#627 Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow

Posted: 10th November 2021 by Jeroen in Games
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1017th played so far

Genre: Action
Platform: DS
Year of Release: 2005
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami

We’ve had action games more recently than happened for other genres as we had some mixed genres to end stealth and edutainment with, and the variety of games meant that there was a lot of further choice anyway. I figured I’d finish on a Metroidvania game though, as the Castlevania series is a large enough one that I feel it could stand on its own here. Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow is a direct sequel to Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, the previous game in the series we played, and that game was overwhelming enough that I worry how it will turn out for this one. I’ve got a lot to prepare for.


As came up with shoot ’em ups, some genres really are just generic grab bags. Over a fifth of the games on the list are listed as action games, often combined with some other genre to create action adventure games, action RPGs or one of many other options like that. It really is a catch-all for games that don’t fit elsewhere, but require reflexes or speed to play, or where the systems are modified to require such rather than relying on stats or allowing for thinking.

As such, it’s hard to say much here when it covers so much of the games. Some work better for me than others, but as it’s been around forever, the genre matters. It’s whatever each game wants to be, although what I can say is that the addition of ‘action’ to another genre isn’t my thing – I prefer to plan and think ahead further, which these games stop me from doing quite as much.

Our Thoughts

This game starts off making clear it’s a sequel – the intro text references a lot of things in that game, a lot of it went over my head. The game then continues to play similar – killing enemies and occasionally collecting power of them, as you level up and increase your abilities. It’s quite fun, but after the first boss I did find myself getting lost, at times panicking as I ran around avoiding enemies while not being quite sure where to go. In the end I started pushing ahead, but without story or direction I wasn’t entirely sure where to go every time.

The game features one update that I noticed that tied it to the handheld system. You can learn sigils that you draw on the touch screen at certain point. The first comes in just before you defeat the first boss, and it’s a seal you’re meant to use to seal them away as a permanent defeat. It’s a nice touch, but even as it’s just to draw a triangle, I either kept getting the timing wrong or drawing it not quite right, so I had to repeat the same set of moves several times before I got anywhere with it. It’s frustrating and not really how I feel the game should have responded. These sigils are also only used for a few boss fights and plot doors each, making them seem like even more of a gimmick introduced to justify them being on the handheld.

That first boss was frustrating anyway. It was a real roadblock a few minutes into the game – it has high HP, does high damage, and from a distance. You have a short range only, while needing to hit it a lot, so I ended up using most of my potions just on the first boss. Combined with the repeats from having to redraw the sigil several times, I got to a place where the first boss was too much to take on, really limiting how much further I wanted to get and inducing the anxiety that made me want to run away from them as much as I could.

Final Thoughts

While I like the concept of Castlevania, I’ve been finding it somewhat obtuse to find my way through. The normal parts of the level are fine, if at times feeling a bit too labyrinthine, but the first boss really put me off trying much more. I got incredibly cautious in how I played, which kept me from proceeding much further. There’s something I enjoy in here, it’s just not right here with this game.