The Castlevania that should have been

4. Stay 2D, but add HD

Every 3D Castlevania ever released has caused fans to cry foul, and I understand why. Many, many franchises have gracefully made the jump from 2D to 3D, but Castlevania is not one of them. Konami has smartly let Castlevania rest comfortably in the flat plane on the DS and Game Boy Advance, and it has helped garner those versions strong sales and bitchin’ reviews. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, or as I’ve retitled it, Castlevania: God of War, has offered some impressive showcases of what a 3D Castlevania might be able to offer, but until we have our hands on it, let’s just assume that all 3D Castlevanias are lame.

Konami needs to embrace the 2D world that Castlevania belongs in, and it needs to embrace it to the fullest. No need for 2.5D. We don’t need 3D graphics on a 2D plane, let’s just stick to 2D, and let’s hand draw those sprites. Look at a game like Blazblue or Guilty Gear. Those developers draw and animate their sprites by hand and the result is absolutely gorgeous. Hell, even the backgrounds can stay 2D. You have Ayami Kojima on hand to create beautiful gothic images, but her talent is totally underused. Why stop at the box art? Use that art style in the game.

Above: Why can’t our character model look like that!? 

5. Bring back experience points immediately

Harmony of Despair eliminates the ability to level your character up. All of your statistics are based on your equipment, and the main incentive of replaying the same levels over and over is to hope that you can find better stuff. But you might play a whole level all the way through and collect nothing but doubles of the junk you already have.

Bring back the experience! One of the things that make Dracula’s castle so much fun to get lost in is that everything you do adds to your experience. Maybe you walked around in a circle for two hours looking for that one breakable wall, and it’s entirely likely that you never found it. You may not have found a path to progression, but you gained experience and hit points. And because of that, the whole wild goose chase was meaningful and worthwhile. You got a prize just for playing. Removing experience points from Castlevania, especially one that requires a large amount of grinding, was a mistake.

6. I’m playing by myself. Let me pause

Seriously, Konami? I can’t pause the game? It makes sense in multiplayer of course. If everyone had the option to pause, Dracula’s reign would never end. I must ask though - why is the option absent when I’m playing alone? The franchise has been a single player affair almost exclusively for the last 23 years. I don’t think it is much of a stretch to assume that some fans of the series, might consider their conflict with Dracula a personal, one on one sort of affair. But I still need to answer the phone, pay the pizza guy, grab a beer, pee, or whatever. So let me pause the damn game already.

Aug 4, 2010


  • CrisisHour - August 7, 2010 4:23 a.m.

    Number 5 is ridiculous and you know it. They had to compromise to make Castlevania a multiplayer experience. Not everyone is hardcore like us fans and will download/purchase the games as soon as possible. Some more casual (or new) players may pick up the game later on, maybe weeks after its release... ... and by then, all the effing diehard players will be level 99 and multiplayer will be a hellhole and a joke. Experience and multiplayer cannot exist together. Not in most cases.
  • Supermanoh - August 5, 2010 6:18 p.m.

    If they got it looking as good as BlazBlue does... oh dear god, please yes? 3DS wants your patronage
  • Thorton - August 5, 2010 3:59 p.m.

    Johnathan's sub-weapons get better the more you use them, Charolet's spells get better the more you bind of the same spell, those are the two that I had trouble understanding how to level up.
  • philipshaw - August 5, 2010 10:29 a.m.

    I have to agree with all of this, I'm not too happy on how this game turned out. I will keep the faith that the new 3D will be awesome
  • Mirako - August 5, 2010 6:33 a.m.

    Yeah, using equipment instead of exp just doesn't work. Especially with some of the characters whose weapons are hard to come by (I have only found 1 glyph in chapters 1+2) and it is annoying after beating the boss and finding that all your loot is worthless. By the way, how does Jonathan's whip get better? You can't level up and he can't change weapons, it still seems to be getting better but I don't know how. I doubt it's strength bonuses but...
  • Thorton - August 5, 2010 5:31 a.m.

    I completely disagree with several of your statements. First about having the party break up after matches I was just playing the game with a group of people a played for several hours in the same group and never once were we forced to split up after a round. Second the maps are plenty big rivally the size of any individual section of SOTN, which is good because with the multi-player component you don't want the maps to big otherwise people would get too distracted by exploration end up getting lost (which is still possible with all the twists and turns in some of the maps). Third I think the 30 min. time limit is just fine the group of peoplle I played with had no problem investigating every nook and crany of the levels before regrouping for the boss. Plus with multi-player you can't have too long as some people might not have the patience for some teammates needing to explore every inch of the map, with the timer set to 30 it keeps the group on track, with the map the perfect size for the time alotted. On the other two accounts of having better sprites and no exp. growth I completely agree, this game does lack in those sections.
  • Cyberninja - August 5, 2010 3:18 a.m.

    i also want a castlevaina on 3ds
  • DagDabreemie - August 5, 2010 2:35 a.m.

    I haven't played a CV game since Super Castlevania IV. IMO, all the Japanime ruined it.
  • CaptainSpatula - August 4, 2010 11:56 p.m.

    2d castlevania game with HD 2d sprites. On the 3DS. Make it happen Konami
  • stevengibson - August 4, 2010 11:22 p.m.

    noooo! i was hoping these would finally trump SotN but i guess not. and no exp points? nah ill pass
  • garnsr - August 4, 2010 10:14 p.m.

    Maybe if they do get around to a PS3 version they'll add pause, at least. I'm not sure I'd get it even if it did make it to PS3, I love Castlevania, but this doesn't seem to be quite what I want. And why the Hell do you get several heroes, and zero Belmonts? Maybe they'll throw Veronica in as a PS3 exclusive.
  • NeoKef - August 4, 2010 8:26 p.m.

    I just got done playing a full team co-op. Its great to come up with strategies and assignment when taking down the huge boss in chapter 3. But I will not touch that game's single player whatsoever. I can't imagine beating chapter 3. I do wish they come out with another one like this only with the improvements like you mentioned.
  • 2dboy - August 4, 2010 8:21 p.m.

    4. Stay 2D, but add HD The only thing I wish to happen. Playing a Castlevania game with Kojima art style.
  • thor0997 - August 4, 2010 8:07 p.m.

    I played the Live version of SotN and I Foukin loved it! They kinda need to accept that they dont need to get crazy with their ideas, just stick close to the formula.

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