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Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow
Format: Video Game|Change
Price:$39.88+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on September 7, 2017
If you are new to the Castlevania franchise I highly recommend starting here. It follows he Metroidvania format but brings in a lot of diverse ideas with its man protagonist Soma to keep it interesting. Once you complete the game you unlock Julius Mode which allows you to play as Yoko, Alucard, and Julius. Three characters that follow the same styles as the three that you got to play in Castlevania 3 Dracula's curse. This adds a bit of difficulty since items are no longer usable. It is a good way to test yourself after completing the main game. Really solid, I even recommend the Advance prequel to this if you can find it!
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on April 26, 2016
The game is fantastic! It uses many of the mechanics from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, while adding it's own unique story and characters, there is even a return of a special character. The only thing that really bothered me about the game was that if you are a completionist like myself, gathering all of the souls is impossible without at least one other person with the same game, other than that everything about the game was a lot of fun to play through, there is even an extra mode where you can play through the game as some of the other characters, using their own unique abilities. If you like Symphony of the Night, or just want a good RPG, then I highly recommend this title.
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on December 6, 2013
I am extremely picky when it comes to games. Things as simple as over-frequent advertising, and biased reviews to pander to hype have wrecked chances of me ever playing the biggest titles of today. Uncharted was squashed by hype and advertising budget surrounding Uncharted 3. Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 failed to even scratch my armor with it's one-level-only gimmicks.

However, with Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, I do not regret my purchase. This is a shining sequel to Aria of Sorrow, and an excellent game. It's been far too long since I played a game of this quality. It takes everything that made the first game stand out, and improved upon it in ways that work exceptionally well. It is the Super Metroid equivalent of a sequel in more ways than one.

First Impression: Quite challenging, unforgiving without being spiteful, expansive, fun, enjoyable, makes non-gimmicky use of the touch screen and dual screen features, graphically pleasing.

A lot of people will be put off by the backtracking mechanic, but it's executed well, so I embrace it. The story seems a tad tacked on, but as a game dev, I already know story is meaningless without good game play.
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VINE VOICEon February 10, 2012
I remember playing the original Castlevania when I was younger (around age 10 or 11), and I always remember how punishingly difficult the game seemed. Years later I played the game on an emulator and was surprised that it was still pretty punishingly difficult. But the old Castlevania games (1 - 4) really upped the challenge with ledges and pits that if you fell off you died. Occasionally there would be a touch enemy or tough boss, but really the pain was in timing jumps and such. Especially with flying Medusa heads coming at you!

So the latest Castlevania games have a different style of play and difficulty. Instead of the finite lives and continues (as in 1, 3, and 4), the games have a save feature. You grow your character by gathering experience slaying demons. Since there are very few 'bottomless pits' to die in (or none at all!), the challenge is focused on battling demons and bosses.

So the challenge is not as high as previous games, but not as frustrating as those earlier versions.

Now onto this game! I played this for the first time recently, after completing Order of Ecclesia, and after playing a bit of Portrait of Ruin. I didn't play the previous Game Boy Advance titles. But comparing this to the other 2-d Castlevania titles, I would place this in the top three.

I still rate Symphony of the Night and Order of Ecclesia higher, but Dawn of Sorrow could make a case for being ranked in the top, though the amazing glyph system of Ecclesia pretty much locks it in at #1 in my opinion.

In this version you have a very good story, with some interesting characters. The story continues from the previous game (which I didn't play), but they do a pretty good job of summing up the events of the previous game.

Most of the game is spent trying to just 'beat the game'. As opposed to Ecclesia with all of the various side quests, most of the time in this game will be spent advancing farther into Dracula's Castle while backtracking to gather the occasional item that was previously unattainable without a new ability. You might also backtrack to fight demons to gain souls.

And that takes me to the point here. If I hadn't played Ecclesia first, I would have been very pleased with the soul gathering aspect. You gather souls to learn abilities, the more of each soul, the higher the level of the ability. You can also use souls to upgrade weapons in town. Though the upgrades are basically the next stronger item, which is usually available for purchase at the weapon shop next door, though at a steep price. Some of the abilities take MP, like bone toss or using Lightning, and others are static abilities. It's pretty fun to customize Soma, and you eventually find an item to allow you to set his abilities and equipment into two slots and quick change them with the X button. But again, Ecclesia's glyph system was near flawless, so I can't really say I love the soul system. (You can read my Ecclesia review for more info).

