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Not as Bad as You Might Expect

June 10, 2009

     With a long history of adventure games behind them, Konami decided to try something new with their Castlevania franchise for the Wii.  Castlevania: Judgment is the series’ first foray into the fighter genre, and it features twelve characters from across the series’ history along with two original characters.  You can play as Simon Belmont, Trevor Belmont, Alucard, Grant DaNasty, Sypha Belnades, Cornell, Maria Renard, Eric Lecarde, Carmilla, Death, Shanoa, or Dracula, as well as new characters Golem and Aeon, the guardian of time.  Some being from the future has created a time rift that has trapped all of these characters here, and Aeon seeks to test all of them to see who is best suited for defeating that being and returning time to normal. 

     The gameplay is simple.  You shake the remote and press the B button on the Wiimote for attacks, combined with the directional stick for different combos.  You can also use the A button for special equip items that you can pick up from destroyable items all around each battlefield and the C button to jump.  It’s really straightforward, and the attacks are nice and flashy.  There isn’t exactly a wealth of unique combos, but each character’s moveset is distinct.  The graphics are decent, but they certainly prove that the Wii is the weakest of the current generation of console gaming in terms of graphics.  Obata Takeshi, mangaka for both Hikaru no Go and Death Note, provides the character designs, which are quite pretty despite destroying the original designs of basically every character.  But unless he’s reponsible for making the decision to redesign the characters, don’t blame him.  Blame Konami! 

     The English voice acting is relatively unremarkable, as it showcases the mediocrity of non-Japanese voice acting, rather than its best.  You do have a few really good voice actors, like Yuri Lowenthal, Ezra Weisz, Dorothy Elias-Fahn, and Philece Sampler, but most of the voices just don’t really shine out.  The soundtrack is appropriately gothic, but not terribly striking.  Still, the gameplay is pretty fun, which you might not expect for something that is so blatantly a money ploy rather than a unique new idea.  If you’re a fan of Castlevania, and you’re looking for a good time-waster, this is your game.

Story: 4.5     Gameplay: 7.5      Presentation: 6.8      Soundtrack: 7.5      Acting: 7.0      Overall: 7.0

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