Konami Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
Take gorgeous graphics, intense action and interesting gameplay concepts, marry it to the legendary Castlevania franchise and release it on the DS.
- It's a fun and complex addition to the Castlevania franchise. But before you buy it, know that...
- ...it's ridiculously hard, has confusing puzzles and some design faults.
It's fun but it's ridiculously challenging, features some poorly designed puzzles and definitely doesn't do enough to lead you in the right direction. It's worth playing but prepare to be frustrated.
Price$ 79.95 (AUD)
Take gorgeous graphics, intense action and interesting gameplay concepts, marry it to the legendary Castlevania franchise and release it on the DS. Normally, that's the recipe for an instant classic, as was the case with games like Portrait of Ruin. Order of Ecclesia follows that formula closely and while the results are solid, the title suffers from some unfortunate design quirks that keep it from reaching the high bar set by its predecessors.
Order of Ecclesia pretty much follows the standard Castlevania formula to a tee: you traverse intricately designed levels consisting of linked rooms, battle a gruesome menagerie of enemies, uncover hidden treasures and secrets, gain progressively powerful abilities and take on cleverly designed bosses as you prepare yourself for an ultimate confrontation with the big daddy of the undead, Dracula. Ecclesia does feature a new Glyph system-magical symbols you suck in through a tattoo on your back in order to gain new attacks and abilities-as well as RPG-like mini-quests that adds some variety to the main quest which is pretty engaging. All in all, Ecclesia is a lot of fun and I enjoyed it almost as much as I enjoyed the previous Castlevania titles.
Notice I said 'almost'. That's because Ecclesia has some aggravating quirks that cut into the fun. Take, for instance, the fact that it treats every attack as a magic spell, even those using physical weapons (this is where the Glyph system comes into play); this means you expend mana points every time you attack something. The mana regenerates quickly enough but this unnecessarily caps your offensive capabilities and often leaves you vulnerable in sticky situations; this is made doubly tough considering the game's high level of difficulty.
The boss fights will also frustrate you as you'll usually defeat them only after learning their patterns-something you can't do without first facing them multiple times- and there are confusing environmental puzzles that have no clear solution; I am currently hopelessly stuck in the game and have no idea how to proceed. At this point, I've resorted to sending an email to Konami to beg them for help. You'll have it easier, as online FAQs and strategy guides will be available when you play, but just know that you will probably run into problems with the game yourself.
If Order of Ecclesia didn't suffer from these poor design choices, the game would have easily been given an Editor's Choice award; as it stands now, it's a good game that deserves to be played but it isn't as amazing as the Castlevania titles that came before it. I still recommend you get it because it's pretty awesome but it definitely will leave you frustrated at times.
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