With Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia due out in Japan and the U.S. later this month, the Tokyo Game Show represents the last major event at which Konami can show the game off; and shown it off they have, with this spectacular trailer.
The first minute and thirteen seconds consists of Order of Ecclesia character/location art, so if it's gameplay you're after, you'll want to skip to around one-third of the way through. Though why you'd want to skip Castlevania art is utterly beyond us.
Does the promise of Ecclesia's awesomeness make Judgment any more of a purchase candidate for you? Or are you willing to do without the connection bonuses?
Producer Koji Igarashi has definitely found his recipe for Vanias, and he's changed very little since hitting upon the combination of side-scrolling action, free-roaming exploration, and light RPG elements that made Symphony of the Night such a startlingly new experience ... back in 1997.
Let's be clear: both of the bloggers participating in this debate love them some Castlevania. But the issue of the series' increasing potential for staleness is a real one, and worth discussing even just as a thought exercise. Has Metroidvania run its course? Read on and find out ... what two people think.
IGN has several minutes of new gameplay footage of Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, showing off new environments, new enemies, and new glyphs, which include a hammer, a giant scythe, and magical attacks like ice and fireballs. According to IGN, it's Koji Igarashi himself on the controls, playing his own game. Surprisingly, his playthrough looks like pretty much anyone else's -- Igarashi takes damage from normal enemies fairly regularly. Maybe he was just nervous with a bunch of IGN guys staring at him.
He also spoke in a video interview (available via the sidebar in that video player) in which he describes the premise behind Order of Ecclesia, including who the Order is and what Shanoa is doing invading the demon castle. While describing the differences between this and past Castlevanias, IGA also says that the animation of the enemies has improved. He must be referring to the ones that have new sprites!
IGA reveals the extra modes in Ecclesia: a hard mode accessible by completing the game, and a mode with a higher (255) level cap unlocked by beating that hard mode -- or by connecting Judgment on the Wii with Order of Ecclesia.
Gallery: Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
Like Castlevania? We do -- to an embarrassing degree. Check out our impressions of Order of Ecclesia from E3, settle in for a trailer, or go Behind the Boxart with a Konami graphic designer. But enough talk -- have at you!
We cannot tell you how pleased we were to see new pictures from the front. It has been too long since we were able to gaze upon your icy features and battle prowess, and we are happy to be afforded this new opportunity. We can only hope you are safe and warm, especially at night. We don't hear much of your battles against the eternal and unnameable evil here and we are hungry for any details on the Order of Ecclesia. Please send word when you can. Keep your eyes out for glyphs, and stay safe.
Your fans, who are, as ever, awaiting your release
P.S. We have enclosed a turkey and some pot roast, as we have heard that food is scarce in the field.
Before we get started, however, check out that Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia art. It's easily among the best Castlevania art we've ever seen.
- Time Hollow, the time-traveling adventure game from Shadow of Destiny creator (and Suikoden IV producer) Junko Kawano, is coming to Europe this November!
- The magic-themed Animal Crossing-esque communication game Tongariboushi to 365-nichi no Mahou is being released in Europe as Enchanted Folk and the School of Wizardry.
- Winx Club Secret Diary 2009 -- pretty much Diary Girl in a Winx Club theme -- coming out in Q4 of this year.
- Media: new screens for Elebits: The Adventures of Kai and Zero and Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia, in addition to the new games!
This is just the latest piece of leather to be associated with the series -- Simon Belmont's original costume was totally leather, as is the original form of Vampire Killer (and the version sold online) and, of course, Koji Igarashi's hat.
See also: Promotional Consideration: Behind the Boxart
Further proof that Konami's decision to dump its anime-inspired art direction was the right choice for the Castlevania series! This boxart for Order of Ecclesia, revealed at the game's Amazon product page, puts the previous two entries' covers to shame, especially the Konami's Best packaging for Dawn of Sorrow.
Also, we're amazed (and a bit confused) to see that the game will feature a giant plastic cocktail sword as a wieldable weapon! Why fumble with a vampire slaying whip when you can brandish a rapier that doubles as a drink stirrer?
Jump past the post break for comparison shots of the previous two Castlevania DS games' boxarts!
See also: Promotional Consideration: Behind the boxart
The last Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia trailer certainly made the game look good -- but, in the form we saw (taken by pointing a camera at a screen at Konami's E3 booth), the trailer itself could have looked better. This direct-feed version of the OoE trailer corrects that single issue, leaving nothing between you and awesome monster fighting.
The trailer features a bunch of new monsters, and a bunch of monsters reused from previous Castlevanias. But that's okay, because not only do we expect it, Konami got those sprites right the first time! You can also see Shanoa doing wacky glyph-based attacks like turning into a were-panther. But enough talk -- have at you!
Furthermore, considering that the US release for Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin was only three weeks after Japan's, we also now have a general idea of when Order of Ecclesia will see its stateside release -- mid-November.
Square Enix also has two titles scheduled to hit Japan during the tenth month, Valkyrie Profile: The Accused One (October 2nd) and Cid and Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon: Labyrinth of Time DS+ (October 30th), the latter being a roguelike remake of Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon.
Perhaps the publisher will keep the promise it made back in March to aim for simultaneous worldwide releases with its new titles? It's unlikely, but we can dream ...
Every fan of the series should be on an ultimate high for the game's imminent release in Q3 this year.
Check out our choices for show highlights right here, or hit the break for the full rundown of our E3 coverage. Of course, we're still adding things, and will be over the next few days; keep up by clicking the E3 graphic in the sidebar.