Probably the best of these bonus features are the Accessories – little customisation parts that you can add to alter the appearance of the 1P and 2P character skins. Feel free to plop a top hat and eye patch on Dracula, or send Alucard into battle with a pretty fairy sitting on his shoulder and a butterfly in his hair. The idea is clearly to use the Accessories in the game’s online play to help you personalise your favourite character. This would be quite brilliant if Castlevania Judgment’s online mode was in any way worth playing.
The basic concept of Judgment’s online play is also one of its few good ideas. In addition to the usual options to fight randoms or friends in ranked or unranked matches, there’s a Rivals option. In theory, this enables you to add people who gave you particularly strong matches online and then seek out more bouts with them later to help sharpen up your skills. This would be truly marvellous in a game where online play worked at all.
To say Judgment’s online play is painfully laggy would be an understatement on par with saying that the Titanic was a bit sinky. Typically, gameplay proceeds in five- to ten-second bursts, followed by five to ten seconds of the screen freezing up. Blocking and dodging correctly just isn’t possible, which makes ranked play meaningless. You can rapidly gain points simply by spamming moves that you know your opponent won’t be able to dodge or block due to the lag issues.
The only limited praise we can offer Castlevania Judgment is for its soundtrack, and for having thought up a few new concepts that really should have been in other fighters already. Of course, the soundtrack is mostly remixes of songs from other games and all of the good ideas are betrayed by the game’s basic shoddiness. Castlevania Judgment is not in any way fun to play – at best it’s just inoffensive. That’s a miserably low standard of quality, and there’s no excuse for a game created by a publisher of Konami’s stature to be aiming so low.
Dec 10, 2008