[Review] Castlevania: Lament of Innocence

Castlevania Lament of Innocence is a 3d Symphony of the Night on PS2. It has a terrible story with mediocre voice acting and clunky combat, but I love it anyways.

Why your asking? I guess because I love Castlevania and fantasy action games. I love the combo system in combat, all the unlockables and different items. I like the “no right or wrong way to play” combat system and the game’s simple overall concept. Your rewarded for exploration and above all that I had fun playing it.

The story is this: Our hero Leon’s bride to be was kidnapped by Dracula and now he has come to Dracula’s castle to challenge him and get her back. While running through the forest he was stopped by a mysterious man named Rinaldo Gandalf, I mean Gandalfi, who for no real reason helps Leon by filling him in on the situation, giving him a whip and selling him items. He also repeatedly tells Leon that it’s a game! I don’t know, I think they could have come up with ANYTHING better than Dracula likes stealing women so that their lovers can come and fight through his castle to get them back because he thinks its a fun hobby… Just don’t expect it to blow you away with a deep and rewarding story. I shouldn’t be too hard on the story, after all it’s the basics of what a video game story needs. It’s simple motivation, rescue your love interest. Isn’t that similar to the story for Mario Bros? I think I’m comparing apples to oranges here…

The game is very similar to Symphony of the Night but in 3D, and without the experience and leveling system. In Lament of Innocence Leon only uses a whip, but has different unlockable elemental versions of it. Each one has a boss guarding it. The whip animation is alright, personally I think Gabriel’s whipping looks better in Lords of Shadow. You get a sub weapon that costs hearts (nothing new here) and special attacks that use magic. Enemies and candle stands drop money that you can use to buy stuff from Rinaldo’s shop. The rooms get repetitive but each of the 5 areas or levels are varied in theme from one another. The graphics in general look pretty good for PS2.

The combat is good but bad at the same time.

It’s bad because it feels stiff and clunky. The main reason for this is you can’t break a combo to guard an enemy attack. If you press square three times to do a short combo and then realize the enemy is about to hit you, so you press R2 to guard, Leon will completely finish the third attack animation, pause for a second, wait for a pizza to be delivered… and then raise his arm to guard and you end up getting hit. In a game with a similar combat system like God of War, you can mash that attack button and then press guard and Kratos will guard immediately, saving you from getting hit. I like to complain about it but once you get used to it… it’s not that big of a deal. You just need to be more cautious and learn when are the right times to attack and pull off combos. Or else you’ll pay for it.

So even though the combat feels stiff and clunky sometimes it’s actually pretty fun when you start unlocking new combos and items. You start getting new options and you get to figure out which sub weapon you like, which combos you like and so on. If you’re good at these types of games and you get used to how this one plays, you’ll be able to tear through any enemy that gets in your way. Same with Bosses.

The camera.

One of the first things I noticed when playing for the first time, was some similarities to the Devil May Cry games with the fixed camera that zoomes in and out and the jumping. The static camera was rarely ever a problem in similar games like DMC and GOW but in this one there are times when its zoomed in too far and you can’t see enemies off screen. It’s so much fun to have an enemy you can’t see come flying in and attack you. You’ve got no time to react to that. Just keep it in mind and try to stay in the areas of the room where you can see everything.

One thing I thought was kind of weird is that the game makes you change equipment through the real time window. Using potions and items I can understand but equipping your gear? I mean it’s useful to change whips on the fly but it just seems weird that you can’t at all change your gear in the start menu.

So, overall it’s good.

If you like Castlevania games it’s worth a shot and if you really like fantasy action games with this type of combat give it a shot if your bored of playing better games. For me personally, I enjoyed it more and more the more I played it. At first I was thinking Ehhh with the bad voice acting and simple story but it grew on me. I had fun.

You should go check it out.

-Wickk

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