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Castlevania: Order of Ecclesias

Lots at stake for Dracula and pal

Poor old Dracula, Konami just won't let him sleep. Twenty-six times they've resurrected his corpse only to kick his arse straight back into the coffin.

What a life. Some Konami bod comes up with a new combat system or gameplay mechanic and it's wakey-wakey Mr McBitey, we've got a fresh stake we want to try out on you. So, what does Order Of Ecclesia have in store for the Count?

As Shanoa, the top magic user in the eponymous order, you're going up against ol' Drac with whatever power you can siphon from the environments.

Like Dawn Of Sorrows, where the souls of slain foes acted as spells, Ecclesia takes it a step further as Shanoa filters everything from swords to snowstorms from the world around her.

The key to it all are glyphs - elements that Shanoa drinks in with an upwards prod of the D-pad. Trying to get away from the pick-up-item-use-item-get-another-item route the series had slipped into, this system promises greater fluidity, with sneaky strategies needed to drink in powers from enemies.

Put your hands up

With X and Y commanding your glyph-carrying left and right hands, there's all manner of combos awaiting discovery, while activating both hands crushes two abilities into one new power.

The pins in The World Ends With You showed how successful combat modifiers can be, so we're hoping for similar depth in this.

More worrying is the news that the free-roaming Castle has been jettisoned for a more
old fashioned stage-by-stage structure.

With the Order's fort acting as a hub you venture forth into smaller stages - much like the portrait system that so irked us in the last DS 'vania.

Yes, it allows for more instant variety - forests, villages and sea-bound brawling gives us the outdoors time that mums only dream of - but this is meant to be Castlevania, not 'nice-day-outvania'.

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