HIDE your face (kyonomiko) wrote,
HIDE your face
kyonomiko

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Hector's a tool, Isaac wants him bad, and not-Shaft has a naughty secret

Now that I'm at nearly 70% map completion for the entire game, I think I've seen enough of the gameplay mechanics to be critical of it.

Even though there are probably less than three people who will read this and care :P
So with this warning, VIDEO GAME STUFF AHOY!

There are some things that really bother me about this game. Things that seem like they would be simple enough. It's really nice that you can choose the transparency on your health bar.. and it's also very nice that the bars hide themselves if you haven't been hit/healed recently. That's great. What I don't understand is why your ID bar (Innocent Devils. your little poke-pets for the game) doesn't also hide itself like that. It's always there... It doesn't seem like it would have been that hard for them to have it auto-hide if you haven't changed a setting in a min or two, and you could really see more of the screen without that d-pad configuration down there. Also.. why can't you change your devils from down there, too? You can only carry a limited number of them on you anyway, and it seems like you should be able to quickly change between them without having to access the start menu.
And that's another gripe..
Every castlevania game has problems with the start menu. In Symphony of the Night, the music stopped completely, and it lagged like hell every time you wanted to access your menu. Same on PS2 with Lament of Innocence, and same here with Curse of Darkness... it also takes a few seconds for the maps to load.. which is horrible, since there's never been an option to display your map in the top right corner, and you're always having to go back and check it to make sure you're going in the right direction. That's the wonderful thing about the DS Castlevania, Dawn of Sorrow. You don't notice that the map is just above your game screen until you have to wait a few seconds every time you want to load the map.
Also, like I mentioned before.. the camera AI makes me want to cry. IMO, the camera in Lament of Innocence was a LOT better. When you were playing LoI, it looked like you were watching a movie. For the most part, things panned in a way that made sense, and the camera hovered when you were fighting things. Curse of Darkness feels very claustrophobic. While the ceilings are high in the castles, and you get a feeling of how huge these areas are, it feels like you are watching all the action from a grand height of 3 feet off the ground. You get a screenful of floor when the camera auto-focuses on a targeted monster on a slope, and as you move around a monster you are fighting, it sweeps around with you. It's hard to gauge where you are sometimes, and I've found myself backing into a previous room by accident on more than one occassion. It wouldn't be that bad if it wasn't for that fact that you have to load the previous room to get into it.. and then get back into the room you were just in.. where the monsters have all respawned :/
Though, in the game's defense, you could have the same thing happen in any of the 2-D castlevanias also. An enemy could knock you into a different room, and you'd lose whatever loot might have dropped when you got knocked out. But the load times on 2-D cartrige platformers (like GBA, and DS)are damn near nonexistant. People who remember Symphony of the Night with fondness kind of gloss over the load times and those sorts of flaws :P

I also thing that the weapon upgrade scaling is flawed, as I haven't been able to craft a new polearm in forever, but I've been getting tons of new swords and axes. Fist weapons don't have high enough damage to justify taking the dps hit for speed, and the special weapons are so ineffective you really have to be hardcore to be able to level up a devil using one :O

I really dont' have any complaints about the devil system, though. The system is utilized in a way that helps give you more of a classic Castlevania experience by accessing areas right in front of you that you couldn't get into before... and there are enough different types to keep you busy grinding a long time if you want one of each. IMO, they could have done more with it, but the way it is now is ok. I mean.. I was thinking earlier.. if it were more like the SMT:N demon fusing system, you could make one fairy with all the skills you wanted. Or, at least, pay a certain ammount of gold/materials/devil shards/etc to get a second stage demon to level up a different path.. instead of having to start from square one all over again. Granted, if you go into an area with tons of low-level skeletons, it won't take TOO long.. but it's still a waste of time, IMO

Rhapsody had the same problem. They give you a lot to do in a game that only has a few hours of story to progress through. And because of the way Castlevania staggers the aquisition of new types of demons, you're going to be too tired of grinding to want to get all the forms on everything before you beat the game. I mean.. there's just not that much to play through.

Oh, and as far as music goes- I commented a little big about it before.. but now that I play through, some of the new tracks seem really uninspired, and it makes me sad. I don't mind remixes of old Castlevania songs at all. It's somthing you actually come to expect. IMO, there were some really stellar tracks on the LoI soundrack. Unfortunately, with LoI, you only got to listen to the cool ones for a short ammount of time, and got stuck with the more bland tracks for whole levels. I think the same thing happened here with Curse of Darkness. There are a few really good tracks.. and a lot of really great ideas that turn into bland tracks. Worst yet, while listening to some of these level tracks, I almost start humming tracks from Lament of Innocence, and these ones on CoD are *NOT* remixes. :/

anyway... there's a chair museum.
It's great. Everytime you find a weird chair in the game, you can sit in it, and it's added to the chair museum. It's this funky weird room in the zombie town.. with chairs.
There's a swing set, an electric chair... a park bench, one of those teacup rides from disney..
It's really bizzare. You can also use a cannon to shoot birds in the room. It's very weird. I want to find all the chairs now.

So anyway.. while I was looking on Gamefaqs for random info on the game, people started posting castlevania parody flashes, etc. The top two loop, and the music is kind of loud, but they're pretty funny. The bottom one is a video that's loud, but doesn't loop :O

http://castlemari.ytmnd.com/
http://whatiscastlevania.ytmnd.com/
http://www.ozero.ca/oz-castlevania.swf
Tags: castlevania, game reviews
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