Review – Castlevania Requiem

The Castlevania series is one of the most celebrated video game franchises of all time, spawning countless iterations in nearly every single console ever created by mankind. Ever since the release of the mostly forgettable Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 in 2014, the series had been put on hold, mostly due to Konami’s business restructuring. Thanks to the resurgence of the metroidvania genre, the announcement of Koji Igarashi’s Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night and the success of the Netflix series, the Castlevania franchise is popular once more. With the second season now available, Konami has also decided to re-release two of the most decorated Castlevania games ever made in one little bundle for the PS4, titling it Castlevania Requiem.

Castlevania Requiem: Symphony Of The Night & Rondo Of Blood_20181027205601

Years ago, I spent quite a chunk of money on a Japanese PC Engine CD just so I could play this gem properly. Now, it only goes for $20 on the PS4.

Castlevania Requiem might only contain two games, but each of those games is widely considered the best of the series. Symphony of the Night needs no introduction. Alongside Super Metroid, the 1997 hit is one of the main staples of the metroidvania genre. The other title in the collection is Rondo of Blood, originally released only in Japan in 1993 for the NEC PC Engine CD system, usually considered the best linear and level-based Castlevania ever made.

As a collection itself, Castlevania Requiem gets the job done by offering two masterpieces in their original form. The graphics have received very few improvements and you can choose the size of the screen and opt for smoother pixels. There aren’t any other visual enhancements other than resolution improvements. The FMV sequences included in Symphony of the Night haven’t been remastered, making them look grainy on a big screen. Since Rondo‘s cutscenes were made with in-engine pixels, they’ve managed to age better than expected.

In terms of sound enhancements, Konami did add some neat sound effects for both games. Whenever you collect items or save the game in Symphony’s case, the sound effects come through the Dualshock 4’s speakers instead of the TV. The score for both games has been been remastered, and they sound amazing, but they’re still the same tunes from decades ago. Why fix what’s not broken?

Castlevania Requiem: Symphony Of The Night & Rondo Of Blood_20181027003401

I miss the old voice acting…

One thing bothered me, however. Remember Symphony of the Night‘s original voice acting? Remember how downright awful but absolutely charming it used to be? Quotes like, “What is a man but a miserable pile of secrets?” or “Die monster, you don’t belong in this world,” are iconically bad, thanks in large part to the voice actors’ borderline The Room-esque delivery. Sadly, Konami has decided to include the voice acting from the PSP version of Symphony instead of the original. While it is technically superior to the original voice acting, and it even includes the likes of Yuri Lowenthal (Peter Parker in Insomniac’s Spider-Man), it’s still far from quality, and nowhere near as iconic. It would have the option of either voice over track, as I would have loved to hear that so-bad-it’s-good dialogue once again. One little saving grace, however, is the fact that you can also choose to play the game with a much more competent Japanese voice acting.

Castlevania Requiem: Symphony Of The Night & Rondo Of Blood_20181027133245

Who the hell needs so many clocks?

Castlevania Requiem overcomes its lack of extra features by providing PS4 owners with arguably the two best Castlevania games. Both games have definitely managed to stand the test of time in terms of gameplay, and are still a blast to play. In an age where metroidvanias are released nearly on a weekly basis, being able to play the game that defined the genre is fantastic, as well as being able to to play the rare and celebrated PC Engine CD classic. If you’re a Castlevania fan do yourself a favor and get this collection.

Graphics: 6.0

Basically the same visuals from more than twenty years ago, with very few (optional) enhancements. The FMV sequences in Symphony of the Night are a bit rough.

Gameplay: 9.0

With the exception of a few loading stutters in Symphony of the Night, the controls in both games are as solid as ever.

Sound: 8.5

Both games are known for their soundtracks, and they just as good now. The so-bad-it’s-good voice acting from Symphony of the Night has been replaced by an equally bad but less charming voice recording.

Fun Factor: 9.0

Two of the best Castlevania games in one collection. Both have aged gracefully in terms of gameplay and enjoyment. Castlevania Requiem is a must for fans.

Final Verdict: 8.5

Castlevania Requiem is available now on PS4.

A copy of Castlevania Requiem was provided by the publisher.