Ever since I first played Castlevania Symphony of the Night back in 1997 I was hooked. I enjoyed it so much that I went back and played previous Castlevania titles on older consoles as well to make sure I hadn’t missed out on something iconic.
So, it comes as no surprise when I first heard that Konami were releasing Castlevania Requiem on the PS4 and that it was going to contain ‘remastered’ versions of both Symphony of the Night & Rondo of Blood, I was dying to ‘sink my teeth’ into to it (excuse the pun).
I will say that I have tried to stay away from any news of this title prior to reviewing, as I wanted to experience it completely for myself. So just bare this in mind if you read something below that has been announced previously.
The only question left to ask is; what does ‘remastered’ mean exactly & do these classic titles still hold up on current systems?
Lets find out…
While writing this review I was unsure how best to approach this section. I couldn’t decide if it would be best to review as though it was a new game & ignore the previous iterations of these. Or, if I should review on the assumption that people will already know these games and just compare this to previous releases.
I decided that it was probably best to review it as a comparison given that I believe most of the interest in Castlevania Requiem will be from fans of the franchise.
My first impression when loading the game (as you can see from the above image), was fairly disappointing. The menu screen looks cluttered and rushed. I feel they could have come up with something a lot better and more suitable for a classic title, this felt like something fan made rather than from Konami.
Castlevania Requiem is very much just a port of the games. There were no improvements or changes at all that I found. There are even the memory card save slots on the menu. This is a shame as the port of Rondo of Blood in Castlevania: Dracula X Chronicles that came out on the PSP had some new and original content/features that made me hope for similar innovation here.
Is it still enjoyable? Of course. If you enjoyed the original release then there isn’t anything here to put you off. It’s still in my opinion one of the best 2D Platformers ever released & the fact there hasn’t been any improvements or changes made doesn’t impact that at all.
Other than the upscale into 1080p, unfortunately there hasn’t been anything really notable here. Castlevania Requiem feels a little like playing the original through an Emulator (I suppose the reality is that’s very close to what you are actually doing).
There are a number of options to play with on the display, not in any real impactful way though. Adding things like Scanlines, smoothing etc. seems to be the limit.
Given the original was created for CRT screens at 4:3 it is nice to see that this release come with a choice of multiple backgrounds to fill in the side bars around the edge (given that most TV’s now are 16:9 or wider).
This is where the biggest changes are in my opinion (when comparing to the original releases at least). The voice acting has been re-done & while it is definitely an improvement in the sense that its better quality audio, it does take away from the originals nostalgia & the quality of the acting could possibly have been better.
Now for quite possibly my biggest issue: The in-game sound effects, they sound awful. I’m hoping that it’s just my opinion of them that has changed but they sound very reverb heavy like they were being played in a large hall with a boxy type of sound.
This will purely depend on each player. I’m of the mind-set that anyone looking to buy Castlevania Requiem is a fan of the franchise and therefore has already played, if not completed both of the titles contained inside. Because of that it’s difficult to say on the replay value (as clearly by purchasing the game they are already going back to play the game again).
There is an addition of PS4 Trophies to try and entice people to keep playing, and I do enjoy the fun titles given to the trophies (which any Castlevania fan will instantly recognise).
At a time where remasters are extremely popular (Crash, Spyro, Sonic for example), it’s clear that if the effort is put in they can make huge returns. Castlevania Requiem for me feels like a cheap cash-in attempt as they didn’t want to do this work.
Is it fun to play? Of course, these types of games will always be fun to any gamer that enjoys the retro / nostalgic feel of previous gen games. But, it should have been so much more! Castlevania Symphony of the Night at least in my opinion deserved to have that full remake treatment.
For the first time in my Thumb Culture reviewing I feel I need to give two different award votes for Castlevania Requiem and I will explain why for each below:
For anyone who has never played a Castlevania game, I give the Thumb Culture Silver Award. Although it’s just a port of a previous release, the game itself is very solid. Regardless of its age it’s good fun to play and should be experienced by everyone at least once
For anyone that already owns a Castlevania game, I give the Thumb Culture Bronze Award. There is nothing new here (apart from trophies) to appeal to anyone that already own a previous release of these titles. It’s purely convenient to be able to play them without digging out old consoles and games (unless like me you play them all the time anyway).
Disclaimer: A Code was provided to enable us to complete this review.