Castlevania games are of mainly 3 types. There are games like Castlevania IV for the SNES with game-play mechanics similar to games like Final Fight. Then there are games like Castlevania: Circle of the Moon for the GBA with game-play mechanics that resemble the Metroid games. And then there are the new Castlevania games like Lords of Shadow. Personally I prefer the Metroid-vania games and Order of Ecclesia for the Nintendo DS falls in this category. [SPOILER! The following para analyzes the game's story]
Now, Castlevania games have never been very story heavy (I haven't played any of the new Castlevania games so I don't care about their stories). But I feel that Order of Ecclesia is one of the more story heavy Castlevania games. You play as the warrior Shanoa who is part of an organization called Ecclesia that studies glyphs (basically magic drawings) to destroy the sleeping Dracula. She gets chosen to wield Domius, a glyph created to destroy Dracula and her brother Albus disrupts the ceremony because he wanted to be the one to wield Domius. Shanoa loses consciousness and when she wakes up, she can't remember anything. Her master tells her that Albus stole her memory along with Domius. She tracks down Albus and finally it is revealed that Domius was what took her memory and the real reason Albus disrupted the ceremony was because using Domius costs the user's life. Shanoa returns to Ecclesia seeking answers and she finds out that the real purpose of Ecclesia is to revive Dracula instead. Shanoa defeats her master in a fight but Dracula still gets revived for some reason. Then Shanoa enters Dracula's castle that basically sprang out of the ground and kills Dracula. Now, the story itself is not Ace Attorney or Square Enix good. But it's not Doom bad either. It's neither very memorable nor very important. But it's better than most Castlevania stories. I'd also liken to point out that unlike many Castlevania games, the vampire killer whip (I think that's what it's called) is not involved in this game.
Each metroidvania game is very slightly different in terms of game-play. In Order of Ecclesia, there is no equip-able weapons. You use glyphs that you find throughout the game in battle. 3 Glyphs can be equipped at a time. 2 are used for direct action while the 3rd is more of a supporting glyph. Each of your attacks consume MP and it replenishes just as easily. Hearts are used in the game as well. But instead of a sub-weapon, you combine the power of the glyphs you have equipped to perform powerful attacks. Like most metroidvania games, there is only one playable character (I know you can play as Albus after completing the game, but that's more of an unlock-able bonus), but unlike most metroidvania games, the protagonist is female. This is how female protagonists should be done (according to me at least) because she plays exactly like all the male protagonists in all other metroidvania games. Instead of female protagonists trying too hard (in movies) to be a symbol of women's rights/strength/independence/whatever, their roles in any film shouldn't be any different from the male protagonists. Don't take this the wrong way, I support equal rights between men and women. But this is just what I think female protagonists in movies should be like.
Back to the game, this game is pretty long. If I had to guess, it's probably 1.5 times longer than Circle of the Moon. But at no point does it get boring. It has stunning graphics, challenging bosses and a great soundtrack to keep you entertained. I'll also say that the art style of this game is a little darker than other metroidvania games.
Overall, this is a great Castlevania game and a great DS game.
I rate this 75/100
Thanks for reading!