Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow Updated Hands-On

We take a look at a more complete version of the 2D DS action adventure, previously shown at E3.

LOS ANGELES--Konami used tonight's taping of the G-Phoria awards as a venue to show off its upcoming Castlevania lineup, including Dawn of Sorrow, the new Nintendo DS-exclusive action RPG that adheres to the series' deep 2D roots. The single-player portion of the G-Phoria demo remained unchanged from the version we tried at E3 a couple of months ago. Effete vampire hunter Soma Cruz is still attempting to defeat a terrible cult bent on murdering him so they can resurrect the true form of Dracula to enslave the Earth. Don't you hate it when that happens?

Like the previous games on the GBA, Dawn of Sorrow will have you investigating a sprawling 2D castle, which contains lots of power-up items and abilities that will help you deal with the increasingly more difficult enemies and puzzles that you'll encounter. This new version uses the DS' stylus in some interesting ways later in the game, from past demos we've seen--but the demo on offer didn't really have much in the way of novel puzzles for the touch screen, since it was set at the beginning of the game.

Beyond the core single-player game, Dawn of Sorrow will offer some wireless features that we got to check out. The soul trade function is self-explanatory--you'll be able to hook up with other players to swap souls back and forth, in case your friend has a rare soul that you want or vice versa. Of course, you'll be able to go back in the single-player game and regain any souls that you've traded away. Dawn of Sorrow's soul upgrade system also differs over that of the previous game, Aria of Sorrow, in that it'll let you upgrade a soul after you've acquired it by lending power to the subsequent attack or abilitiy.

We also got our first look at a wireless versus mode, which will pit you against another player to see who can get through a section of the game the fastest. You'll be able to pick from a variety of small sections taken from the game map, and the number and kind of monsters you'll find will vary depending on what you've accomplished back in the single-player game. Finally, another mode called enemy set will be available that doesn't require you to connect to another player; it merely lets you change the enemy types and placement in various sections of the level.

Dawn of Sorrow isn't that far off--it's due out in mid-October--and it seems to be shaping up nicely in terms of localization as its release date approaches. We'll bring you more on the game soon.

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