Feature Article

Netflix's Castlevania Season 2 Full Review: Dark Metamorphosis

Dracula is depressed.

Update: Now that Castlevania Season 2 has hit Netflix in its entirety, we can look beyond the six out of eight episodes that the streaming service provided to us early for review. Although the seventh episode is full of slick action and exciting confrontations, it remains true that much of the season is spent introducing us to new characters while the existing ones--the ones you care about if you enjoyed Season 1--do little but mope and tread water.

That pacing issue may make it difficult to get all the way through Castlevania Season 2, even though it's worth it in the end. Since the show's release, we've also learned that it's been picked up for Season 3. Read on to learn more about what to expect from Season 2.

Original review: The first season of Netflix's Castlevania show was really more of a teaser than a full season. Over just four short episodes, it established the main characters and conflict and gave us a taste of the action, with the promise of more to come at a later date. In the portion of Castlevania Season 2 sent to press--six of the eight new episodes--that promise has yet to be fulfilled.

Castlevania Season 2 follows characters on two fronts: Dracula's court, and the small crew fighting against him. The latter consists of familiar faces: Trevor Belmont (Richard Armitage), Alucard (James Callis), and Sypha (Alejandra Reynoso), all of whom we met in Season 1. Like much of Castlevania, the chemistry among the trio has potential, but it's yet to bear fruit, even three quarters of the way through Season 2. Unfortunately, they spend almost the entire first six episodes simply sequestered away in a massive library researching ways to take Dracula down.

That probably sounds boring--because it is. And it's made even more so by the distinct lack of action; where Alucard and Trevor clashed blades at the end of Season 1, now they're content to simply trade childish barbs, much to Sypha's (and likely the audience's) frustration. Granted, they are on the same side now, but their dynamic gets old quickly.

Belmont and crew's preparatory storyline is really the B plot so far this time around, as the meat of Castlevania Season 2 follows Dracula (Graham McTavish)--or, more accurately, those in his vampire war council, since the Dark Lord himself does literally nothing in all the episodes we've seen so far. There's one medium length flashback in which he massacres a council of merchants who offended him, but it's not like that moves the story along. Dracula is actually extremely morose and depressed throughout Season 2 so far--an enormous sea change from his force-of-nature rage in Season 1, the reason for which is unclear, since these episodes seem to pick up shortly after the last batch.

Instead, we follow the intrigue in Dracula's court, which includes the bulk of new characters we meet: Godbrand, a hilariously brutish, hard-living, hard-killing vampire lord voiced with relish by the distinctive Peter Stormare; Carmella, a power-hungry female vampire who immediately starts to question Dracula's rule; and the human-hating-humans Hector and Isaac, who Dracula appoints to lead his war effort. This doesn't go over well with Godbrand, and Carmella seeks her own ends, so there's no end of drama among Dracula's generals.

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Hector and Isaac are particularly well fleshed out, as we get flashbacks and monologues that describe both why they hate other humans, and how they came to be in Dracula's service. Isaac is a former slave whose master was excessively cruel, while Hector is a "Forge Master" who uses magic to imbue dead things with life, making him the architect of Dracula's demon army. There are other vampires among the war council, and they certainly look cool during the handful of action scenes they take part in during these episodes, but they're not named or fleshed out.

One thing Castlevania Season 2 definitely does have is buildup. All the intrigue and tension is leading somewhere--there's never doubt of that. By the end of the sixth episode, with just two more to go, the pieces seem to finally be falling into place. Belmont is fighting demons, Sypha is doing magic, and Dracula is--well, Dracula is still brooding, but the rest of his forces are finally at war. The action is still creatively executed, and fights look cool.

But with eight episodes instead of just four, there was hope that Castlevania Season 2 would feel like more of a complete thing. Instead, it feels more like Season 1 was the first act, and this is simply a continuation, and the extra room has been spent developing new characters while the old ones tread water. We'll learn for sure whether it will all lead to a satisfying conclusion when Castlevania Season 2 hits Netflix on October 26.

The GoodThe Bad
Action is creative and coolPacing problems
Well fleshed out new charactersSeveral characters tread water
Lots of potential
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Now Playing: Castlevania: 10 Video Game References You May Have Missed In The Show


mrougeau

Michael Rougeau

Mike Rougeau is GameSpot's Senior Entertainment Editor. He loves Game of Thrones and dogs.

Castlevania Requiem: Symphony of the Night & Rondo of Blood

Castlevania Requiem: Symphony of the Night & Rondo of Blood

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stevo302

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I wasn't sure what to make of season 2. It seemed like they doubled the running time but still kept the same amount of plot. So many boring passages of dialog that does little but act as exposition beyond necessity. It tries to build up the lore and history of Dracula's history and the ties between his army and Carmilla's, but it's honestly not that interesting because the other players involved are never even characterized outside of Hector, Isaac and Godbrand.

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sakaiXx

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Watched the 2nd season and I agree with the pacing. they seemed to rush it a bit too fast especially with the ending fight. Would have worked better if its 12 episode (I just need more lol).

