Review: Castlevania Requiem: Symphony of the Night & Rondo of Blood (PlayStation 4)

Reviewed by Lavar Pittman, posted Oct 31, 2018, last updated Oct 31, 2018
Castlevania Requiem is a compilation of Konami's most influential games in the Castlevania series. Castlevania Rondo of Blood was originally released on Turbo Graphix 16 CD in 1993 for Japan only. There was alternative version was release for SNES in 1995 internationally which features completely different experience. For years, the game remained exclusive to the TG-16 system until it was later released on Nintendo Wii's virtual console for all players to experience and included a fully localized version in the PSP remake Dracula X Chronicles. Castlevania Symphony of the Night is the direct sequel to the game released for Playstation in 1997 and also Sega Saturn with extra content. Both games mark have made a huge impression for one being the pinnacle of a refined formula and the other marks departure in favor of a more popular one.
Oct 31, 2018
  • Release Date (NA): October 26, 2018
  • Release Date (EU): October 26, 2018
  • Publisher: Konami
  • Developer: Konami Digital Entertainment
  • Genres: Action Platformer
  • ESRB Rating: Teen
  • PEGI Rating: Sixteen years and older
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
The trending legacy games continues. Time to revisit the cursed castle and face Dracula once again, the bloodlines within the Belmonts dictates that they are destined to fight!
Lavar Pittman
Castlevania Requiem? (more like greatest hits collection)


Castlevania Requiem_ Symphony Of The Night _ Rondo Of Blood_20181030195108.

So you probably wondering what could this be. Well if you think this is a new game in the series, you are wrong. It's actually a collection of two historical titles in the series. Castlevania Rondo of blood and Castlevania Symphony of the night, one features what I can consider the pinnacle of their starting formula refined from years of experience. The other which is a departure of that formula in favor of a new one which was well received to critical acclaim for years as the new winning formula. Each game features unique gameplay elements that has been inspired by various other developers for years to come.

Castlevania Requiem_ Symphony Of The Night _ Rondo Of Blood_20181030194918.

Since this is a compilation, I'll try to keep both individual game's description short. Perhaps if the mood strikes, a full review will come from it. Compilations should be reserved for answering questions like
  • Should I buy this game if I never tried it before?
  • If I own the game originally, is there incentive to buy again?
  • Are there any differences between then and now?
If I can answer these questions to the general average gamer as well as hardcore, then I consider my job complete. I'm not used to reviewing game compilations or games that features multiple content if you couldn't tell from previous attempts from something like the "Puyo Puyo Tetris" review I did last time with the abundance of game modes, and I try to give a general examination of the Mega Man X Legacy Collection rather than highlight each game in detail. But this time is only two games, so this should be easier. If you just want to know more about the Requiem deal, skip the next two parts until you reach that part of the review

Castlevania Rondo of Blood

Warning: Spoilers inside!

Castlevania Symphony of the Night

Warning: Spoilers inside!
So about the "Requiem" thing?


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Now that I gave some idea of each game, the questions left to answer is for people who already own the original, should you play again. Well to be honest if you like the games then sure why not. But it would be easier to decide if I tell what this Requiem thing is about. The two games included here was already featured before. In 2007 Castlevania Dracula X Chronicles was released for PSP. The game is considered a remake of Rondo of blood featuring 3D graphics and more emphasis on story telling as well as a English voice cast. This was the first time in over a decade international players got to play the original instead of the SNES replacement, or import from Wii's "Virtual Console" service which came later. Some other changes was made including reblanced gameplay and altered stages and bosses. Minor enough to not change the base idea of the game. Included in this was two unlockable games which was the original Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night which are exactly the two games feature in the Requiem compilation. Just like the PSP game, you have option for border frames (cause there is no option for full screen) graphic filters emulating screen flicker and scanlines and both English or Japanese voice overs.

The games included in the P P Scompilation had quirks that wasn't bad but just wasn't accepted by fans. The English voice overs in Rondo of Blood have poor synchronization issues as well as the subtitles when playing in Japanese. Symphony of the night had the script rewritten to resemble the Japanese context closer and redubbed by another set of voice actors which again, off putting by fans of the original. Get used to hearing Sasuke Uchiha's voice for Alucard. (That's who does his voice) These are just minor things. Another change and my opinion that matters to me most is Maria is playable in Symphony of the Night. By clearing the game once as Alucard, the game enters a replay mode where you can play again as Alucard with some differences or insert a new file name as Richter or Maria to play as them.

