Juggling RPG and Platform elements with such ease and grace, the DS welcomes the first entry of the Castlevania series.

User Rating: 8.5 | Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow DS
With its intuitive controls and addictive game play, Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is a reviewer's nightmare. It's extremely fun to play, but to put it down in words, it just never bring across the same message. Simply put, the first entry of the Castlevania series into the DS foray is a roaring success, dampened only by the literary inaptitude of yours truly. With that established and a few weights lifted, this reviewer- an unfamiliar customer to the realm of both Castlevania and platform games alike- can finally bring you his review of the game which ripped him off hours and hours of his uncompromising attention.

The premise of the game isn't terribly surprising to veterans or anyone who has half the decency to imagine what the game is about- you expect to slay Draculas some point in the game. Dawn of Sorrow, whether it sharing the same two alphabets with the platform it plays on is a coincidence or not, faltered on the surprise factor, but definitely excelled on its process. The first thing that should grab a player's attention is how good the graphics is. While the upper screen is limited to displaying maps, players will be enchanted by what happens in the lower, where majority of the actions will be. Disappointingly, perhaps due to the game's settings- a Dracula castle- there isn't too much to differenciate one place from another, thus no one area really stood out. But interpret it another way, and one can credit the game's consistency in doing so.

Dawn of Sorrow does well in juggling its platform and the RPG elements. As more enemies are slayed, the character would gain experience and level up, where stats such as health and mana bars can be buffed. The good selection of weapons and armors would also satisfy a player's need to customise, and due to the difference in how some of the weapons play, different strategies can be concocted. One of the strongest points about Dawn of Sorrow is in its enemies. It is impressive how distinct each monster is from one another, a fact helped by the game's refusal to use repeated avatars in creating them. Players would also be amused by the different animations dedicated to how the monster dies, thus giving the mundane tasks of dispatching them a little more favour. If that is not a good reason enough to build up on the kill scores, players can collect souls from defeated enemies, which are basically the magics and techniques of the game. Neatly classified into 3 colours; red souls are the projectile magics, blue souls are the summons, and yellow souls are the passive skills which would boost one of the character's inherent stats. The number of souls are immersive, with some more useful than the others, differentiated only by the type of enemy that it was obtained from.

The lack of surprise is terribly exposed from the way Dawn of Sorrow makes use of the DS- not many. There isn't any use of the upper screen apart from displaying maps, and the same can be said of the touch screen. Cleverly, or perhaps conveniently, the game introduces the all-important Seals, where players will need to draw strokes on the touch screen in order to deliver the final blow to bosses. The stylus will find a better home tucked behind the DS when Dawn of Sorrow is played. This is echoed in the music and sound, which are both solid, but none too outstanding. Play Casltevania: Dawn of Sorrow because of its excellent and addictive game play. While there is an obvious lack of effort in noviety, players will be too absorbed in it to notice any significant flaws. It is not the best game out there, but it's one of those that deserves playing.