WARNING! THE FOLLOWING REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR CASTLEVANIA: ARIA OF SORROW FOR THE GBA. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.
DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN THE IMAGES USED IN THIS POST.It's been a while since I reviewed a commercial game. It was more than a year ago and that too was a re-review (Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia). Anyway, I review another Castlevania game.
Aria of Sorrow was the most popular Castlevania games on the GBA and one of the most popular Castlevania games, period. This game introduces the "Tactical Soul System" Which is quite similar to Ecclesia's glyph system. The player collects souls from enemies and uses them to gain various attacks and abilities. However, your only attacks aren't dependent on it. You use a variety of different weapons which consume no MP, and for the most part, very balanced.
The music, like most Castlevania games, is awesome. We can agree with that.
The story is a breath of fresh air. All Castlvania games have basically the same story. Luckily, it's not as obvious as Pokèmon games. Aria of Sorrow on the other hand, changes the story up quite a bit. For starters, there's no Dracula Boss fight. The main character is revealed to be the reincarnation of Dracula and fighting off a thing called Chaos. So I say it's a very welcome change.
So what do I think about it? This game... Isn't as good as many fans claim it to be. It's by no means a bad game. Hell, it's a very awesome game all-round. But there are a lot of problems that stuck up to me.
First off the weapons, are balanced for the most part. The spears however, are really unbalanced compared to everything else. They hit fast, have long range and do decent damage. And though the soul system is cool and all, but for me it relied too much on MP. There are 3 types of souls. 2 of them consume MP. One consumes MP each time it's used to attack while the other consumes MP over time. This made it next to impossible to use two souls at the same time. It would've vastly benefited from a higher MP growth rate.
You may think I thought this game is hard because of the complaint regarding MP growth. No! This game was way too easy. The first 3 bosses appear as later enemies in game. I can understand if it happens once. But 3 boss slots taken up by a normal enemy in a Castlevania game is just annoying. During the whole game, I died about 5 times. Which is a surprising number when 3 of those deaths were caused by my own carelessness instead of actual difficulty or threats. And "Best GBA Castlevania game" isn't that awe-inspiring when your competition is Circle of The Moon (Great game but brutally difficult) and Harmony of Dissonance (Considered a black-sheep of the serious. I haven't played it so I can't comment on it). The soul mechanic is fun and all but it greatly loses potential when combined with the tight MP of the game.
Over-all, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow is a great Castlevania game but is a bit overrated.
I Rate this: 70/100
Thanks for Reading!