Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow
What a Horrible Night to Love a Game
The Castlevania series has been around since the days of the NES and the games have been beloved by many people since then. I am not one of those people. I had played games on the Metroid side of the metroidvania game genre, but it wasn’t until recently that I picked up Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow on the Nintendo DS. Developed by Konami, and both produced and written by Koji Igarashi, Dawn of Sorrow is the sequel to the Gameboy Advance game, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow… which I didn’t know when I bought it, but that didn’t stop me from being completely blown away by this amazing game. The culmination of an interesting story, incredibly fun gameplay, and greatly alluring aesthetics had me enjoying myself from beginning to end. All of these together made me want to press on through as much of this game and its plot as much as I could./
As stated before, I hadn’t played Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow before playing Dawn of Sorrow, but the game does a good job of catching one up to speed on what they need to know. There will be some spoilers for Aria of Sorrow here, so I suggest going to the next paragraph if you’d prefer to avoid them. Set in the year 2036, one year after Aria of Sorrow, you play as Soma Cruz, the reincarnation of the dark lord, Dracula. While hanging out with the love interest, Mina (both of them insist that they’re just friends), Soma is suddenly attacked by a woman named Celia. Celia retreats after you receive aid from Genya Arikado, a government agent who also holds another significant identity in the Castlevania universe. Arikado explains to Soma that Celia is the leader of a religious movement that believes that in order for there to be a God, the perfect embodiment of light, there must be a dark lord, the perfect embodiment of darkness, so they are trying to resurrect the dark lord. With the help of his friend, Hammer, the shop keeper, Soma infiltrates Celia’s castle. Along the way, Soma also runs into his friends, Julius Belmont, descendant of the Belmont clan that fought Dracula for hundreds of years, and Yoko Belnades, partner to Julius. The plot is just an excuse to keep the game going, but it’s still pretty interesting and I’ve always loved a villain that is driven by some sort of religious belief. There are a few surprising twists and even multiple endings. While I did enjoy the game’s story, the way the game plays is really where it shines bright./
The moment I started playing Dawn of Sorrow I fell in love with it. I loved exploring the castle with tight platforming, interesting and varied enemies, and snappy but satisfying combat. You will see as you play the game that there are areas that you won’t be able to access right away. You’ll have to come back later with new abilities in order to explore the enemy’s stronghold to the fullest. Speaking of abilities, there are so many abilities available to you to customize Soma with. Soma has what is called the Power of Dominance, which lets him sometimes absorb the soul of an enemy he has defeated, and almost every enemy has a soul he can absorb. These souls are abilities you earn from that specific enemy type that can then be equipped to Soma in order to give him new powers. These include throwing axes like in classic Castlevania games, turning into a bat to fly around the area, summoning a creature to assist you in battle, or a simple stat increase. Dawn of Sorrow is an RPG and the soul drops are random, so you may need to grind if you’re looking for a specific soul, but combat is fun enough that it is not too much of an inconvenience. Being an RPG, you can also improve Soma with by leveling up or by equipping him with different armor or weapons. There are many different weapon types that each feel different from each other and every weapon can be upgraded to become more powerful. Perhaps you will like the power given to you by the broadsword or maybe the range of a handgun. This, combined with the large amount of souls, provides you with an amount of options even larger than the castle that is such a joy to explore. Speaking of which, the world around you excels almost as much as the gameplay./
The ambiance of Dawn of Sorrow is truly impressive. It is, as said before, a Metroidvania style game. With such a sense of exploration to the game, each area should be able to feel unique but still very much connected. The game’s Gothic environment does this quite well while inside the castle. You’ll find yourself going from a small village, to an elegant dance hall, to a mysterious lab, to a spike filled torture chamber while fighting your way through hoards of nefarious demons. Speaking of which, I love the character designs in this game. I’ve heard some people complain about the character portraits not being as stylized as the previous games, which doesn’t bother me since I didn’t play the previous game. The greatest designs go to the enemies, however. The enemy design mostly takes inspiration from classic horror figures and iconic creatures of lore. You’ll be coming up against Frankenstein’s monster, unsuspecting witches, howling werewolves, and giant suits of armor trying to hurl axes at you. Of course, there are some more creative enemies too, like one of the bosses being a giant, rotting, zombie dinosaur. While you run into the occasional goofy enemy, like a blue haired maid named Persephone, the enemies give the game a disturbing, horrific tint about it, which makes fighting them all the more fun. Not only do the enemies look good, but the soundtrack is exciting too. I enjoyed listening to every track in the game, including one or two Castlevania classics, like Bloody Tears. The art design and music were great to experience from beginning to end./
I couldn’t have been happier picking up Castlevania Dawn of Sorrow. The game had me sold from start to finish with its interesting story, masterful gameplay, and excellent aesthetic. If Koji Igarashi’s other games are half as good as Dawn of Sorrow, I can’t wait to play more of them and enjoy exploring any castle presented to me./
This is my favorite Castlevania. Ever.
Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, is my favorite Castlevania game, and it's also my favorite DS game (right behind Henry Hatsworth). I have a lot to say about this game, so I'll break it up piece by piece. GRAPHICS: This game boasts absolutely excellent graphics. It's great to see games that still use sprites for all of the characters. There's a lot more weapon variety here than previous games (Symphony of the Night had VERY few different weapons). There are several different types of weapons; each type has the same attack pattern but with different statistics and animations. The animations for everything are smooth and fluid, and I haven't encountered slowdown even though I've played the game through many times. Some people dislike that the characters look like anime characters in cutscenes, but even these are drawn well, so it's just a matter of preference. SOUND: Castlevania games are known for great music, and this is no exception. Every track in the game blends brilliantly with the area that you're in, creating a mesmerizing experience. The tracks are either subtle and haunting, or loud and intense. There isn't a bad sound in the game. Hefty swords slice through the air and Soma (the main character) grunts when using heavy weapons; brilliant stuff. GAMEPLAY: The game plays like a Metroid game. You start at the entrance of one big castle (as opposed to many smaller levels). You can walk around in any direction but many places are restricted of access until you get the right items and abilities. It's 2D so you can only walk left and right, but that's why this is fun. It wouldn't be as good in 3D. Since your character IS Dracula (no spoiler here; the players are supposed to know this already. The game is a sequel to a GBA game but you don't need to play that to get what's happening) you have the cool ability to obtain the "souls" of defeated foes. This means that when you kill an enemy, there is a chance that you will get the ability to perform the same action it does or summon it to help you (i.e. skeleton soul lets you throw bones. Bat soul lets you summon a bat to help you). Since this is a DS game, there is a touch screen element. When you defeat a boss, you must draw a "magic seal" which you have to find before fighting the boss. If you fail to draw the magic seal fast enough, the boss will come back to life and you must fight it again. It's not a game breaker, and it's actually a pretty neat little addition. STORY: The story is a little on the dark side (this is Castlevania, though) revolving around a cult trying to resurrect Dracula. Since your character is Dracula (well, it's more like Dracula is contained within him) the cult members are trying to "shatter your soul" so that they will become Dracula's reincarnate. There are a few plot twists later on, but it's nothing too deep. I definitely enjoy the 3 different endings, although you may need to use a guide to figure out how to get them. LASTING APPEAL: This game has great lasting appeal. There are 3 different endings, encouraging multiple playthroughs. You can also unlock Boss Rush mode, which allows you to play (most of) the boss fights in the order you fought them. Strangely, 2 (I think it was 2......) of the bosses were removed from this, but I still play Boss Rush even several years after beating the game. You can also unlock a mode allowing you to play as 3 other vampire hunters, which you can switch between at will (obviously inspired by Castlevania III and obviously inspiring Portrait of Ruin). On top of that, there is also a mode which lets you take a series of hallways and place enemies in them, and then save the level to replay later. This mode has several shortcomings, but it's still a fun distraction that I still tamper with from time to time. There is also a harder difficulty, for the masochists out there (I've never played it but it's probably not THAT hard......). The player can also unlock a Sound mode, so you can listen to the already mentioned (and praised) music and SFX. This game has replay value that is, in a word, EPIC. PARENTAL NOTES: The game lists blood and gore and violence as content descriptors. Many enemies emit a small amount of blood at death, and some have a slightly larger amount. It's never excessive though, and it's not as bad since it's a 2D game. There are 2 "D-words" in the very beginning of the game, and nothing else. Parents should also be aware that the game features many demonic enemies and there is one mention of God. Parents should also be aware that about 4 of the enemies are female and appear to be topless but no detail of any sort can be seen, thus keeping it from being listed on the cover. CLOSING COMMENTS: Buy this game. Buy it now, and unless you have no taste, you will love it. I guarantee it. This is the best example of how to make a great action game.
