The Castlevania Requiem bundle from Konami has arrived exclusively on the PS4 and included are two classics: Rondo of Blood and Symphony of the Night. First and foremost, this is not a question of if I recommend you play both games, as both (Symphony of the Night moreso) are amongst the greatest gameplay experiences of all time. The question is if these ports have been spruced up enough to warrant a purchase for those who have already played them.
First of all, Castlevania Requiem is a great deal for only $20. It comes with a plethora of display and sound options for both games, with the bonus of having the Japanese voice-acting be enabled which makes Symphony of the Night, in my opinion, much more epic. Additionally, both titles have been outfitted with PlayStation trophies, rumble and sound effects, and the ability to finally play Symphony of the Night on a Dualshock 4 controller.
The graphics for both games look great with the colors standing out and featuring smooth gameplay. Thankfully, I didn’t see a whole lot of visual compression in the graphical assets or footage, and the playing on a 4K TV really brought out the best in both titles. This was a relief due to effort, or lack thereof, some ports put into their presentation and sound design.
Getting to the games themselves, Rondo of Blood was a Castlevania title I never had the chance to play, and this is probably the case for most players who buy this. Including Rondo of Blood was smart as this is a very hard game to get a hold of and the main reason for owning this collection. It is unique for a few reasons, mainly the linear A to B stages one must complete as opposed to a full map as seen in newer Castlevania titles. Multiple routes can also be taken that influence the way your playthough will go, depending on certain actions you perform.
This makes Rondo of Blood more like the Castlevania’s that preceded it, but it’s the title’s impressive aesthetic, atmosphere, and smooth gameplay that make it a happen medium between Castlevania’s origins and future. The difficulty requires both patience and hindsight, and once you get into a rhythm, there is more of an epic sequences the further you go along. The developers really used the extent of their imaginations with the visual presentation and it really stands out.
It’s easy today to show just show someone just about anything in a modern game, but what’s interesting is that Rondo of Blood also accomplishes this in a time period where you can’t even discern the main characters facial features. Rondo of Blood has never been the easier title to get ahold of, so if you’ve missed out before this is the one to have.
As for Symphony of the Night, there’s really not much to say. I only consider a few video games perfect experiences with Symphony of the Night being one of them, and I believe it is the greatest Metroidvania of all time. The platforming is intuitive, the combat is precise, and the overall difficulty scale and map design work together to provide an experience most games never even come close to achieving.
Much like Rondo, you never know what could happen next or what you’ll encounter. The use of the mic in the Dualshock 4 controller, combined with a perfect rumble feature, brought both titles but Symphony of the Night in particular to life in new ways. This is PlayStation Portable version of Symphony of the Night, and while nothing has been removed from the original PlayStation version of the game per se it does have one huge difference and that is the fact that the original voice acting has been replaced. This version of the game was released as an unlockable title in 2007’s Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles. Gone is the unforgettable line of What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets…which is a bit of a shame and the new voice acting isn’t as fun or entertaining as the original PS1 version. Luckily, you also have the option to play SotN with Japanese voice acting which is a welcome addition.
Places like the hallway I used to farm money from and farming hearts by entering and exiting a room multiple times are still there. The inclusion of a quick-save feature is great for a vast title like Symphony of the Night, although this takes the stress out of trying to find save rooms throughout the castle.
Overall, Castlevania Requiem is a must-have collection for fans and a great way to experience both these titles for newcomers. Symphony of the Night is still as legendary as its ever been and being able to finally play Rondo of Blood as a great experience. As for the collection as a whole, it’s fairly priced and comes with the advantage of finally being able to own these titles on the PS4. A few more options and extras would have been welcome, but I can’t complain about being able to play two of the greatest Castlevania games on my PS4.