No updates this time, I've been keeping those mostly to my thread at shmups.
Anyways, my brother was awesome and got me the new Castlevania for Christmas, knowing how big a fan I am of the series. I like it; but being a fan, I have to admit it leaves me feeling pretty conflicted. Here's my take:
I haven't stuck with it long enough to see where it 'gets better' (hopefully it will start to actually resemble a Castlevania game at that point); but my conclusion is that this is basically the Star Fox Adventures of the series.
1: Started out as a different game
2: Given to an outside developer (I'm aware the series has moved many times between different teams; but those were typically divisions of Konami.)
3: As a result of 1 & 2, the game contains characters, environments, enemies, story elements and music that are *totally* out of place, making the entire experience almost wholly alien to fans.
I'd also say it's kind of the Metroid Prime of the series as well, in the way that it tries to build on the mythology of the previous games in... admittedly bizarre (and sometimes unwelcome) ways. Why are there Central American looking ruins in Europe, guys? Oh, an ancient civilization no one knew existed, ok....wait, what? Do we *really* have to muck around with the history of a part of the world that is already pretty mysterious and cool as it is this much to get buff guys in leather whipping skeletons and vampires? Just...come on.
That said, I'm enjoying this one a lot... while I can manage to suppress my inner Castlevania fanboy at least. He rages at almost every plot point (even some of the enemy descriptions want to make me beat my head into a wall) ; but it's still a fun game and very pretty to look at.
The only thing I can't excuse at all is the music. If there's anything that could oust a game from the series despite it saying 'Castlevania' on the packaging, it's a generic and dull orchestral soundtrack like this one. Combined with some of the admittedly out-there architecture that's going on, I feel like I'm playing Lord of the Rings rather than a horror game. :|