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Forums > Submission Feedback > zippdementia's Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PSN) review

This thread is in response to a review for Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on the PlayStation 3. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: January 19, 2010 (01:17 PM)
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I can't say that I agree with much of what you wrote here, though the writing was engaging enough. This is one of those games where the experience is all about atmosphere, about customizing your character and not stopping to beef yourself up too much. The game is challenging and exhilerating if you play it properly, but it can lose some of its luster if you decide to ham it up.

And of course, the first half of the game (the half that most people see without realizing that a second half even exists) is much easier than the second half. If you don't over-level yourself and you play through the second half as intended, complaints about the game being too easy suddenly seem incredibly silly.

I don't feel like the game suffers for giving the player the ability to power-level and overcome the more challenging areas, either. That's one of its strengths. I've noticed that you tend not to like adventure and RPG titles where customization plays a key role, though, so I doubt I'll ever convince you of anything along those lines. Still, the review leaves me wondering if you experienced the full game. Did you get all 208% or even close?


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: bluberry
Posted: January 19, 2010 (01:59 PM)
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really? I thought the second castle was, if anything, even easier. most of the bosses there die within seconds even if you're not using something like the crissaegrim.


Oh no, it's a Goomba!


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: January 19, 2010 (02:04 PM)
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I must be the only one who doesn't overpower myself when I go through these games. I do the same thing with RPGs. I guess I just don't have the patience to break the game. Zipp's reference to the soul sucking move surprised me, though. I didn't bother using those skills when I went through the game. After all, you're never compelled or even particularly encouraged to use them to the best of my recollection. I think I used a few fireball spells to unlock abilities or something, but I fought bosses the old-fashioned way and found the whole experience quite satisfying.

Edit: Isn't the crissaegrim one of those one-use items that's super rare? Like... you have to purchase the extraordinarily expensive Duplicator if you want to spam it?


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: JANUS2
Posted: January 19, 2010 (02:07 PM)
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SOTN is stupidly easy, but at the same time I kinda like the fact that Alucard becomes ridiculously overpowered. This is also why I enjoyed Shadow Complex.


"fuck yeah oblivion" - Jihad


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Author: joseph_valencia
Posted: January 19, 2010 (02:10 PM)
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The only old-school Castlevania I can still play from start-to-finish is "Rondo of Blood." The other ones certainly have their appeal and place in history, but I can only endure stiff controls for so long.

Edit: Isn't the crissaegrim one of those one-use items that's super rare? Like... you have to purchase the extraordinarily expensive Duplicator if you want to spam it?

It isn't one-use, but it is super rare. I think I've only gotten it once through casual play.


Spaceworlder was able to build this sig IN A CAVE…… WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS!!


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Author: overdrive (Mod)
Posted: January 19, 2010 (04:14 PM)
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The Crissagrim is a special sword that rapid-fire shoots out blades in front of you. It's a rare drop by one of the critters in the second castle's library. I've played through the game a number of times and only obtained it once....completely without trying to. Another time, I spent a good 30-45 minutes trying to get it, but it never was dropped.

The two coolest things about it:

1. Makes it easy to kill those really tough knights that appear in that one room near where Dracula/Shaft's lair is.

2. It's fun to kill the mummy boss in roughly .7 seconds.


I'm not afraid to die because I am invincible
Viva la muerte, that's my goddamn principle


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: January 19, 2010 (05:05 PM)
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Discussion of this game raises an interesting question: can a game that is perfectly capable of providing tremendous challenge really be called "too easy" if it provides the player with the tools necessary to make every last enemy easy and the player then chooses to use those tools?

Playing through the game myself, I didn't stop to power level and I rushed from one encounter to another. I was frequently challenged and if I couldn't beat someone after a few tries, I'd stop to customize and to level up a bit and then that enemy would fall easily to my new might. Yet if I had fought through those foes without relying on the optional goodies and levels, I would've had a challenge that was in line with every other Castlevania boss that I've encountered and defeated.

Symphony of the Night is that rare game that's no harder and no easier than the player chooses to make it. There are some games where you have to set challenges up for yourself if you want to face a real threat. Don't grab any power-ups. Defeat this boss or that one without taking a hit. Or the difficulty level you select means that enemies hit you with more damage, or that there are more of them.

To me, Symphony of the Night struck that perfect balance where it's difficulty level is quite simply beyond reproach. The game can be whatever you want it to be. If you want it to be an atmospheric romp through a huge castle and its catacombs, it can be that. If you can't find that adventure to be atmospheric without difficulty, don't spend hours improving your character. If you can't find that adventure atmospheric when monsters are constantly kicking your ass, then there are ways to explore the furthest nooks and crannies, to turn into a god-like entity that rolls through all challenges like a steamroller. All the time, the player is fully in charge.

