I'm more excited about the preorder bonus than the actual game XD HURRR HURRR
Pre order bonus:
Packaging:Somewhat snazzy black box/envelop. The cool part is the faux red wax seal with the Portrait of Ruin winged cross logo on it. The seal is made out of plastic, and the envelope closes with velcro. Yay!
Castlevania game timeline: Shows what order all the games fall in, and the general plot of most. ZOMGZ been waiting for somthing like this for a while. The ones on teh intarwebz are filled with fanboys arguing whether or not IGA said such and such game was cannon to the timeline of the overall plot.
Soundtrack CD: This is like a "Best of Castlevania" disk. I haven't listened to it, but the track list is printed in silver on the inside of the envelope, and it looks freaking awesome. There's 1-3 tracks from every game in there, and it includes some of the best tracks from each game!
Castlevania DS Stylus: Just another DS stylus. It looks like a generic mass-manufactured white stylus with a clear tube. I imagine Gamestop's got a ton of these that they can get logos printed on. It has the castlevania logo in black on the clear tube. This stylus blows because it doesn't slip into the DS. There's no point in carrying it around or using it, but it looks cool
Castlevania logo'ed DS game case: This is actually pretty awesome. It's a small plastic case that reminds me a lot of those cases you use to recharge your rechargable batteries in. I mean, it kind of looks like one of those, but a lot smaller. It has room to hold 2 DS games. I think this is awesome, because it's small enough to fit in the GBA case I keep my DS in, and if I put two games in that thing and one in the DS, I can safely& easily carry 3 DS games around. I used to only carry what was in the machine, because Id idnt' like carrying the DS game cases around, and I haven't found any sort of generic game holder/wallet/thinger for these things yet.. so carrying around multiple games in their original cases is a little impractical/inefficient. So this thing is cool! XD And I'm a dork for thinking it looks neat with both my castlevania games sitting in there. I know >..> I accept and embrace this.
Castlevania art book: Holy grail of the preorder bonuses!! This has art from all of the Castlevania games, period. For NES/SNES/N64 games with older art, they include box art. For anything Ayami Kojima's illustrated for, box art is not included, but there are sometimes multiple peices in the booklet. This thing is awesome, and somthing I've been waiting for.. for well... a long ass time. I'm a little sad that while they have SOME of the character art from Symphony of the night, they don't have all the character portraits for all of the games. The book is also a small manual-sized softcover/stapled thing. I would LOVE to have a full 8x11 or larger hardcover book with higher quality prints..
But this is still amazing, since there hasn't really been any sort of published compendium of Kojima's castlevania illustrations anywhere that I've been able to find. (Unless somthing has been released recently..)
But hell yeah. Preorder goods=yay
So far.. the game itself is really good, too. I haven't seen any spots so far where I've had to stop what I'm doing and dick around with the stylus/touch screen. While the touch screen is fun, I don't think it works really well with a sidescrolling platformer. You normally keep all your fingers on tons of buttons with these types of games, and there arn't really any extra fingers to play with the touch screen. And my one big complaint about Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is that sometimes it seemed like the game was way too touchy (lawls pun intended) about the sigils you were supposed to draw on the touch screen. They really wern't forgiving enough for making people use a somewhat new gimmick in a short ammount of time in the middle of a boss fight without messing up XP
So far, I haven't seen anything integral to the game that I've had to use the touch screen for. There are a few advanced techniques in using your partner that you can utilize witht he touch screen, but it's not somthing you need to master to finish the game. (so far as I've seen)
There are a TON of online/ co-op play options in this game. You can set up a store to sell things to other people kind of like animal crossing.. boss rush mode is available from game start in the menu.. there are secret bosses you will want to team up to beat, etcetc.
You also have the option of connecting the normal way to another player closeby, or using the WiFI capabilities to find someone else to play with. I haven't messed with this at all, since I just started, but it seems really neat.
KT, get this game and play it, so I will have someone to help me with the bitchy optional bosses XD lololol
Some of the controls are kind of clumsy and non-intuitive. This is a little gripe of mine. If your main buttons are attack/jump.. neither of those should be your cancel action button. If you go into a menu, ususally, one of your main two buttons will be used to confirm things in the menu, and one of the lesser used buttons (almost always "A" WTF) is used to cancel. This is completely backwards in this game. >:( So you enter the menu... confirm things with your lesser used button, and cancel out of things using your regular jump button. MAKES NO SENSE. You can change what the buttons do in the config screen, but you CANNOT change your confirm/cancel buttons.. which really kind of bothers me. I LIKE my jump on B, my attack on Y, etc. I just want my confirm to be B, and my cancel to be A. This is my biggest bitch about the gameplay.
They seem to have done a really good job with the AI on your partner, and controlling your partner is really easy. It's not innovative in any means, but it adds a new dimension to the Castlevania series, and it's handled well. Yay! The AI player will automatically attack. There's a button to make them instantly use thier magic/subweapon, and a button combo to make them do a combo attack with you. There's a button to make them instantly go away if there's an attack you need to dodge, etc. Seems to be handled really well, and it's not a strain to handle two people. There's a lot of teamwork/platform triggering that you need to do using both characters. You can tell one to stand in place while you trigger a switch, and instantly switch back to the other person to get someplace new. The character left behind automatically teleports to the player character after you get a certain distance away, so it's easy to work with.
The boss fights are kind of more difficult than I was expecting.. but the surrounding levels are retardedly easy. WTF. Lack of communication, people. I wiped on the first boss like 5 times because I was fighting wimpy skeletons, and got waxed in 3 hits by the boss while I was learning his pattern. Also.. lots more save/warp points and TONS more random armor laying on the ground for you to pick up. This makes me kind of sad. :/ But whatever XD Totally doesn't negatively effect the game at all. Just makes it seem less cool when you DO find armor/weapons laying around. It was hot shit in Symphony of the Night when you saw dracula's amor sitting there. It was a badass chest peice, and you knew it was cool, because it was sitting on the floor in some room somewhere. And it made things like the crappy tux you found more ironically funny, too.. for the same reasons. Good armor was just sitting around, and you didn't find it often, so when you saw it on the screen, it would make you eager to find out what it did and equip it. Not so in this game, which is a shame.
Anyway.. super happy about any castlevania release. Even if the characters in this one are retarded, the clothing is non-period, and the character designs look like somthing I drew in highschool >..>
Hooray beer! I mean.. Castlevania!