Review of Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia

I got my hands on the newest Castlevania title for the Nintendo DS, Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia.  I haven’t been waiting with baited breath for this game but i have been itching to get my hands on a new Castlevania title since i found out about the fighting game called Catlevania: Judgment.  So here is my review of the game:

Plot: taking place sometime after the events in Symphony of the Night, the Belmont clan has disappeared and several groups have appeared to pick up the slack.  One of these is a group called the Order of Ecclesia who have created a powerful weapon to destroy Dracula, a powerful glyph call Domina, who they plan to implant on one of their greatest warriors, a woman known as Shanoa.  During the ceremony, Albus, a member of the Order, interrupts and steals Domina during the binding ceremony.  This leave Shanoa with amnesia and no emotions.  Three weeks later she is sent by the leader of the Order to hunt down Albus and return Domina.

Game Mechanics: OOE returns to some of the Castlevania roots by using a two-handed weapon system via SOFTN.  Instead of weapons such as swords, whips, and cudgels; Shonoa uses gylphs.  These glyphs are basically magical symbols which Shanoa can absorb onto her skin and they resemble tattoos.  Shanoa can equip one or two glyphs onto her right and left arms.  She can also use a technique called “Glyph Union” which allows her to combine glyphs for a special effect or weapon for a moment.  The glyphs use MP and the Union uses hearts.  Thankfully the MP meter quickly refills, making it more of a stamina meter then a magic meter.  In another take from other games such as Curse of Darkness and Simon’s Quest, you don’t start out at Dracula’s infamous castle but instead you travel across the land, entering towns and certain areas where you fight generic monsters and bosses.  Glyphs appear from defeating enemies or in statues or treasure chests.  You can leave a stage at anytime just by walking back to the start point and even go back to previous areas to pick up new items, shop, or just refill your health at a save point.

Graphics: The graphics of this game are pretty good.  The backgrounds are much more interesting then the last two outings but still there is a bland repetitiveness that does creep in after a while.

Music: Need I say it?  The music has a bold feel and quality to it.  Instead of the usual jazzy, hard rockfest that kinda depresses, much of the music I’ve heard so far is upbeat in a Castlevania sort of way.  I may get the soundtrack for this game.

Final Thoughts: I’m glad they finally put a woman as the lead in a Castlevania game and they did a great job.  They only problem i had is they made her another stereotype.  Shanoa is an emotionless doll, with all the sex appeal of Rei Ayanami.  But i must admit, its a refreshing change from silver-haired, androgynous emo-fags that they’ve been putting out as of late

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