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Reviews: Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia


Don’t let the sun rise just yet, this night is just too much fun.
by Smeags

When it comes to the Castlevania series, it has been tested and proven time and time again. Well, at least when it comes to the 2D stage, Castlevania is a series worth noting for its overall polish and quality. We’ve already seen two titles come to the DS without a problem, both quality additions that continue the great legacy. Still, one could argue that while they were fantastic games, they offered little when it came to straying off the Metroid-vania path. With Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, we have a title that not only continues the great tradition of the series, but innovates in ways that make hunting those ghoulies and ghosties a refreshing and wonderful experience.

 

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia starts out with our protagonist Shanoa. Her goal, and the main goal of the Order, is to harness the power of the glyph Dominous to restore order to the world. However, plans go awry when Shanoa’s ally Albus steals not only the powerful glyph, but her memories as well. After the incident, Shanoa is ordered to retrieve Dominous from the rogue Albus and use the power to defeat the evil at hand. Like other Castlevania titles, the story more or less takes a backseat to the excellent gameplay elements. However, the story is still an enjoyable and worthy addition to the game. You’ll grow to really enjoy Shanoa along the adventure and see her as a unique and worthy addition to the ever expanding cast of Castlevania.

Let’s get to one of Order of Ecclesia’s strongest points: this my friends is a beautiful game. It’s just amazing to see everything come together to portray an awe inspiring canvas of sprites. Every area is uniquely beautiful with amazing art direction. You’ll see many new and creative enemies, each one with that attention to detail that Castlevania is so famous for. On another note worth mentioning, Order of Ecclesia has abandoned the anime inspired character art from the previous two DS games in favor of a much more appropriate gothic art style, and It’s all just a complete package when it comes to the beauty of this game. When it comes to the DS, you won’t find a more beautiful game. Period.

Ever since Symphony of the Night on the PlayStation, 2D Castlevania has taken an approach under Koji Igarashi that has become known as Metroid-vania. While every title afterwards has been a well founded addition, some have been wary about the lack of innovation and overall freshness. With Order of Ecclesia, Iga has found a flawless balance of classic Castlevanias and the Metroid-vania he has perfected over the years. The levels either contain straightforward action or labyrinth adventuring, and it’s all extremely compelling. If you’re tired of battling the baddies and saving the world, you could always help out the different villagers with a variety of side quests. There’s so much to do and see, to the point where you’ll lose track of time as you battle from dawn to dusk (I know I did).

Here’s another point I’d like to get to: this is one tough game. If the baddies don’t get you, the bosses definitely will. And sooner or later, you’ll actually get to the point where you pray that going into the next room will yeild a highly sought after save point. The good news is that beating the difficult bosses and baddies is more about exploiting their patterns and using a working glyph strategy. That’s right folks, it’s a lot more than constant level grinding (although you could do that as well…). Yet it’s so satisfying when you find yourself able to take advantage of your enemies to the point where you don’t have to fear them anymore. Its old school in substance, new school in style, and it’s a blast to play.

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is a wonderful game in every sense of the word. It’s one of those titles that come out and challenge how high you think a series can rise. With gorgeous graphics, a soundtrack worthy of the series, and classic gameplay made fresh once again, Order of Ecclesia is a shining example of what you can accomplish on the DS. Buy it, fall in love with it, and experience a series reborn. The dawn is here, and it has surely vanquished the darkness.

+ You won’t find a prettier title on the DS. Period.
+ It’s old school game play made fresh by new school style. Always satisfying.
+ A beautiful and haunting soundtrack. Make good use of those headphones.

- There could still be more offered when it comes to online.
- Might be too hard for those not willing to put up a fight.
- The game has to end. Pity.



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Sounds like shovelware.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club

Ooops, Konami did it again! =P

Nice review, I hope you're doing this for the good reasons.



Random game thought :
Why is Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 getting so much hate? We finally get a real game and they're not even satisfied... I'm starting to hate the gaming community so f****** much...

Watch my insane gameplay videos on my YouTube page!

@Rol

Well, I only have so much money, and there's only so many choices in the bargain bin. Still, you've got a point.

@SHMUP

Don't worry my friend, no shameless plugs here (unless you count my sig...)! Just wanted to get the word out on this game. Seems to me that there's still people who are on the fence about this one. Just wanted them to know that the grass is indeed much greener on this side.

Short story: Order of Ecclesia is an amazing game. Buy it folks!

EDIT: Seems that the title was hyperlinked... didn't even see it. Sorry bout that...



I didn't want to buy OoE at first, because I was so disappointed by PoR when I bought it. I beat it and didn't play it again until last week. I realized that PoR actually is overall a much better game than DoS and now my faith in Castlevania is restored and I'll buy OoE for sure. I guess I didn't give PoR a fair chance back then in early 2007, probably because I bought four other games at the same time.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club

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I have the 2 previous DS Castlevania, and I really did enjoyed them, so there's no reason I won't get this one too. But it will have to wait for after Christmas, as I currently already have a lot of others expenses.



@Rol

Yeah, Portrait of Ruin definitely deserves more credit than it gets. It was a great addition to the series and added some new elements such as the character swap function. Good fun indood. I'm kinda overwhelmed right now when it comes to Wii games. I still have yet to touch de Blob, and Wario Land needs to be beaten. I just don't have the time for it all.

@Seneque

I can understand that, seeing that my pockets are empty and my only hope for a new game is from the jolly ol' fat man.



Seems like there are lot of people that are tempted to get it, but aren't sure, or just waiting. With all the DS titles already out or coming out and the way the economy is I can't really blame.

Smeags, would you say this is better than the 2 previous DS Castlevania games? It certainly look better in the visual sense. Which is really saying something, because PoR looked beautiful to me. My main concern is the length. As far as difficulty goes, if it really is harder, I'm glad. It might be selfish of me, but I prefer a challenge.



I really like this game, its pretty good, beter tahn PoR and at the same level tahn DoS, but, something make me feel than DoS is a little better.

The music is fantastic, and i like the differents worlds in it, you know in DoS was only the castle, but here, you have the sea, forest, towns, differents enviroments are good in my opinion.

In my top 5 DS games without a doubt.



End of 2011 (made 02/01/11) 
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Ps 3: 60.726 m

Best Games/Serie of the Generation

@Monopoly

Long time no see! Anywho, I'd say that the initial length can run you about 12-15 hours. Pretty modest, but with items to collect, maps to explore, and levels to gain, the replay value is extremely high (I'm on my third playthrough ).

As for whether this is the best DS Castlevania so far, I'd say that I'm enjoying Ecclesia more so than either Dawn or Portrait. Dawn is definitely a pure Metroid-vania experience, while Ecclesia is more straightforward when it comes to exploration. Still, the villagers and different maps make Ecclesia much more varied, and therefore more compelling in my opinion.

As for difficulty, yes, this is the hardest Castlevania I've played in a while. The bosses and baddies rely on exploiting patterns and weaknesses more than ever. Some of the bosses can be very difficult. I even had to go to YouTube for tips after being defeated time and time again. It's that tough, but it's so satisfying.

@Shura

Glad you're enjoying it. The music is definitely one of it's top points. I think this title is going into my top 5 DS titles as well.