Tuesday, October 30, 2018

"Castlevania Requiem" Review

While some argue the early NES and SNES "Castlevania" games are the series' high point, while some swear by the last-gen "Lords of Shadow" action adaptation, just about all "Castlevania" fans hold soft spots for the two iconic 1990s  entries, which managed to bridge the classic exploration aspects with the intricate flourishes of the gothic art style that had evolved with the franchise.

"Castlevania Requiem" rounds up the inseparable duo: "Rondo of Blood" and "Symphony of the Night." Both games maintain their original aspect ratio, graphical fidelity and audio tracks. Bucking the trend of re-imaginings and remasters of 1990s games that have flooded the PS4/Xbox One generation, Konami went the route of directly porting the games.

Purists will adore the choices, although some quality-of-life improvements, such as the rewind feature of "Rare Replay" or a more friendly checkpoint system, might have made the games as accessible as they are enderaing.

Both games ooze haunting charm. While neither is a stranger to rereleases -- the games have popped  up on both handheld and home console previous-gen PlayStation consoles -- there is something deeply satisfying about witnessing the old standbyes claw their way out of the grave once again to raise their particular reward loop of explore, unlock, backtrack and advance that defined the term "Metroidvania."

It's a testament to the craftsmanship of these now ancient artifacts of gamedom that they hold up so well. Both games are just as able as ever to sear their brand of horror into your psyche, challenging you to redouble your efforts to take on the tremendous challenge and see your way through the morbid, elegiac sagas. The games are still cruel and unforgiving, just as they should be.
Publisher provided review code.

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