ew DS release, “Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia,” fell into my loving arms this past Wednesday while I was trying to think of ways to save money. It had occurred to me that Dracula is wealthy enough to rebuild his entire castle with a different layout every few years or so and that he might be a good individual to gather advice from. Though he doesn’t seem to be the person to ask for design choices. I know a sewer is technically a bathroom, but I need a toilet.
If you’ve played a DS Castlevania before then you already know what to expect with “Order of Ecclesia.” This is a Metroidvania, as we call it in the biz, but I’d like to share some distinct differences for this particular edition. Like “Portrait of Ruin,” this Castlevania likes to get you out of Dracula’s castle a bit and into some zany new environments. However, the presentation here is far superior to PoR’s “jump into a painting and pretend you’re not in the castle anymore” approach. I’ve been traveling all over the land and, thanks to a handy overworld style map, I can jump back to any previous area to further explore.
I’m only about an hour in, but OoE is looking to be a more old fashioned Castlevania approach. And no, I don’t mean something like Symphony of the Night. This is more akin to Simon’s Quest. There’s even a village in the game, and you can save various villagers (and cats) throughout your adventure so that they can go back and run shops. Just because they were harassed by evil infesting the world doesn’t mean they should take the day off.
Color me impressed (for now). A great new protagonist, new world design, and glyph system make for an enticing October of gaming. Plus they’ve distanced themselves from the Saturday morning cartoon anime look of both “Dawn of Sorrow” and “Portrait of Ruin.” I still don’t understand the story, but that’s okay. I just want to kill vampires.