Richter was always playable in the original Playstation game and nothing has changed about him. But Maria was only playable in the Sega Saturn exclusively released in Japan. Here they play similar to how they worked in Rondo of Blood with some new special attacks needed to exploring the castle that they both lacked in the previous game. Remember how I called Maria glass cannon? Well both of them are just glass in this game. They don't get any other items or stat boost like Alucard, they have what they got from start to end which is pretty pitiful and only adds more challenge. So expect poor damage to bosses and take tons of damage from anything you touch. The only thing a fan will point out to someone not familiar with this inclusion is that "Maria is much better in the Saturn game than here" which is true. It doesn't take long to notice the difference if you look at images or videos of the Saturn gameplay. Also in the Saturn game are some new areas to explore and enemies for them too which goes unused. Oh yeah, the controller vibrates and makes noise now. Every kind of item you pick up comes out the controller's speaker. Honestly I forget the Dualshock has that until this game, it scared me when I was hearing echos from the game. (Remember to mute your controller if you don't care for it)

Conclusions, opinions, Final thoughts?

So I guess that's all there is to this. Many people who already played these games (myself included) may not care to spend $20 on this compilation. I can still say if you like platforming games and want something new to play, these over 20 year old games are still in good quality. Yeah it is absolutely a lazy attempt, maybe raise some questions like "If it's just the PSP game on PS4, why is it missing the 3D remaster?" Questions like that may never get answered and stuff like this further adds to a already poor reputation of Konami's attitude to the console market. I can see they are trying but they can try a bit harder? For example making the game available on more platforms for more people to buy, adding the extra Saturn content or new games and content? You know, make more of a effort to increase the appeal of the game they are expecting people to buy once again. Yes I like both of the games and I did buy it to play on my Playstation 4. Honestly I did cause of the added trophy system. I supposed if you want to do that sort of thing you would enjoy it. But there isn't anything else to gain, no gallery or unlockable content.

But I strongly advise waiting for discount or just by the PSP game with the included 3D remake (Which cost $5 less on Playstation network) and playable on Playstation Vita. I'm pointing out the price so you can see what I mean about poor choices. A game already being sold for less with more effort put into it is being resold with a higher price and nothing has changed besides having it on a console. As a matter of fact, aren't there other PSP game ports to PS4 like Final Fantasy Type O HD and Parappa The Rapper Remaster? To be clear, there isn't anything wrong with copying and pasting games to another system (Simply known as port) but there is also a difference between effort put into making it worth buying and not seen as lazy by the decisions that was made and also the price at which you sell such things at. Oh wait, Castlevania on Netflix, that's right! Season two released the same day. That's what this was about!? Maybe I should have used the $20 and go spend it on Netflix to watch that instead. It is the latest new thing featuring Castlevania in years. Go spend your money on that if you want new Castlevania content.

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Verdict
Pros
+ Rondo of Blood is now more accessible!
+ Two great classics for the price of one now in HD.
+ Trophy support (For people who like that sort of thing)
Cons
- Lazy, Lazy, Lazy, Lazy
- Pricey, Pricey, Pricey, Pricey
7 Presentation
Is not much to say about it. Just that it does have graphic options in form of border backgrounds and classic screen emulation like Scanlines and screen flicker. There is no full screen stretched option which makes me wonder why but I guess I'm the only one who cares about it. The game is in HD which is all I can say about this.
10 Gameplay
Both games play just as well as I remember them. So it's easy to score without a doubt. No I don't do test for input lag, I adapt to what the game presents and determine if it's playable based on my skill or knowledge from the experience. If you are new to the series, this is a good starting point with easily the most beatable games of it's time.
10 Lasting Appeal
The key feature that widely appeals to me is REPLAY ABILITY. Both game is structured so that if you decide to play the game again, it's worth doing so each time. Rondo of blood contain alternative paths through a stage, and bosses. Symphony of the night has many ways to play as well as other characters to play with. You can play this for long time without ever feeling bored or warn out.
8
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
As a whole, it just seem lazy to me, adding content from the Saturn version of Symphony of the night which is probably the definitive version would be nice but it just seem like a lazy addition and even expensive for all the wrong reasons. Opinions aside, the review is made to see if it's recommended to play based on what the game offers for your hard earn money and not complain about their business practice.


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