E3 2008: Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia Hands-On

Dracula is running amok again as we go hands-on in the latest Castlevania adventure.

The Belmont family has held Dracula at bay for centuries, but what happens when the noble family disappears? The newest Nintendo DS spin on the classic Castlevania formula introduces a few new characters to counteract the nasty moods of the vampiric count. Factions to fight against the undead have sprung up all over; you are fighting with the titular Order of Ecclesia to finally shove a stake in Dracula's heart. As Shonoa, you have to fend off Dracula until the Belmonts finally surface from wherever they've gone off to. We went hands-on with the beginning of Order of Ecclesia today, and found a few gameplay twists along with a rather large graphical overhaul.

Visually, Ecclesia looks quite different from the previous two NDS Castlevania titles. The lighthearted style has been replaced by a dark and gritty (though still anime-based) look. Coupled with some fancy 3D effects, this game looks much better than prior offerings. Floating ghosts and bone-chucking skeletons still try to torment you, but the experience looks much sharper this time. Enemies stand out much clearer from the background, and the environments have much more variety.

From a gameplay perspective, Ecclesia actually borrows from Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest. You can travel from haunted forest to haunted monastery to other haunted places using the map screen, so you'll no longer be restricted to just one castle. When you come across towns, you'll have a number of necessary quests to partake in as well as a few optional tasks for extra treasure and items. For instance, one quest has you searching for potion ingredients, which, when obtained, will let you make a more potent drink. Another has you scouring for hidden cats; these are accompanied by a loud, mournful meow so they are difficult to miss.

Item collection borrows a page from Dawn of Sorrow. Each enemy drops a glyph, which you can equip with either of your hands. These serve as basic weapons such as rapiers and daggers, as well as magic attacks. Every weapon requires a certain amount of energy to pull off, so though you can rapidly slash with your sword for a few hits, you'll be stuck without any way to attack if you don't pace yourself. The subweapons are also tied to whatever glyph you currently have equipped. You'll no longer be able to pick up holy water or throwing knives and use them whenever you please, but having a unique subweapon tied to every attack glyph will ultimately mean more attack variety.

Details about a two-player mode are still unclear, but we were told that there would be some sort of connectivity. The quest should take as long as previous Castlevania titles--mixing the backtracking sections with more optional quests and environmental diversity to keep things fresh. Stylus controls, like symbol-drawing aspects found in Dawn of Sorrow, are nowhere to be found.

Order of Ecclecia is shaping up nicely for fans of the RPG-infused Castlevania adventure games. It will be interesting to see how many different environments are in the final version and how much travel between them is required. We'll find out soon enough, as this game is scheduled for release this fall.

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Discussion

66 comments
hi-buzz
hi-buzz

This game looks freakin' awesome with sweet,colorful 2D graphics backgrounds,very nice level design similar to super metroid...I know this game will sell many more DS.. castlevania games(the 2d ones only) always receives good reviews from critics....Now how about a Wii version update

kickerdobrasil
kickerdobrasil

"Order of Ecclecia is shaping up nicely for fans of the RPG-infused"(...) guys, we got a typo on "Eclecia" it should be Eclessia ^^

IXIWhistIXI
IXIWhistIXI

I hope they keep pulling away from the anime look and go back to their gothic art style. I'm not going to get into my dislike for anime art style in general, but it doesn't fit the castlevania theme. The gothic art style looked nice and fit very well.

8shadowmaster8
8shadowmaster8

Sounds pretty awesome (well it's castlevania after all). I'll be getting this.

Nicaboy456
Nicaboy456

great! i cant wait for this to come out....

CamiKitten
CamiKitten

I am too psyched for this game. Just a tad iffy about quests, but I can see that yeah they're trying to make it more appealing to those who haven't been playing CV since the 80's lol. Plus the scheduled release date says its on my birthday :D :D :D

Smoolander
Smoolander

More Castlevania = more goodness

TXMostWanted
TXMostWanted

Best franchise I've ever played on the DS (Sorry Mario). It also shows that 2d platform gaming is far from dead

Maulka
Maulka

Nice!!, sounds awes0me!!!!

omega300
omega300

awesome i can't wait 4 this game 2 comes out =)

VenomRitual
VenomRitual

"Every weapon requires a certain amount of energy to pull off, so though you can rapidly slash with your sword for a few hits, you'll be stuck without any way to attack if you don't pace yourself." What? so if i want to attack I need energy? i thought that was only subweapons. ughh.

