Have you ever been a BIG fan of the series and eagerly awaited the series' debut on one of your favorite systems only to find that they've totally butchered the game and not even stuck to the original genre? Yeah, I feel for Castlevania Judgement and amplified version of the disappointment I felt for Soul Calibur Legends years and years ago. Konami tried to bring Castlevania to the Wii, but they did a...pretty lackluster job of it, all things considered. They made it a fighting game, and it isn't even a particularly good version.
The basic premise of the game is that some rival of Dracula's from a bajillion years in the future ripped space-time to destroy him and some dude cosplaying as The Doctor decides to chill in the time rift created to find strong folks who stop the evil rival dude's plan. Thirteen characters from the Castlevania series are summoned to some forest or whatever to fight each other in trials to determine who's strong enough to beat the bad guy. To get the "true" ending, you end up having to play through the ten stage "story" mode fifteen times - once as each of the 13 Castlevania characters, then once again as any one of the 13 Castlevania characters, and then once as the character original to Judgement. It usually starts to feel boring after around stage 4.
The game's visuals are okay. In general, the character models and environments look pretty good. The problem is the with the character animations, specifically the facial animations. During cut scenes, the faces are COMPLETELY static except for the mouths. The eyes don't move, the cheeks don't move, the eyebrows don't move. The lips are the only things that move. Once in a blue moon, a character might blink, but that's it. It looks SUPER unnatural. The dialogue is extraordinarily boring, though, so I usually just skipped the cut scenes anyway. The character models also look extremely out of place; they look like anime characters, not Castlevania characters. Dracula is the only character whom I though looked REMOTELY like he's supposed to.
The actual gameplay is the epitome of mediocrity. It's a 3D fighter, but it's not a particularly well made one. It's easier to miss attacks outright than any other 3D fighter I've played, and while all of the characters are fairly unique in terms of their weapons and attacks, most of them feel rather...generic. Their special attacks are the only things that feel remotely special about most of the characters. Dracula and Golem are basically the only characters that felt at all special or unique to me. It's not that the gameplay is bad, per se, but it's just an early 2000s 3D version of the me-too fighters of the mid 90s.
Castlevania Judgement is one of the most mediocre 3D fighters that I've ever played. It's not bad, but it's definitely not good. Normally when games fall into that category, I say that only hardcore fans of the series should bother. Castlevania Judgement is the opposite; fans of the Castlevania are the ones most likely to be disappointed with this game. If you just want a random fighting game to kill some time with, then sure, snag a copy of this, but you're better off with pretty much anything else in the genre.
My Rating - 2 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.