I loved Dead Cell, but it never felt particularly like Castlevania.Motion Twin’s acclaimed roguelike action certainly has some similarities in some of its combat mechanics. but not enough to associate it with Konami’s vampire hunting franchise. So when the studio announced they were making an expansion modeled after Castlevania, I was certainly intrigued, but also surprised. Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania is a clever fusion of Castlevania homage and Dead Cells architecture that helps explain how Castlevania DNA was part of Dead Cells.
The similarities between the two are clearly highlighted by their differences. Castlevania, and specifically Symphony of the Night, the subgenre on which much of this expansion is based, is an exploration-based action game in which castles are gated with tightly bound secrets and clockwork-like precision. progresses. Dead Cells is not. Its roguelike his biome is a mix of different pieces like Lego blocks. You can recognize certain pieces if you play enough, but it’s not always possible to create a consistent map or tell your friend exactly where your private key is. In this respect, they could not be more different.
So the blend in Return to Castlevania can best be described as Dead Cells giving the best Castlevania impression. Castlevania’s biomes are still randomized in a roguelike style, but Pieces feels more focused on puzzle-solving and secrets than his main Dead Cells game. In fact, this is one of his most impressive tricks in Return to Castlevania. It’s still built around interlocking pieces, but the more secret-solving components don’t feel contained in smaller individual pieces. It’s like building a Castlevania map.
However, the most famous homage comes in the form of new enemies and weapons. These foes range from dastardly fishmen to knights in massive armor and, naturally, to conflict with Dracula himself. As you make your way through the castle, you’ll soon find famous sub-weapons such as crosses and holy water. Once unlocked, it can be upgraded using modifiers, just like any other piece of equipment in Dead. cell. Fighting familiar enemies with familiar weapons makes me realize that Dead Cells’ deeply satisfying combat has always felt like Castlevania’s finest moment.
It mostly features characters like Richter and Alucard, who have a quick chat about Dracula’s whereabouts, but it’s useful and helps point you in the right direction. shrugs and gives you a thumbs up as you navigate this wild new adventure full of video game royalty. Several story moments reward you with powerful new primary weapons or skins modeled after Castlevania heroes.
Some of the best movie moments aren’t related to the story at all, but are when you come across a very specific Easter egg that references a moment in Castlevania’s history. I sat and watched as the dancers were hypnotized and rotated around the screen for several minutes, eventually realizing that the scene would last forever if left alone.
Since this is Dead Cells, it is very tough. Dead Cells was known for its challenges, but Return to Castlevania felt a little more difficult than the main campaign. This means it’s perfect for experienced prisoners looking for new challenges, but don’t have to be relegated to endgame content. That’s because Castlevania’s content itself provides a steady stream of powerful new gear, so you don’t necessarily have to wait for the stars to deliver the right builds to match your run.
The new batch of weapons are inventive in new ways that still feel iconic Castlevania while still fitting in with the Dead Cells environment. For example, the weapons you obtain to defeat Death create an electrifying rush into combat, prompting you to pick weaker enemies to power against stronger ones.
All of this makes Return to Castlevania a great flavor of Castlevania within the framework of Dead Cells, but it’s just a flavor. After all, this is an expansion, so it adds a few new biomes that all together make up only a fraction of the map space of a typical Castlevania game. It’s also almost trivial rather than requiring traditional backtracking to open up new avenues with additional powers. The lack of it is a reminder that this is still a Castlevania flavored Dead Cell. Depending on your luck and skill level, it could take hours to explore the content and get to Dracula, and hours more to find and unlock all the new gear.
It’s also a Dead Cells extension in that there are no easy shortcuts. After all, this is a roguelike, so even if you know the secret to finding Dracula’s inner sanctuary, it still takes quite a leg to get there. You have to start over.
These qualities are part of being an expansion to Dead Cells. Small randomized biomes and lack of shortcuts are only part of its nature as it retains its own core identity. They aren’t particularly reminiscent of Castlevania, but the entire expansion is steeped in Castlevania flavor. Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania is a smart and frenetic fusion of modern action roguelike and classic game royalty.
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