled with creative boss fights.
This game also features not just one, but TWO optional bonus dungeons. One is a simple layout entirely focused on extremely brutal combat, much like "The Den of Evil" in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin. The other, is a test of your platforming skill and reflexes, and has some of the best level design seen in recent years. Both are insanely difficult, and as a whole the game is flat out hard, but it is never unfair and like all good action games you will notice improvement over time. This game's Hard Mode however, is pretty unrelenting. I like a challenge, you may not.
As far as graphics and sound go, there's plenty on both ends to make you smile. The water surface in one section is done particularly well, the crashing waves are excellent. This is the first of the DS Castlevanias to use electric guitars in the soundtrack, which may or may not be your thing but I am always down for some rock. The game is great and all 3 of the DS Castlevanias are must-haves for the system, but if I had to assign an order of favorites for myself, Portrait of Ruin would still be at the top simply because of the monolithic level of content in that game, and Dawn of Sorrow would be second because I really enjoyed that Castle's layout and Soma Cruz's abilities. Castlevania OoE is still a great game that I love, but not my favorite.