I'm not sure why so many people go into SotN looking for a challenge, then purposefully collect every item they can find to make the game easier. That's a bit like flipping through a porn magazine with a blindfold on and complaining when you don't see anything worthwhile.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: joseph_valencia
Posted: January 19, 2010 (05:20 PM)
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The appeal of SoTN can be summed up thusly:

- Cool graphics
- Cool music
- Cool character
- Cool controls
- Cool castle
- Cool monsters
- Cool secrets
- Cool voice acting

Besides, if Alucard weren't overpowered, he wouldn't be plausible as Dracula's offspring.


Spaceworlder was able to build this sig IN A CAVE…… WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS!!


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Author: aschultz
Posted: January 19, 2010 (05:28 PM)
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That's a bit like flipping through a porn magazine with a blindfold on and complaining when you don't see anything worthwhile.

Or better yet, blaming a porn magazine's particularly fetching models for distracting you from the story. That's the imperial "you," not at anyone specific.

Umm...the review itself? That'd be a conflict of interest, as it's part of the RotW pool to be judged.


My principal said, 'Emo, Emo, Emo.'
I said 'I'm the one in the middle, you lousy drunk!'
-- Emo Phillips


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: January 19, 2010 (08:27 PM)
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I figured this review might garner some conversation. I am definitely going against the majority on this one.

I haven't been disappointed, either! There's a lot of interesting comments here (in particular, I want to thank Honestgamer for making such detailed commentary). In the interests of getting to my homework for the night, I'm only going to respond to three of the points.

The first point has to do with game difficulty. It's a tricky subject, especially when you get to RPGs, because the ability to level pretty much screws over any difficulty system (excepting those where enemies level with you, but they have their own set of problems). However, in C:SOTN I didn't level and was still able to defeat enemies with barely any thought or effort. Again, as stated in the review, bosses were the most offensive of these easy victories but it carried throughout the game in other levels, such as platforming or basic combat.

Some things stand out about SOTN that made me bring up the difficulty issue. One of the biggest stand outs was the dodge move, which I never had to use. I could have used it, if I wanted to get through the game without taking any damage, but... why would I do that? If trophies and achievements prove anything it's that gamers like to have third-party acknowledgment of their gaming accomplishments.

But now we're deviating from the main point a bit. The question was, if a game gives you tools to make it easy and you use them, is it your fault the game is too easy? The stipulation was that my experience with the game was like me reading a porn magazine with a blindfold (for which I highly reccommend the site Porn For the Blind). It's not an appropriate comparison, however. When I buy a porn magazine, it doesn't come with a blindfold. However, C:SOTN came with all the tools necessary to make it ridiculously easy. And I'm talking about basic stuff. Forget the soul sucking move for a moment... I also point out in the review how I was able to kill one of the more powerful enemies in the game in something like seven hits. That's silly. I'd have to equip the worst weapons to make the game anything of a challenge. Essentially, I would have to WORK to make the game hard. That's not like reading a porn magazine and choosing to wear a blindfold... that's like getting a porn magazine where all the pictures are hidden under scratch-aways.

So, to answer the larger question at stake here, I think that if a game provides you with easy access to difficulty breaking items or abilities, then, yes, it is an easy game and it is the game's fault. But in C:SOTN's case, I think the issue is even deeper than that and has to do with the fact that enemies and bosses simply die too easily while Alucard can take shit tons of damage.

Point the second! I didn't get full percentage, no. I did enjoy the fact that there was a second castle, though its ability to hold interest could be questioned. Playing as Belmont is also a little bit more exciting, but again, at that point you've already seen the majority of what the game has to offer. I decided not to cover those things in my review because they didn't have enough power to change my opinion and I wanted to keep the focus on what really affected me in the game.

And finally, to Spaceworlder... you are correct on all counts except voice acting. I'm sorry, but the voice acting in SOTN is awful, even for a PS1 game.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: joseph_valencia
Posted: January 19, 2010 (09:20 PM)
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And finally, to Spaceworlder... you are correct on all counts except voice acting. I'm sorry, but the voice acting in SOTN is awful, even for a PS1 game.

Awful, yes, but awesome in its awfulness.


Spaceworlder was able to build this sig IN A CAVE…… WITH A BOX OF SCRAPS!!


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: January 19, 2010 (11:04 PM)
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I... understand.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: ReachBeyond
Posted: January 19, 2010 (11:42 PM)
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Jason, did you recruit Justin Boot from Thunderbolt Games to replace Zipp ? Good call, because i noticed that Zipp is a retard .


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: January 20, 2010 (12:31 AM)
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I try to stay in touch with as many talented reviewers as I can, and I'm always interested in making sure that they're able to write new content for HonestGamers if that interests them. Disco is a talented writer and has been for years. This isn't the first time he's contributed content and I have every hope that it won't be the last.

Zipp wrote a review with which I rather strongly disagree, but he has the right to do so and I approved it upon reading it because I thought that he made his points quite eloquently. Unless you know something that I don't, something that isn't evident in his writing, then I would say that he is not a retard.

You're not off to a good start on these forums. I hope that we can expect better from you in the future, but I suspect that we cannot.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: ReachBeyond
Posted: January 20, 2010 (12:54 AM)
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Uh, no.

