Wow…Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia is damn good. Hell, I think it may end up being the best of the DS titles. That’s quite a compliment, considering just how high-quality the other entries have been. So what makes Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia better than the other Castlevania games? Well, I’m glad I asked!
First off, the Glyph system is fantastic. I love collecting weapons this way, and then equipping them to each arm. This gives you two main weapons at all times. It also makes combo-creating a ton of fun. You can pick two fast weapons, one fast and one slow, two slow, and so on. These combinations creation new special moves as well. All this mixing and matching involves a ton of strategy, too. A large, heavy weapon is slow to use, but it may be really powerful. Then again, you may be able to combo with two quick weapons, and dish out more damage than you could if using a slow and fast weapon. There are just so many glyphs to grab, so many combinations to use, and so many different ways to approach enemies.
Second, and I had no idea of this, the game actually has a fair share of levels that play just like classic Castlevania games. I really mean that in the truest sense of the genre. There are levels that scroll from left to right, and that’s it. You jump pits, fight enemies, and progress to the finish. I played a few levels like this during my demo, and was completely taken aback. You get castles and buildings to explore just like you do in all Castlevanias after Symphony of the Night, and now you get classic style gameplay, just like what was in Castlevania I, II, III, and so on.
Third, the game looks ridiculously good. How do they keep making 2d Castlevania games look better with each successive title? Order of Ecclesia has more frames of animation than the other DS games, and it’s very easy to tell. I spent a good 5 minutes just checking out different weapon animations with Shanoa. She has one weapon, a dagger, that she whips out from underneath her dress. The way she tosses out her arm is ridiculously cool…cool enough for me to waste all my magic using it. I also made it to the water level that we’ve seen in trailers. Let me tell you, the trailers don’t do it justice.
Finally, this game has a kick-ass soundtrack. I was tapping my foot the whole time while playing. It shouldn’t be any surprise that the music rocks, but Order of Ecclesia seems to have more up-tempo songs that better fit with the action. Now, all I need is some classic tunes remixed, and I’ll be in heaven.
Will this be the last Castlevania on the DS? I don’t know the answer to that, but I sure hope it isn’t. If it is, this may end up being the last 2d Castlevania game we ever see. Let’s treat it as such, and pick this baby up later this month. If you are a Castlevania fan, you will be far from disappointed.