Good series and hoping for adaptation of symphony of the night next!

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AutumnVarela

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Edited By AutumnVarela

This was the most disgusting show I've ever seen.

Enjoying this show should be right up there with killing small animals in terms of early signs of a serial killer.

I can't begin to imagine a what a sadistic monster you must be to be able to enjoy this grotesque torture/dismemberment of this show.

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Tread33

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@autumnvarela: Apparently, you have no knowledge of what the game, or this series is about. I don't understand why you even decided to view it. Also, this is a cartoon.? If you want to get upset, just watch any worth while News reporting from around the world. Skeletal babies in Yemen, due to the war there. People dying in the deserts of North Africa, trying to get to Europe. If this genre of entertainment, is so abhorrent to you. I suggest that you try the "My Little Pony" cartoons, and related websites. Seriously, you should do more research before watching any kind of entertainment media.?

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jerusaelem

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@autumnvarela: Silly troll is trying too hard. Silly troll should go back under its bridge and yell at goats. Silly troll should also seek medical help, because silly troll's imagination appears to be broken and crippled possibly beyond repair. Silly troll should definitely get a second opinion, however, as I have no formal training in silly troll medicine or silly troll psychology, so my advice should be taken with a grain of salt at least until a licensed and certified silly troll doctor confirms my suspicions.

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deactivated-5ecbd14c755a5

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@autumnvarela: Bet you must love Attack on Titan.

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Gwynbleidd_91

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@autumnvarela: lol this show is amazing.

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J_aaron

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So they fucked up Hector's character here did they? Why would they change Hector from a hero to villain? Is he a spy on Dracula's council sent by Alucard? I hope so because drastically changing a character like that is the height of self absorption. Thinking that you can make Castlevania better with this anime.

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HiroArka

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@J_aaron: He was a villain up until Dracula was defeated, afterwards he set out to atone for what he did more or less. Curse of Darkness takes place some time after Castlevania 3. So him being a villain in the Anime makes sense

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jerusaelem

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@J_aaron: Considering the fact that it's written by a critically acclaimed, multi award winning author who also happens to be one of the best comic book writers of our time, I'm going to say yeah, they DID make it better. The original "story" was made up of a handful of blurbs in instruction manuals, and laughably stilted writing/acting via in game cut scenes. Hush up, take the crusty, worn out nostalgia goggles off your face, and stop acting like you ever gave a genuine fiddlers fart about the original story. It's a game about a man who whips candles, eats wall pork chops and throws bottles of water at monsters. Calm down -_-

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stevo302

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@jerusaelem: The funny thing about that is the writing genuinely isn't that great, The dialog is horrendous at times, and the plot is incredibly jarring, and characterization pretty laborious.

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Tread33

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@jerusaelem: You're the BEST! ??Rock on!!?

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Carpedium

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Are the episodes still 25-30 minutes each?

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mrougeau

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mrougeau  Staff

@Carpedium: yep

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gamingdevil800

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October 26th? Well I won't be watching this till I've finished RDR 2.

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SupaMasterGamer

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If you guys only have 6 of 8 episodes...you should wait before doing a review. Its like doing a review of a 2 hour movie but with no idea how the movie ends

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Sven_Viking

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@supamastergamer: They were insane to send six of eight episodes to the press for review. One or two for a preview, sure, but six means stopping *immediately before* the one episode that makes the rest worthwhile.

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Genji_Shimada

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@supamastergamer: If someone recorded a turd for 10 hours and gave you a sample of the first 8 hours are you going to ask to see the last 2 crap filled hours before you conclude the film is a steaming pile of it?

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SupaMasterGamer

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@genji_shimada: lol well... I would definitely stop watching but if I was paid to give a review as a journalist than I would have to watch all of it to make sure I give the most honest and complete review I can.

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Tread33

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@supamastergamer: Couldn't have said it better!?? But.. while I don't have a Feces fetish ? I do find Genji_Shimada's comments referring to turds!! Very humorous.?

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lionheartssj1

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@genji_shimada: Some amazing things can happen in the last two hours. You never know.

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shadowwarrior4

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how much longer? damn it

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videogameninja

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What is a man?!

A miserable pile of secrets. But enough talk!

-HAVE AT YOU! NINJA APPROVED-

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TheEternalGamer

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@Mercaptan: Chill, man. I really enjoy videogameninja's posts.

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doc-brown

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@Mercaptan: To be fair, there's always a funny spin on the topic in Ninja's posts. All you're doing is spreading negativity. I know which comment I prefer.

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Lordcrabfood

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@doc-brown: perhaps but just like the relationship between Alucard and Belmont, it gets old fast.

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deactivated-5ecbd14c755a5

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So... This "review" is basically a teaser for the full review too? A little overly meta aren't we, Gamespot?

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GamerSince78

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@martimusprime: oh man there is always one, every thread on reviews, some moron has to pop in throw out the SJW...i really feel as a society we get dumber by the day...proof that Darwin missed one in this guy

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