I cherished Dead Cells, but it surely by no means struck me as significantly Castlevania-like. The acclaimed motion roguelike from Motion Twin actually had some passing resemblance in a few of its fight mechanics, however not a lot that I ever made any affiliation to Konami’s vampire-hunting franchise. So when the studio introduced it was making an growth modeled after Castlevania, I used to be actually intrigued, but in addition shocked. How would that work, precisely? Pretty effectively, it seems, as Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania is a intelligent fusion of Castlevania homages and Dead Cells’ construction, and helps for instance how Castlevania DNA has been part of Dead Cells all alongside.The similarities between the 2 are minimize into stark aid by their variations. Castlevania, and particularly the Symphony of the Night sub-genre that serves as the premise for many of this growth, is an exploration-based motion sport, with a citadel stuffed with tightly-knit secrets and techniques and clockwork-like precision to its development gating. Dead Cells very a lot is not that, as its roguelike biomes combine and match totally different items like Lego bricks. You’ll acknowledge sure items after you have performed it sufficient, however it would at all times be inconceivable to attract a constant map or to inform a pal precisely the place to discover a secret key. In this regard, they could not be extra totally different.
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Now Playing: Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania DLC – Final Teaser & Surprise Reveal
So the mixing in Return to Castlevania can finest be described as Dead Cells doing its finest Castlevania impression. The Castlevania biomes are nonetheless randomized within the roguelike type, however the items do really feel extra oriented round puzzle-solving and secrets and techniques than in the primary Dead Cells sport. In reality, that is certainly one of Return to Castlevania’s most spectacular tricks–it’s nonetheless constructed round interlocking items, however the extra secret-solving parts do not feel contained to small, particular person elements. It’s virtually as if the sport is constructing a recent, albeit comparatively small, Castlevania map each time you respawn.The most recognizable homages, although, come within the type of new enemies and weapons. Those enemies vary from the lowly Fish Man to hulking armored knights and, naturally, a confrontation with Dracula himself. You’ll virtually instantly discover famend sub-weapons just like the Cross and Holy Water whereas making your means via the citadel, and as soon as you have unlocked them, they’re going to be out there for upgrading with modifiers, like some other piece of apparatus in Dead Cells. Seeing fight towards acquainted enemies with recognizable weapons actually drives house how Dead Cells’ remarkably satisfying fight has at all times felt like the perfect moments of Castlevania.The story is slight, consisting largely of characters like Richter or Alucard exhibiting up for a fast chat about the place to search out Dracula, but it surely’s serviceable and helps level you in the proper path. The spirit is playful, with the Prisoner shrugging and thumbs-upping his means via this wild new journey stuffed with online game royalty. Just a few story moments reward you with highly effective new main weapons or skins modeled after Castlevania heroes, and sporting these skins even results in sure characters recognizing and speaking to you as when you have been, say, Simon Belmont.Some of the perfect cinematic moments aren’t story-related in any respect, however reasonably whenever you come across some hyper-specific Easter egg referencing a second in Castlevania historical past. At one level I sat and watched the ghostly dancers twirl across the display for minutes, hypnotized, earlier than ultimately realizing the scene would go on eternally if I let it.This being Dead Cells, it is also remarkably powerful. Dead Cells was already recognized for its problem, and Return to Castlevania felt barely harder than the primary marketing campaign. That means it is ideally fitted to skilled Prisoners searching for a brand new problem, but it surely does not must be relegated to endgame content material. That’s as a result of the Castlevania content material itself offers you such a gradual stream of highly effective new tools that you do not essentially want to attend for the celebs to align with a run that offers you a very good construct.The recent batch of weapons can be creative in new ways in which each match throughout the Dead Cells milieu whereas additionally feeling iconically Castlevania. The weapon you get for defeating Death, for instance, creates an electrifying rush to fight, encouraging you to choose off weaker enemies to empower you towards stronger enemies.All of this makes Return to Castlevania a wonderful little style of Castlevania throughout the framework of Dead Cells, but it surely’s solely a style. This is an growth, in any case, so it provides just a few new biomes that, all put collectively, would make up solely a fraction of the map area of a typical Castlevania sport. It’s additionally largely simple, reasonably than requiring the normal backtracking to open new paths with extra powers. The expansive scope of a sprawling surroundings is a part of Castlevania’s core id, so its absence is a reminder that that is nonetheless Dead Cells with a Castlevania taste. Depending in your luck and ability stage, it would take just a few hours to discover the content material and attain Dracula, and doubtless a pair extra to search out and unlock all the new gear.It would not be a Castlevania with out dealing with down DeathIt’s additionally a Dead Cells growth in that there are not any simple shortcuts. This is a roguelike, in any case, so even as soon as you understand the key to discovering Dracula’s internal sanctum, it would take a very good little bit of legwork to get there. If you die–for instance, towards the difficult last battle with Dracula–you’ll must do all of it once more.Those qualities are half and parcel of this being an growth to Dead Cells. It retains its personal core id, so the smaller randomized biomes and lack of shortcuts are simply a part of its nature. Those do not feel particularly harking back to Castlevania, however the entire growth is imbued with Castlevania taste. Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania is a brilliant, frenetic fusion of a contemporary action-roguelike and basic gaming royalty.