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Review Castlevania: Curse of the Darkness (XBOX)

genre: action, adventure, hack and slash,

After having played Castlevania: Lament of Innocence I was psyched to play everything Castlevania which lead me to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and this one Castlevania: Curse of Darkness. This title does not disappoint. It's a little different from Lament of Innocence but it adds some stuff that give the game more depth and therefore becomes more fun. Curse of Darkness is more an action rpg with bigger rpg elements. Your character Hector is a Devil Forger who can create Innocent devils that aid him in battle. They are very essential in beating bosses and harder enemies plus you need them to get past certain obstacles. So you will have to pay attention to them. These devils level up alongside Hector and each Innocent Devil (ID) has it's unique abilities. It's too much to get into it. But it is important to know that they are similar to familiars like in Symphony of the Night but at the same time very different as you simply can't advance without them if they aren't leveled up properly. It does take a little while to get into this system especially if you are coming from Lament of Innocence. Since the pacing and the action is a little less tight and slower. Only once you see the skills you gain by taking care of your ID's the game will become incredible fun. There is also a crafting system that will spare you to buy items. In fact it is encouraged to craft since you are also given the ability to steal weapons and items. Which is not easy but rewarding if you manage to pull it off. Once Hector and his ID's become stronger it becomes a joy to slay your enemies. But very much like in Lament of Innocence it's the accompanying soundtrack that makes fighting the monsters even more fun. It simply puts you in the mood to defeat them. 

Here is an example of a beautiful track in the game:

Story wise I have to say, it's even more simplistic as the one in Lament of Innocence but I think it references enough to other games and characters in the franchise to make it worth your while. One complaint that keeps coming back is the fact how repetitive the scenery and the combat can be. And with the first one I agree with the latter I don't. Because even when you think you are strong enough or have enough skills there are enemies and side quests hidden that require you to even become stronger. And in order to do that you will have to visit secret locations with some very challenging foes. (Two hidden bosses of which one is named Legion. Yes, he is back again.) These are optional. But having more content in a game is always good I think. And perhaps wise to take on since these side quests are far from repetitive. Curse of Darkness is a game where you will have to take your time to get into the mechanics to get the most of it. And when you do you can look beyond the simply story and visuals and be immersed since it offers a lot of depth. 

Additional Note:
After having played both Lament of Innocence and Curse of Darkness I can honestly say that these Castlevania titles very unjustly so have a bad reputation. I think most of the criticism is that they are 3D titles and did not offer the same gameplay as the the 2D platformers. Well, ask yourself this? Do you think it is possible to translate 2D gameplay to a 3D title and get away with it? With such titles you simply need other mechanics. But spiritually these are just as much Castlevania as their predecessors were. Both of these titles got me excited about the whole franchise so much I want to try out and play the older titles. While I like older games very much, those Catlevania titles I stayed clear from since I don't have the patience for them. So that should tell you something. 

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