Of all the days I had to play games at TGS, and of all games I had the chance to play, why the hell did I leave it until Sunday afternoon to play Castlevania Judgement? I mean, my last memory of TGS could have been of something good, like Macross Ace Frontier or, in Konami’s case, another kick at Pro Evo 2009. Instead, I walked away from the show feeling bad. Bad for Castlevania fans, at least.
There is just nothing right about this game. Nothing. As a Castlevania game, it’s…well, as a fighter, it’s not a Castlevania game at all. And as a fighter, it’s one of the worst I’ve ever seen. Ever. It’s as though Konami looked at 3D fighters, saw what worked, what didn’t work, and just for shits and giggles, threw in everything that didn’t work.
So what, exactly, doesn’t work? Like I said, everything. It’s like a daisy-chain of failures. Let’s kick things off with the arena. The arena doesn’t work. It’s too large. So instead of fighting for 90 seconds, you end up chasing each other around for 90 seconds. Which is bad enough, but then, the camera doesn’t work. Because it’s fixed, one player will often end up running at the camera, losing all sight of where it is they’re going.
But that’s OK, because you lose sight of where you’re going most of the time anyway, thanks to the woeful controls. The players are locked into only eight directional movements, and also move too quickly, meaning you lose all sense of timing and precision. Which are kinda important in a fighter. But that’s OK, since most attacks – activated by furious waggling, no less – are so broad that you don’t even need to be facing your opponent to get a shot in. You just need to waggle and get lucky.
And when you do get lucky…boy. The game has special attacks. You charge them through regular combat. And when you set one off…you get a Final Fantasy-esque cutscene. All the ones we saw (I was playing 2P with Crecente) ran for over twenty seconds. Twenty. Seconds. Interrupting the middle of a fighting game. Oh, and they also take off around 1/3 of your damage, which for a fighter, is potentially game-breaking.
Want to know the good parts? Couldn’t see any. Sorry. It really was that bad. I’d say Konami have a job on their hands trying to get this one fixed in time for release, but with the game due out in the US next month, things aren’t looking good.