The challenge is decent, though not as tough as Ecclesia. The reason is that most boss battles are pretty easy to figure out. And often the boss will hesitate and allow you to just start ripping multiple hits on them. Later bosses get more challenging of course, but the early bosses in Ecclesia were as tough as some of the middle bosses in this game. I remember dying three times fighting Malphas (bird lady), twice fighting Dario, and once fighting Balore (big fist guy early on). But that's nothing compared to dying 10 times trying to figure out the first boss in Ecclesia!

+ Very large area to explore.
+ Wide variety of weapons and armor.
+ Great music and sound effects.
+ Decent challenge.
+ Very good DS graphics.

- Soul system good, but not perfect.
- 99% of the game is in one of two areas, no wilderness areas (like Ecclesia).
- Only two quick set options for abilities (could have used a third).
- Not a lot of hidden items/chests.
- Having to use the stylus to 'seal' boss monsters. It's pretty lame...

The reason I compare this to Ecclesia is because many other players might be looking to buy one of these two games, since they are both on the DS, and both very well made. I recommend playing through this one first, just because going back to this game after Ecclesia is bittersweet. You know how good it is, but you can't help thinking of the improvements and tougher challenge of Ecclesia while playing this. Granted, Ecclesia was made 4 years later.
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on October 7, 2013
Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is an awesome game where's there;s plenty to do for about 13 hours of game play without getting the 100% completion, excellent quality game with and average story, you play as Soma Cruz and you're able to unlock a different story for the price of one game. You can start a new game plus and carry over all your weapons, maps and souls, and play as different charecters once you beaten the game.
This is the first game followed by Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin.


Start with the normal story/character and then once you beat the game (must get the good ending by wearing Mina's Talisman in the boss battles) you have the option to start a new game an play as Julius Belmont, Yoko Belnades, and Alucard (Each character has a weapon and an assortment of abilities unique to them).

So after completing the main game you have a new game, new game plus & a continues play game option;

- Continue your same game and keep exploring, collecting items, souls, etc...
- New game Plus (Clear Game).
- New game Julius mode.
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on March 8, 2017
Another castlevania installment, it seems that the artwork in the last one was better than this sequel. Still a good game with lots of stuff to do and bosses to fight.
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on March 20, 2017
The Magic Seal system, which requires you to draw specific patterns on the touchscreen in order to finish off most of the bosses, is a little picky, and breaks the flow of the game. Otherwise, it's a lot of fun; but it's really the challenging post-game Julius Mode that really earns this game its fifth star.
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on July 8, 2012
The DS series of Castlevania are 2D side scollers at their best. Its purely a fun game with many hidden areas and items inline with the rest of the side scrolling series. This game is a great successor to symphony of the night and the series itself. I have played this game many times from start to finish and it just never gets old.
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on July 31, 2017
Bought it for a Friend and he loves it (Castlevania fan)
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on October 4, 2005
Castlevania is one of those staples of gaming that after over a decade of titles has yet to get old. In fact, it seems as if this series (which exists in GBA/DS form as 2D games and on the PS2 in 3D) has had a recent rebirth. The last three GBA titles were excellent, taking the Metroid/RPG feel of Symphony of the Night for the Playstation and utilizing it in their own unique ways.

Dawn of Sorrow takes this even further, and I believe in some ways outdoes the masterpiece SotN. This story is the continued adventure of Soma Cruz, high school student who found himself in Castlevania in the Aria of Sorrow. Now, he returns to thwart a cult that would resurrect the evil of Dracula, heading into their castle to battle the undead and save the world.

Sounds kind of cheesy, yes? Well, Castlevania games aren't bought for their plot. What they are bought for: a massive castle, solid platforming, great gameplay, and tons of atmosphere... all of this is present here like never before. The sprites on the DS are beautiful and large, of similar quality to the Playstation sprites (indeed some of the more famous Playstation sprites make an appearance here).

The music is haunting, and the atmosphere is gorgeous as you begin your trek through the long and winding castle. Soma has the ability to gather the souls of enemies to gain their abilities, and this 'magic' system has become more sophisticated and useful even than it was in Aria of Sorrow. In fact, souls can now be fused with weapons to create new equipment to battle the hordes of evil.

There are a few DS features (drawing to seal bosses and break ice blocks) but really this game doesn't make too much use of the touch screen, which is fine. This is an old-school game at heart, a mix of the exploration of Metroid, RPG experience and levels and equipment, and the action and attitude of classic castlevania.

This is a game for the ages, and given how quickly Aria of Sorrow fell out of availability, I can't encourage you to get this fast enough. Buy this game, and experience brilliance of a sort rarely anymore. Amazing, wonderful game!
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