Newer Castlevanias

#1LvthnPosted 4/28/2012 10:41:31 AM
When I mentioned a while back that I finally tried this game and it was my first metroidvania (in this series - obviously I've played Metroid games and other open ended games), it was recommended that I check out some of the later games in the series, especially on portables.

After a little hunting I found a few to try. Brief thoughts:

Circle of the Moon - My first impression was bad, but to my pleasant surprise this was totally overcome. The graphics are pretty drab even with a backlit GBA (I heard visibility was an issue with non-backlit GBA but I just think it's pretty plain even with one), but if you look past that the game is pretty damn fun. I like the card system; it has a little wasted potential but overall it's a cool idea and adds some strategy to what you're doing. I LOVE with all my <3 the multiple NG+ modes, THAT is a great idea for replay value! It's like the luck mode on SOTN but four of them, and a bit better balanced so the endgame isn't just the same as the normal mode. Biggest complaints are the bad jump physics when not dashing (too hard to get distance and dashing while in combat is very hit or miss) and the mentioned low end graphics; it's not so much the graphical quality as I felt it just lacks that special atmosphere I love in Castlevania games. Still, I played this one through several times in the different modes and enjoyed it so I'd recommend it. I also thought the difficulty was well tuned throughout.

Harmony of Dissonance - My first impression on loading was fairly good, I mean the graphics were obviously way upgraded and had a lot more atmosphere. Sadly this was the inverse of CotM, because my opinion started plummetting. First, why is my character always glowing with a blue outline? Were the complaints about visibility in CotM so bad that they felt Juste needed to have his emergency blinkers on to be seen or what? My gripes here are very specific but unfortunately also pervasive: I do not like the controls. I sense that in some way they are supposed to feel like SOTN's Alucard, but whereas Alucard felt graceful and precise, HoD feels floaty and...imprecise. I'm actually guessing that part of it is that while Alucard jump movement is slow (compared to some platformers), his attack speed can be very high so he ends up feeling, well, like a vampire. Juste similarly jumps slow, but it feels like he also doesn't accellerate when falling and his whip is SO SLOW. Equipment is a lot less random than it CotM but then again, it's almost too easy...in fact the whole game is too easy. I just can't bring myself to replay this.

I haven't gotten copies of some others yet. I hear they're cartoony but I'll probably try them anyway. But I did skip straight to...

Order of Ecclesia - Playing this right now. Reviews seemed to feel it was too different. On the other hand, THIS is more like what I'm talking about! The physics feel great, the atmosphere is definitely Castlevania, and while the story and feel is quite different, that's ok, so was SOTN. I also appreciate that there's a good female main protagonist, IIRC the first main in the series and the third overall (after Sypha and Maria). The mechanics seems pretty engaging and I like that they actually made use of backdashing as a valid evasion mechanism. Not far enough in to give a full review but I'm loving this one. Story is corny as hell but who cares, the originals were campfests and SOTN was great despite having cringeworthy dialogue.
#2ZhugeSongPosted 4/28/2012 12:46:59 PM
Yeah, you're actually right about Juste's aura. A lot of people apparently complained that it was hard to see what was going on in CotM without shining a light on it, so they made everything bright in HoD.

I thought HoD (probably because it was the first after SotN) just tried too hard to be an exact copy of SotN with a different character, even going so far as to reuse the two castles gimmick and having an almost exactly the same Castle Center area.

All the DS games, including OoE, are true to the SotN style while actually having some differences. TBH I can't see why someone would complain about OoE being "too different" compared to any of the other CV games.

And really, all the stories in the CV games tend to be not very detailed; honestly I don't really play for the story, though I appreciate it being there.
#3firedraco2Posted 4/29/2012 2:23:28 AM
OoE was actually difficult, during most of the game and bosses, unlike DoS and before where usually you can just eat hits and not care that much for most bosses. PoR was better but I think OoE was actually the best; you actually had to learn all the boss patterns, especially on Hard mode.

Plus, Shanoa is hot.
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#4StravaccaPosted 4/29/2012 3:46:30 AM(edited)
The only thing I liked from CoTM was Dracula's second form. It was badass.
HoD and AoS were incredible to me.

As for the DS games... OoE was great at least. They actually managed to make a hard modern Castlevania game.
PoR was okay, kinda. Screw DoS.
#5badboyPosted 5/2/2012 9:12:51 AM
OoE is extremely good. I would say it's one of the top 5 Castlevania's.
#6OsafuneKatanaPosted 5/2/2012 12:10:40 PM
TC, try to get a hold of Aria of Sorrow. IMHO it's the best portable Metroidvania game and honestly I feel like this is the last great Castlevania. The music and atmosphere are excellent, the story has an interesting twist, and the soul system is really sweet and unique and it's exciting to see what the new soul you obtained does. It's fun the point where you want to get 100% completion and there's even a couple extra modes to keep you coming back for more.

The DS ones are really good games, but there's something about them that just makes them a little off IMO. However I still recommend you give them a try as they're still really fun. Play Aos first though!
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"What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets." -Dracula, Castlevania: SotN.
#7kevinskiPosted 5/2/2012 2:06:02 PM
ZhugeSong posted...
I thought HoD (probably because it was the first after SotN) just tried too hard to be an exact copy of SotN with a different character, even going so far as to reuse the two castles gimmick and having an almost exactly the same Castle Center area.

CotM was the next game after SotN; HoD was released after CotM.
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#8Lvthn(Topic Creator)Posted 5/7/2012 12:47:42 AM
OoE lived up to my expectations. Highly recommended, liked everything about this game. Difficulty was nice, boss fights have a pattern that makes them hard at first, then you learn it and feel like a superstar kicking their asses.

I'm on a Castlevania-thon. Now playing CVIII. Looking back at Classicvanias, I'm starting to realize that even among early CV games, only the first (and maybe the B/W gameboy games which I have not played) are truly linear, every other one I can think of offers either multiple paths (CVIII), open world (CVII), multiple characters (Bloodlines), etc. I guess Rondo is sort of linear but it does offer a second character playthrough. So it would seem to me that this series has always been experimental even at its roots, and SotN was in truth a natural evolution once technology really allowed it to happen. It puts a new perspective on the old Classic vs Metroidvania argument, at least for me.
#9antking61Posted 5/7/2012 1:57:46 PM
Harmony of Despair is pretty sweet too. Much different in terms of concept but fun as hell all the same.

Only CV game I've hated so far is LoS.
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