4.13.2010

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia

Boy, am I behind... Time to get my review on!

We all know I'm a Castlevania whore. (Lord of Shadows! It calls me!) So the first review in the long list I have to do is for Order of Ecclesia. (Yes, I know I'm waaaaaay behind.)

Amnesiac Shanoa is sent out to bitch slap her brother Albus around in order to get the Dominus glyphs and kill Dracula. The twist: using them will kill her. Of course, it would be a useless sacrifice anyway. Dracula will just pop back up like a bad weed in a century, give or take a few years.

You control Shanoa who has a large array of weapons and magic at her disposal a la Alucard. However, the use of these things sucks up her MP, so when you tap out, you have to wait for the bar to refill. This changes the strategy of the game. You have to go into an area with a sense of timing to be sure your mp doesn't run out at a crucial moment. For Boss fights, it's worse. Of course, you can endlessly revisit a stage to level up, grab new goodies, and knock over the First National Bank of Dracula for the cashes.

And you will revisit stages a lot thanks to all the stupid little quests the villagers have you do. Being a completetist, I finished every god-damned one (and I would like to kill the little kid with the 'lets run around in the dark' bull crap.)

The game play, even with the mp depletion, is smooth. The variety of areas and new monsters to go with the classic standbys makes for a nice venture out into Castlevania land. Even the old standbys got a few new tricks, most notably Drac-baby himself. His typically 2D sprite got some new moves, all of which made him a much more difficult boss.  (Remember not to try flying when you have to fight the big guy.)

You never use a particular glyph for too long.  As you get new glyphs, you get new abilities and you will rapidly change between glyphs for different situations, so you don't have another Soma Cruz.  (I've got three powerful souls and I... only need to use the three of them to beat this game.)

4 Glyphs out of 5

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