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E3 impressions - Castlevania Judgment

by rawmeatcowboy
18 July 2008
GN 1.0 / 2.0

Konami placed Castlevania Judgment right next to their demo booth for Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia. I understand the reasoning behind putting the two titles side-by-side, but it only ended up hurting Judgment. With Order of Ecclesia really showing some steps towards a fresh take on the classic gameplay, Judgment just continues to feel unwelcome. After years of begging for Castlevania to hit the Wii…it happened, but not the way we want it. I went into playing Judgment with an open mind, and I came out of my experience the same way I went into it…disappointed.

I am not sure who was clamoring for Castlevania to head in the 3d fighter direction, but things are made even worse due to the roster. With all these characters from the entire timeline popping up in one place, the title feels even more strange than it should. These aren’t characters that should be alongside one-another. Hell, we don’t even know the bulk of the roster, but it’s sure to make things even more weird. I can only imagine the bitter tears I will taste if Simon ends up fighting Soma…or some other wacky combination like that.

The actual fighting is at least serviceable and responsive, but it’s also uninspired. I never really felt like I was doing anything all that interesting. Waggle here, waggle there, it all got the job done. All it took was a few presses of the Z trigger to block, and then waggle away to defeat your opponent. There was no need to pick up candelabras, or interact with any other bits in the environment. Duels between such iconic characters should lead to spectacular battles, not these wimpy back-and-forths that were taking place.

Hopefully a product of this early build, the game’s camera definitely needed work. If you just ran around in circles, the camera…for the most part, worked. Once you threw in a jump, the camera basically freaked up. It flies upwards with you, but loses the action while you are making your way to the ground. Also, just a tad strange, the camera is automatically stuck to your opponent while you play. That means you can take your character and run all over the arena, to a point where you are lost. You become a tiny blip in the background, while your enemy stands front-and-center. I don’t want to lose sight of the enemy, but I also want to see where the hell I am!

I’m sorry, but this just isn’t a game I want. If it didn’t have Castlevania characters in it, this would just be a sub-par fighter that would be largely overlooked. The fact that it does have classic characters in it makes it that much more painful. When people look at the entire Castlevania series, this is one of the titles that will be very low on the ladder. Igarashi has admitted time and time again that he just cannot make Castlevania work in 3d. I am not too sure how involved he is in this project, but it’s been enough to taint this game as well. Igarashi…we love your 2d games, please gives us more of what you are great at. We appreciate you trying…now just accept defeat!