10 Harsh Realities of Replaying the Castlevania Series

10 Harsh Realities of Replaying the Castlevania Series

While waiting for a new main line Castlevania game goes on, it’s not just bad news for fans of the massive vampire franchise. Some of what the series has been best at is smart and interesting collaborations with other games, and with the recent reveal of Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania trailer, that trend looks set to continue in 2023.

In the meantime, there’s no better opportunity to delve into the series’ vast catalog of games and relive their uniquely stylish thrills. Not everything in the series has aged particularly well, but there are some flaws in it Castlevaniaits history that is better forgotten. With rose-tinted glasses off, these are some of the realities of replaying the games.


The Castlevania verdict is still bad

Castlevania Judgment game on Wii

The Castlevania series have no shortage of spin-offs, and sometimes they can be so good that they mimic what’s good about the main games. That’s why it makes sense that fans were excited about one Castlevania fighting game that allows players to test their skills against each other in a 3D arena format.

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Of course, it went on to become the series’ lowest-rated title on Metacritic. While not without some redeeming qualities, time has not been too kind to it The Castlevania Verdict. Overly simple controls and graphics that didn’t even look good on the Wii mean it remains a sorry chapter in the franchise’s history.

Castlevania peaked too soon

An image of Alucard fighting a gargoyle-like creature in Castlevania Symphony of the Night

Considering its debut was one of the best games of the 80s, it’s fair to say so Castlevania got off to a fantastic start. While it didn’t immediately jump in quality, it wasn’t that much later Castlevania: Symphony of the Night appeared for the PlayStation and immediately secured its place in gaming history.

A pioneer of the Metroidvania genre and an incredibly well-executed game in its own right, Symphony of the nightthe legacy speaks for itself. The only problem is that it’s a bit jarring in a playthrough of the series how many of the best Castlevania games came in the early years.

Castlevania’s first 3D game hasn’t aged well

Reinhardt fights in Castlevania 64.

The transition from 2D to 3D has rarely been easy, and all things considered, Castlevania for the Nintendo 64 is hardly a bad bet. A challenging game that manages to capture the spirit of the previous games quite well, there was only one major complaint critics had with the game when it was released, and that was the gameplay itself.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t gotten any less clumsy and frustrating in the intervening years. Worse than that, while the visuals to 2D Castlevania games have aged like fine wine, early N64 graphics just haven’t fared as well. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but few would defend Castlevania now.

The Castlevania series is too confusing to navigate

Castlevania Advance Collection games including Circle Harmony Aria X

With no less than 26 mainline games and countless spin-off titles, few video game franchises today can match Castlevania for longevity and scale. While that’s fantastic for the sheer amount of content available when you play the series now, it does have its downsides.

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One of the main ones is that with the series abandoning a numbering system fairly early on, it’s almost impossible to figure out a logical order to play the games in. Add to that the fact that there are a dozen different Castlevania collections like last year’s Castlevania Advance Collection and the 2019s Castlevania Anniversary Collectionand it can be difficult to know where to start.

Castlevania 3 is extremely difficult

A castle level in Castlevania 3

Loving difficult games may not necessarily be a prerequisite to being one Castlevania fan, but it certainly helps a lot, especially with the early games which are some of the hardest titles to beat on the NES. However, there is one game in this tough platformer era Castlevania which can take things a little too far.

Very early Castlevania games can be beat, but no one fights as much as Castlevania 3. With ridiculously strong bosses, jumps that seem impossible, and some downright unfair levels, replaying the game provides more painful moments than basically any other Castlevania game, but the worst part is that it’s an important part of the series’ story and it feels like an obligation to complete it.

Castlevania: Circle Of The Moon is also ridiculously difficult

Two central characters in art for Castlevania Circle of Moon

With the release of Castlevania Advance Collection on consoles and PC last year, a defining era of the series suddenly became much easier to play through again. There’s only one drawback that quickly becomes apparent when you play through the games included.

That’s it Castlevania: Circle of the Moon just isn’t quite up to the standard of the other Game Boy Advance titles. While an admirable attempt to emulate the style and tone of Symphony of the night on a handheld the controls completely let it down and make an already challenging game less fun to play.

The Castlevania Netflix series has raised expectations

Promotion for Castlevania Season 3 on Netflix

With the announcement of Castlevania: Nocturnea brand new spin-off series that draws inspiration from Symphony of the night and Rondo of blood, the Netflix adaptation has raised fan expectations for the series massively in recent years. While it’s great that the series continues to thrive in a different way, it doesn’t necessarily bode well for anyone planning on replaying the games.

An entire series can do so much more with characters and storytelling than a video game, and no one would expect one medium to achieve the same effect as the other, but that doesn’t mean fans of the series won’t end up a little disappointed playing through moments in the game which the series told in a more visually impressive, if not outright better way.

Mirror Of Fate is still disappointing

Castlevania Lords of Shadow Mirror of Fate

Although not everyone was on board with the series moving to a more hack-and-slash action style Castlevania: Lords of Shadowthe game showed enough satisfying combat and enough of that classic Castlevania storytelling to get fans excited for the next chapter in the series.

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The only problem is that the next chapter was Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate, and it just didn’t take the series to the next level in the way fans hoped. Technically disappointing and poorly designed in places, especially in terms of difficulty, it doesn’t hit the heights of its predecessor, and that alone makes it harder to play again now.

Some of the older Castlevania games are seriously Janky

Gameplay from Castlevania The Adventure on Game Boy

While Castlevania 3 and Circle of the Moon both deserve specific mentions for how difficult they are, it at least helps that a lot of the difficulty in these games comes through intentional design. Unfortunately, it would be untrue to say that this is always the case Castlevania series.

Some of the earlier games can be temperamental and unresponsive, and many deaths feel completely unfair. Special, Castlevania: The Adventure for the Game Boy is notorious for how slow and awkward Belmont moves and how it makes a few sections nearly impossible as a result.

It’s been far too long since a mainline Castlevania game

Fight a monster in Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2

Rather than being a problem with the games coming across when you replay them now, it’s more of a side effect of how good the series is at times that it just draws attention to the biggest problem with Castlevania. That problem is just how long it’s been since there was a main line Castlevania game.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is the last true main title in the series, and it came out almost a decade ago now. Either in its current form or rebooted in a new way, Castlevania will soon have to return to the world of video games, as playing through the games only makes the absence more painful.

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