Here is one review from RPGFan highlighting the same 'problem' (easiness) .

http://www.rpgfan.com/reviews/symphonyofthenight/Symphony_of_the_Night-2.html

Despite its near-perfection, the Symphony of the Night gameplay has one minor problem. It's too easy, especially when you fight bosses in the game. Just exploring the castle fully (which most RPG fans are likely to do) will almost surely net you enough EXP so that you don't have to use any strategy at all against the bosses; you can just run up to them and hack away, and you'll still generally beat them quite handily. The second castle is more challenging than the first, however.

The reviewer is just not an obnoxious attention-whore enough to give the game a 6.


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: January 20, 2010 (01:26 AM)
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Here's a question for you, then: what do you hope to achieve by calling Zipp a retard and an attention whore? If you hope to persuade others that his review is unfair, there are more constructive and effective ways to do so. Posting an excerpt from someone who disagrees, while not as impressive or even as relevant as you seem to believe, is at least a start.

If you hope to embarrass Zipp or make him feel uncomfortable sharing his opinions here in a user review and on the forums, please take a hike. If you continue to post in your current obnoxious manner, know that mods are mroe than capable of deleting your posts. Don't think for a second that we won't.


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: sashanan
Posted: January 20, 2010 (08:18 AM)
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SotN and all its successors seem to be in a constant battle to get the difficulty "just right". Excepting postgame unlockables it doesn't seem any of them has yet gotten the idea to just toss in an easy/medium/hard, perhaps because it is felt that having an RPG level up system in the first place makes that redundant. I do have to say that when I played SotN through (this was after I'd already played and finished the three GBA Castlevanias), I was neither aware of the soul sucking move nor did I find any of the really good stuff like the Crissagrim. Regardless, I got through this one easily enough.

Now that Order of Ecclesia...


''Yes, yes...but apart from all that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?''


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Author: Suskie
Posted: January 20, 2010 (09:17 AM)
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I've been putting Symphony of the Night on my "favorite games" lists forever now, until I realized it's been far too long since I've actually played it. I don't remember it being too easy, but then again I was much younger when I last played it. All of this discussion kinda makes me want to download it off XBLA, which I may do in the near future. I've since played Order of Ecclesia, which as Sash noted is hard as hell. In a good, satisfying way, though.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: jiggs
Posted: January 20, 2010 (11:05 AM)
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i love the anime cutscenes in rondo of blood.


!


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: January 20, 2010 (11:10 AM)
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I've been putting Symphony of the Night on my "favorite games" lists forever now, until I realized it's been far too long since I've actually played it. I don't remember it being too easy, but then again I was much younger when I last played it. All of this discussion kinda makes me want to download it off XBLA, which I may do in the near future. I've since played Order of Ecclesia, which as Sash noted is hard as hell. In a good, satisfying way, though.

If my review has made you want to revisit the game, then I've been successful.

I think nostalgia can color our opinions of games. I heartily defended Myst on these forums, but I went back and played it and... you know what? Yeah, it's not that good anymore.

On another note, I've been called an idiot again by a pile of Cheetos. Now I really feel like I've done a good job.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: Suskie
Posted: January 20, 2010 (01:09 PM)
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THEY'RE NOT CHEETOS! THEY'RE IMPOSTERS! GODDAMMIT


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: Ben
Posted: January 20, 2010 (03:07 PM)
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Some people like to be challenged. Others don't want to be frustrated. It's fine. This is why difficulty levels exist nowadays.

Symphony is a little on the easy side, especially if you pick up some kick-ass weapons or accessories, but I'm not a very patient person, so it's perfectly fine for me.


...


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: January 20, 2010 (03:12 PM)
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I feel that challenge can exist without frustration. I actually think most of the frustration in games comes from poor controls, not from challenge. If the controls are good, than the challenge will inevitably be fun.

Look at Portal. That game takes timing, patience, logical reasoning, and good aim but the controls are so damn good that you don't get frustrated. You just have fun.

SOTN or any modern Castlevania game has the potential to pull this off, but they haven't. Now I don't about that new Wii game, that actually seemed awesome from Jason's review.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: Ben
Posted: January 20, 2010 (05:58 PM)
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Oh, I didn't mean hard games are necessarily frustrating. That probably came out a bit wrong. I meant that hard games can be frustrating for people who don't necessarily want a tough challenge. They just want to progress through the game without too many hiccups.

I'll admit to being one of these people. I very rarely complete a game on its hardest difficulty, and where proper RPGs are involved, I like to do a little research beforehand to make sure I don't royally fuck up my character customisation.

Portal is a very good example, but it's a challenge of a slightly different sort. The most obvious way for Symphony to be a more challenging game - like in most titles out there - is to nerf your character and/or make the enemies hit harder and last longer.


...


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: January 20, 2010 (06:09 PM)
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Or they could have made the platforming a bit more involved and provided more environmental challenge. They had a lot of options.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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