Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Problem With Metroidvania

Today I polished off a replay of Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia and really there is this huge glaring problem with the whole "metroidvania" thing that I feel the need to express my opinion on because I'm a bit of a self absorbed twat.

Anyway, the first thing to mention is that I fucking love these games.  Aria of Sorrow being my personal favourite, but really I love new school "metriodvania" as much as I love old school side scrolling Castlevania.

So if I love these games so much, what could the problem possibly be?  Well let's think about Metroid for a moment since they are quite similar in game play.  In Metroid you explore a large 2D world, collecting powerups and special abilities in order to move forward, basically the same as new school Castlevania right?  Well the difference between the two games is that every single power up in Metroid feels useful in some way.  A life boost or a missile boost is always welcome, while in Castlevania not everything you get is very good.

In fact, while I was playing Order of Ecclesia I was collecting all the different glyphs that can be used as weaponry, but pretty much through the whole game I stuck to the same 3 and didn't really have much trouble at all.  I would constantly find new weapons, Armour and accessories throughout the game but I would end up ignoring most of them just because what I was currently using was a better anyway.

This problem really affects the game play sometimes because exploring starts to feel like a bit of a chore after a while.  I don't care about searching 100% of a map for that extra item or chest because I know that I'll end up not using it anyway.  I did explore 100% of every map because I'm a bit OCD like that, but your normal player might just get sick of being given sub-par "power ups" and just sack the whole exploring thing and just make a dash for the boss room.

Still, there is plenty of verity in the Castlevania equipment lists so you can always play pretty much exactly how you want, which is a plus.  To me these problems aren't game breaking, just a minor annoyance but I can imagine for some it really turns them off these kind of games.

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