X-Remnant
X-Remnant

D: I'm not a big fan of "missions".

SUPER_FLY_
SUPER_FLY_

i can't wait i can't wait i can't wait

osxgp
osxgp

I never get tired of Castlevania. Keep 'em coming

Sailor_Razor
Sailor_Razor

Now if they could just keep the art style they had In SotN and the such. I hear they changed it so it could appeal to a younger audience. However, I think of Castlevania as a T rated series, sans Curse of Darkness.

A80
A80

Looks good. I can't wait.

steveocho
steveocho

wth lil-dill...your the only one ive seen who agrees that PoR is better than DoS. DoS rocked and your just like your name...cept add a "hole" at the end

ioelej
ioelej

I bought my DS just to play the Castlevania games on it. I like that they are making classic 2D side-scrolling versions and that the hardware has limitations that won't temp them to make lame 3D type games. This is the way Castlevania is meant to be played, no need to make it 3D.

dmfreak
dmfreak

i wonder if yuzo koshiro will once again compose one of the tracks of this castlevania game.

Hungry_bunny
Hungry_bunny

Another castlevania game that I can't wait to play...

LIL-DILL
LIL-DILL

this had better be more fun than dawn of sorrow, cause well we all no it sucked, portrait or ruin ruled and after playing that is felt as if someone just threw dawn of sorrow together, it was short and pithetic, lets hope they produce another POR and not a DOS

Jake_02
Jake_02

Another classic Castlevania game.

Vanalchemist
Vanalchemist

Wow, this game is fantastic. The moves is pretty good also. Thanx Konami for more another treasure!!!

aduana69
aduana69

Dracula or is its Alucard....

richardzero62
richardzero62

Un exelente aporte que creo traera efectos visuales tal como se dice en 3d . EXELENTE

Nerissa
Nerissa

There's always room for another Dracula Castlevania game.

Noob_Krusher
Noob_Krusher

I am so jacked. I am trying to go through all the GBA ones to get ready for this.

mute4
mute4

Looks good, but first I need to track Portrait of ruin!

silverlife
silverlife

the game just keeps getting better

Sunrie
Sunrie

Very interesting. Looks like the game is going back to an old school, hard as hell style. Hopefully the game won't be too much of a put off for those of us who had some issues with games like Simon's Quest. I'm wondering why the Belmonts aren't around in this game, or at least we're being lead to believe. Also, it would be interesting if this game takes place after Dawn of Sorrow.

LordelX
LordelX

I'll be buying this game. The three DS Castlevanias are shaping up to be quite different games from one another. Sweet. Gascan9, if you don't care about these games, why the hell are you posting messages? Go bother someone else.

Yadish
Yadish

just send Chuck Norris to kill Dracula, I'd play that, but this still looks awesome, I LOVE SIMON'S QUEST!!!

gascan9
gascan9

When Dracula is gone die and Konami well finish this ******* series of games

drummer131
drummer131

This game looks like it's going to be just as good (and probably better) than the previous two. I'm psyched.

NX75
NX75

Foppe_ asks "Am I the only one that wants them to make a 2D console Castlevania for once?" Not by a long shot. As much as I love these DS games they make, I'll always yearn for a huge-budget, polygonal version in HD with 5.1 surround sound. They refuse to do it for some reason, but everyone wants it. It's not like a 2D game on a console can't sell. If they don't want to risk much investment, they could at least go downloadable; Symphony of the Night is in the top five best-selling XBLA games ever made. If they realize it takes money to make money, they could go all-out AAA and still expect to see a large return; Smash Brothers proved a great game, even 2D, can sell like crazy.

huntervaneg
huntervaneg

I sense OoE will be superior than its DS predecessors and will be a "must" for a good DS games collection.

Foppe
Foppe

Am I the only one that wants them to make a 2D console Castlevania for once?

HappyGamingNerd
HappyGamingNerd

If i buy this,it is going to be my first castlevania game ever. :)

grambyte
grambyte

Castlevania always was one of my favorite games. So yet again I'm in for the new one.

MythDarK
MythDarK

Another good looking Castlevania on it's way.