Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow Review (DS)

If you’ve been gaming on a handheld at all in recent years, the most trusted and prevalent series you could find was Castlevania. Outside of the occasional Metroid, Castlevania contained the solid-est mix of 2D adventure and action available. Now that the series has moved to the DS, the song remains the same– Dawn of Sorrow is awesome.

While engaging, the story ain’t so much the gem here. The real jewel in this crown is the adventuring. It’s basically platforming with weapons and collecting, but it is oh so good. The music is your standard Castlevania gothic church organ music. It was good, but not compelling enough for me to grab some headphones. the graphics are very intricately detailed. I didn’t take notice to it at first, but once I did, I was amazed. I could sit on all the chairs lying around, the snow fell off the roof of cars when I jumped on them and my weight was properly distributed on them.

There is one major gripe that I had since I booted up this game. I’m not sure if this was originally a GBA game or not, but this is definitely a GBA port. In terms of DS capabilities, this game take advantage of almost none. That’s not my problem, though. My beef is with this thing’s lack of better graphics. Sure I complimented on it’s impressive 2D details above. But that’s only after you realize that this is, in essence, a GBA game. Only some 3D enemies and the few boss battles that are original to this game really make use of DS power. I would have appreciated the game more if they took full advantage of the hardware (like give the character sprites faces). However, I still enjoyed it very much.

The game is pretty short, taking me under 10 hours to finish it. My complaints notwithstanding, this is– as usual with almost every new release on DS these past few months– the best DS game yet, for sure. Dawn of sorrow gets a buy in my opinion. If I had to number it, it’d be a 9-ish, maybe 9.1 or something.

[Reviewed by Rollin]