JOYSTICK: No whip snap to Castlevania DLC, “Reverie”

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, April 2, 2011

Laura, the child-like vampire from Lords of Shadow, returns in DLC as a playable character. - Photo courtesy of Konomi.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is arguably one of last year’s most underrated games.

Sure, it got some pretty good reviews, but when awards time came around no one looked at how seamlessly Castlevania integrated various genres and gameplay ideas into a smart, holistic experience full of fantasy and fantastic storytelling.

For those who haven’t experienced the game, please pick it up.

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It’s worth every penny, even if it’s a somewhat short experience if you’re not looking to collect every trophy or achievement.

Returning players will want to stay away from Castlevania: LOS’s newly-released DLC, at least for the time being.

“Reverie,” the first Castlevania: LOS DLC to hit the market, consists of three levels told in epilogue fashion after Gabriel has triumphed over evil.

Laura, a child-like vampiress he’d previously fought, calls him back to the Vampire’s Castle with tales of a new threat to the world.

At $9.99, this new chapter is markedly different from the main game from the get-go. Instead of the lush computer animated CGI scenes in the main game, players are treated to watercolor animation, which draws heavily from the cutscenes of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.

There’s nothing wrong with that, and the art style is beautiful, but it feels cheap compared to the main game’s efforts.

The gameplay is tweaked a bit, making enemies harder for players to kill. The puzzles are more complex than the main game, which made things feel sluggish at times.

The big draw of this DLC is the opportunity to take control of Laura, who can shoot lightning, suck monster’s blood and can turn into mist, which makes her super fast. Laura was great fun to play, but she’s not utilized nearly enough as there are only two areas where she’s used.

The DLC ends at a critical moment, where it’s implied Gabriel obtains Laura’s powers before going off to fight the latest final boss.

This is a problem, as Konami, which had already pushed the DLC back from its original February release date, won’t release the last DLC portion, “Resurrection,” until later on next month.

Given that it took so long for “Reverie” to come out, Konami’s timetable is questionable, which means players may wait months before testing out Gabriel’s new and improved skills.

As soon as the last DLC comes out, buy it. Buy this too when that happens.

Until then, $10 for three levels, not enough action and an incredibly crushing tease doesn’t come close to a good deal for gamers.