Review - Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow (NDS)

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Volsfan91, Sep 19, 2006.

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Sep 19, 2006
  1. Volsfan91
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    Member Volsfan91 GBAtemp Regular

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    -NOW REVIEWING-
    Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow

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    -INTRODUCTION-
    Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is a game that truly pushes the limits of the DS's 2D rendering hardware. The game has also served as a precedent to other game makers, and has set the proverbial bar at the top for 2D games on ANY platform. Dawn of Sorrow is just another great addition in one of my favorite gaming series of all times.

    -GAMEPLAY-
    Anyone who has played the Castlevania series is probably familiar with the term “Metroidvania”, which is a name given to the series to refer the the style of the game. It combines the Metroid platforming style with the unique Castlevania elements.

    Make no mistake- anyone looking for a 2D, level up RPG game/platformer combo will not come away at all disappointed. The incredible level up system and massive array of weapons makes for a long lasting experience that will keep any talented gamer tied up for massive amounts of time. I'll let you see the huge map for yourself:

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    I could begin to try to explain the whole in-depth analysis of the story, but to understand, you would have to play through the whole series. (Although, I highly recommend doing this anyway) I'll give you the quick gist: this game takes place one year after the Gameboy Advance cult classic Aria of Sorrow, with Celia Fortner looking to take Soma down, with the successors Dario Bossi and Dmitrii Blinov lined up as possible replacements to the slain Dracula.

    Another thing that I love about this game is the soul system. As the player of this game takes out enemies, there is a chance that you will acquire their souls to use. As you go through the game, you'll find yourself beating enemies all the time, and collecting souls as you go. Some souls will be an automatic collect, such as bosses, while many other enemies may take hundreds of defeats to gain their soul. In all cases outside of bosses, probability will determine if you get to absorb these souls. Another use for the souls? Applying them to weapons through synthesis to upgrade your weapons. All in all, the soul system completes the gameplay, and creates the great gameplay that has made Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow my favorite DS game.

    Rating: 10/10

    -GRAPHICS-

    What can I say? It's an incredibly stylized 2D platformer. The emphasis of the game is definitely on the dark side, and, as such, the game uses mostly dark colors. However, there's justification for all of this- it's a dark game, and the graphics are stylized to fit the game. If there's anything to me that matters in the graphics department, it's that the style of the visuals fit, and this is the case in this game. Excellent use of colors in this game.

    The sprites in this game are unbelievably on target. I can't believe how many individualized sprites have been included in the game. All kinds of soul effects can be used on enemies, and you can tell that the developers of this game really cared about getting the sprites right on target. Everything in this game is right on target, especially the sprites.

    I'll say one more thing about the graphics, and then I'll move along to sound. The first time that I really grasped the greatness of this game was on one of the bosses. As I walked into the room, I noticed that it seemed awfully empty. As the whole room turned into a gorgeously gross boss enemy, I realized just how good this game is.

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    Rating: 10/10

    -SOUND-

    The sound is extremely good It is quite repetitive, with each area having its own specific music. Although the music is not all that varied, what music there is sounds absoultely spectacular. I remember the first time that I hooked up my DS through a line-in cable to my computer with its speaker system. The whole house boomed with the deep, earthy sounds that are so recurring in this game.

    The enemies make some nice cries when they die, and some other sound effects like boss cackles are highly enjoyable.

    Again, another section of the game that is right on target!

    Rating: 9/10

    -REPLAY VALUE-

    Replay value? A mixed bag. In the single player mode, there are multiple characters to play through, although this is somewhat gimmicky. I haven't finished it with the other characters, so I won't ruin the surprise for you or myself.

    Multiplayer is nearly non-existant. There is some sort of weird... level trading mode or something like that that I have never used or tried. I wish that there had been some sort of co-op mode in which two players could team up and hack through levels together. That would have been enjoyable.

    Rating: 8/10

    -WRAPPING UP-

    Games don't get much better than this. A great battle system, good single player replayability, and a visually inspiring game make Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow at least worth playing once through. Although not everyone may enjoy it as much as I do, I have found it to be the best game that I have played, and one that definitely keeps me coming back more than any other.

    Final Mathematical Score: 96/100

    Mathematical explanation:
    Each category is given a mathematical weight, so that each category matters more than others. Obviously, gameplay is more important than sound. Also, I plan on eventually revising the weights, but here goes the current scale:

    Gameplay: Weight of 4 (times score)
    Graphics: Weight of 2 (times score)
    Sound: Weight of 2 (times score)
    Replay Value: Weight of 2 (times score)

    So, the score for this game is like this:
    Gameplay: 4x(10)
    Graphics: 2x(10)
    Sound: 2x(9)
    Replay Value: 2x(8)

    Add them all up, and you get... 96/100

    This has been a Volsfan91 review of Share your thoughts, comments, or opinions through private message if you so choose!
     
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