Review by Niebeer
"Not so great, not too bad either."
Castlevania has always been a really popular series, with games such as Castlevani 3, Super Castlevani 4, Castlevania Rondo of Blood, and Symphony of the Night. Those are great games, and people wondered when they are going to go 3D. The first two attempts, led to the horrible Castlevania 64 and Castlevania Legacy of Darkness. Those games had horrible controls (picture yourself in a 3D game with a NES Controller, yes that's how bad it is) and not much action in the game.
Now, Konami brings us Lament of Innocence, which has been apparently inspired by Devil May Cry. But don't worry, there is almost no resemblance to it.
This the third attempt to bring the Castlevania series to the 3D generation, and it went not as good as expected, but it is certainly a good game.
Nothing to mindblasting over here. The game have some nice visual effects, but the setting is not much detailed, as well as the character models. The attacks look nice but the enemy design is kind of dull, with the exception of a few bosses. They could have worked more to the graphics, but they work fine. Don't expect great graphics here such as in games like Devil May Cry, Onimusha 3 and Final Fantasy X.
Music here is wonderful. Ranging from gothic-techno to gothic-rock to wonderfully orchestrated music. Although the voice acting is horrible (I expected good voice acting like in Silent Hill 3, or Metal Gear Solid 2), the japanese one works alright, although it looks kind of weird to see a blonde-haired european knight talking japanese :P. Well, atleast the english voice acting in LoI isn't as bad as in SoTN or Resident Evil 1. God, I hated Richter's corny corny voice acting. "Die Monster, you don't belong in this world". Richter said that with almost no feeling
If you like exploring, then you will probably love this game. Symphony of the Night didn't allow you to explore, well it did, but you will gain levels quickly, making the game too easy. Here, they removed the level-ups which is a very good thing. You rely on HP UP items to get more HP (Duh). But what turned me off exploring, was the poor level design. Every room looked almost the same, so I had no urge to explore. The combo system is something different for a change. With the square button, you can do a series of quick, but weak attacks. With the triangle button, Leon performs a series of heavy attacks, which leave an opening for Leon. Ofcourse you can mix the buttons up.
The Magic system in here is dissappointing, it is very similar to the system Harmony of Dissonance. You get an orb, and you can combine the with your sub-weapon. Then there are relics, WHiCH ARE ULTRA HARD TO FIND. I only found 2, the one at the beginning, and anothter useless one from the shop. The shop allows you to buy items, with the gold you collect in the castle. Skills are earned by defeating alot of enemies, and most of them are useful. Skills is just a fancy way to say Combos.
Wow, the controls are really amazing. They are very responsive, and it's convenient to fight enemies and drink a potion at the same time. This game introduces the real time window. By pressing the right analog stick, you can equip different armor, whips, relics, orbs, and use items. You could play the whole game, without going into the menu. Actually, you probably wouldn't want to go the menu, since all you can do there is:
1. Re-arrange the order of your items
2. Look into a Monster Encyclopedia
3. Check your combo list.
Oh boy. The story is almost non-existant in this. You are given a quick explanation at the beginning, and then are thrown into the Castle. And then there are no cutscenes, well, not important ones until the last area. Which deliver huge, but obvious Plot twists. Also, this game seriously screws up the Castlevania timeline. I thought, Sonia Belmont was the first one, but this game throws away that theory. And the ending is very anti-climatic and the last boss is very easy and dissappointing.
Replay Value and Secrets: 6/10
This game has 2 secret characters similar to Richter in SoTN, they have no story and gain no level ups. There is also a secret difficulty mode, which I had no urge to touch, and a boss rush mode. You'll probably finish the game once and never play it again. Oh, and there are 4 secret bosses in the game, which actually award you for beating them.
Final Verdict: 7/10
If you are a HARDCORE Castlevania fan, you'll probably like it. If you are an action game fan, rent it. You will probably be able to finish the game in 2 or 3 days. Nothing too good, or too bad in Lament of Innocence.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 07/04/04
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