Castlevania Requiem Review – Worthwhile Resurrection?
Platform: PS4 (reviewed)
Release: 26th October 2018
After years of waiting, Konami finally announced something new for one of their most popular series: Castlevania, fitting for the launch of Netflix´s second season of the series. However, instead of a new entry, Castlevania Requiem is a mere port of the all-time classic Symphony of the Night and its predecessor Rondo of Blood for the PS4. Luckily, you can´t make much wrong with a simple port, right? Right.
Instead of going over why Symphony of the Night is, let´s take a look at Rondo of Blood instead, before diving into the port itself. After all, does someone really need the 1000th text praising how amazing its sprites look, how fluid its controls still are or how overly detailed everything is? I was interested in this collection for this title alone since I never really completed it, and it´s still one amazing game no one should miss, as it teaches so much about level design, progression and more, laying the foundation for many titles to come.
So, enough of that, Rondo of Blood is something completely different, especially when you completed Symphony of the Night first like me. Where latter offers an “open” castle with many secrets and things you can return to with the right equipment, former is similar to classic 2D action games of that era. It opted for linear levels with a clear end and beginning and no way to return to them. Instead, we´re playing as a Belmont with his iconic whip and slay our way to Dracula through many, quite diverse levels, all with their own unique design.
Yet, what most intrigued me, was the unguided way you could “complete” those levels and it was possible to passively choose 1 of 4 routes, depending which level you complete in which way, you can get a completely different one than another player. Naturally, many bosses can be skipped or discovered this way, enabling a lot of replayability despite never having the giant, well-designed world of a Symphony of the Night. Not to say, Rondo of Blood is badly designed, it just feels so much older in comparison. Belmont is a bit slower, a bit choppier in his animations and executions than Alucard, creating a more stiff feeling gameplay, that can frustrate you one or two times. Combined with the sometimes mediocre level design, that seemingly can´t decide how difficult a level should be and messing up the whole progression curve as a result, it´s something clearly enjoyable but only for fans who want to see more classic Castlevania.
Port-wise, Castlevania Requiem is acceptable … at best. As you might have already seen, all menus designed for this port look quite awful, with stretched or pixelated images, almost blending together with the options and selection screens. It just feels like a fan-made project, rather than a fully fleshed out port like we´ve seen from Capcom´s Mega Man Legacy series. Additionally, the edition doesn´t add any new content, nor is based on any upgraded version but rather the mediocre PSP ones. All in all, it offers the bare minimum like Scanlines and such in the options, some decent backgrounds for the black bars and all that basic stuff but never feels like anything more than a mere low-budget project.
In the end, Castlevania Requiem isn´t a bad option if you´ve never played any of those two games, as it´s still a working port. Nonetheless, don´t expect anything fancier than that.
[A Review Code was provided by Konami]