I've played this game so many time. completing all three profile %100 and selling it and buying it again.why? you may ask cause its the best castlevania game for DS so basicly you can kill zombies with your fist on the go. even if its your first castlevania game it is amazing so give it a shot and the sound track is so amazing but that can be said about and castlevania game ever. the graphics for the system its on are amazing.
In my opinion this is the best ds game out there. its fun, challenging and most of all its long but not to long so it will make you satisfied when you beat the game, but really the only problem i have with the game is the weapon animations, every time you press the attack button the animation is going to be the same ( EX: soma stabs the air the same exact way that he did before) but there are special moves with your weapon that require magic that either show soma swinging 3 times or one big burst of power into one swing. the spells are so much fun and by the end of the game, if you defeat a panther you get his ability to run really fast to it makes the game so much more fast paced. oh and i forgot to talk about the monster soul capture thing haha. when you defeat a monster there is a certain % of chance( depending on the monsters level) of you capturing its soul and using its power, like i said before i defeated a panther, took its soul and now i can run faster. now i prefer the soma series the best out of all the castlevania series only because there is more variety in your weapon, say bye bye to the boring whip and say hello to: swords, daggers, axes, spears(which are my favorite) guns, and even a bazooka. the leveling up system is what you think it is, its not mindless grinding, when your going to place to place on the map im sure your going to be killing monster on your way and you don't even think about it, now i don't know about the replay value because its different for everyone else, but for me i have to get all the weapons, souls and get to the highest level. but thats just me, also when you beat the game you have the option of playing as other characters( i wont say who but these are vampire hunters and in this story mode(if you choose the other players) you assume that soma took on the role of being dragula and you have to hunt down and kill him, so its almost 2 games in one. also you unlock a boss rush mode witch is surprisingly addicting. you earn weapons and such by completing the boss rush mode under a certain amount of time, but there is a glitch where you can skip each boss fight (look it up on a cheat website)so i seriously think that this game deserves a 10/10 its fun, challenging and the gameplay is smooth and easy to master, i 100% recommend that you get this game.
This game is the best. The sound is beauitful, the graphics are colerfull, and the gameplay is fast paced, hard, and exciting. You will replay this game multiple times and you should buy this game.
one of the best
this might be a ds game but its still a good game over all / even better then most console games. the story line is not the best hollow and not that deep but you dont really notice it. its fun gameplay and great replay value and the unlockable moods in it add to the time it takes you to get through it
Another solid Metriod-vania title.
My first Metriod-style Castlevania was Circle of the Moon, which by itself was a decent title on the GBA. A few years later, they released this game for the Nintendo DS. I figured, "what could they possibly do to integrate this time-tested formula with the special DS hardware?" (i.e.: touch screen) Appearently, not quite a whole lot, but at least they tried. Mainly, it plays like any other Metriod-vania: go around the castle in a non-linear(-ish) fashion and fight a string of increasingly difficult bosses to reach the main bad guy. Meanwhile, you collect power-ups to gain access to different parts of the castle and find all kinds of secret areas. Anywho, this game uses the touch screen in the most gimmicky fashion. You use it to draw seals before entering a boss door and use it to defeat the boss, or else it'll fully revitalize itself. Also, a few powers your character obtains from fallen enemies' souls require the use of the touch screen, but chances are you won't use them in favor of more useful powers. Both screens are constantly utilized: the bottom one for the gameplay screen, and the top one for either looking at your stats (for those with OCD in RPGs) or looking at a map (for those that get lost easily or need to find the nearest warp/save point, which is very useful, by the way.) Other than that, you play the game like a GBA Castlevania title, at least in the spirit of things. The game itself is absolutely fun, but can be frustating with some boss battles, especially the last one. While the Castlevania series' soundtracks are generally good to listen to, this game doesn't have the best example of Castlevania music, but is still okay to listen to. The graphics are astounding, although they do recycle sprites from previous Castlevania games, but that can't be helped. There are multiple endings as well, so you'll be sure to have yourself hunt down ways to get the best ending. If you ever had to purchase a pre-owned Castlevania game, you can't go wrong with this one.
Good but very repetitive it's fun though not the best I would recommended this but be warned,only get this if you like Castlevania!