dawn of sorrow

I have a lot of... mixed feelings about Dawn of Sorrow, to be honest. in some ways, there's things that I liked about it more than Aria- there's some quality of life gameplay changes that were welcome, for one. but I'm not really here to talk about the gameplay much. even if I do have opinions! I just don't feel like talking about that.

the main plot itself is pretty blah- oh no, some weird cult is out to revive Dracula or whatever. it makes sense to me that Soma would become a target after the events of Aria, but other than that, the main story isn't really that deep. "here's two dudes who inherited vaguely-dracula-y powers and were born when dracula died in 1999". didn't we already go over that with Graham in Aria? whatever.

oh! but I do think the dialogue for the pre-established characters can be pretty fun. I liked hanging out with Yoko in her shop, for example! it was nice having a friendly face to chat with, as a break from exploring and stuff. plus her teasing Soma was priceless. Aluc-- sorry, Arikado, can be kind of cold though. but that might be just because "dammit Soma, this would be a lot easier if you didn't just barge in here without telling anyone..."

though I think my favorite thing that Dawn does, story and narration wise, is probably with Julius mode. or... the implications of Julius mode? see, here's the thing. there's like... 10 lines of dialogue for the entire thing. so there's not really much "narrative" behind it. but what I find interesting is that unlike other alternate Castlevania player modes, it's not a non-canon retelling of the same game... rather, it picks up right where the bad ending leaves off: Soma has awakened as Dracula, and it's time for Julius to fulfill his promise to him.

"If I lose the battle... and become the reincarnation of evil, I want you to kill me."

in full Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse fashion, Julius sets off with Alucard and a Belnades while Beginning plays in the background, off to go kill Dracula. except now, he used to be a nice kid who meant well, and now you have to kill him. (oh, and there's no equivalent for Grant Danasty, because... man, I dunno, why do they keep shafting Grant?)

there's not really much dialogue for this mode, unfortunately. there's a short cutscene for Julius meeting up with each of his allies, and all three of them have something unique to say to Soma at the end of the game. that's... it! I know it's just a side mode, but I was bummed, because I feel like there's so much potential here. think of the angst!! man, I'm not even usually an angst person, either. I could see Yoko being pretty shaken up about it, since she had been talking with him not too long beforehand, but Julius and Alucard might be more... disappointed, though ultimately not surprised. like they both already had a bad feeling about Soma being involved, and Julius had already been prepared to kill him if it came to that.

that being said, Alucard saying "I never wanted it to end this way." to Soma in the end definitely broke my heart a bit, haha. Alucard spent centuries trying to ensure that Dracula would be gone for good, and not only has he risen once more, but he took the life of an ally with him. I would imagine that they would be numb on some level to the idea of having to face and kill their father yet again, but more than anything else, they are just tired. so, so tired.

funny that I have a lot more to say about the non-canon "bad end" with very little dialogue, as opposed to the actual plot of the game... I just find it has a lot more interesting concepts to explore! but I think that sums up my feelings about Dawn of Sorrow pretty well: some interesting concepts, some missed opportunities, and some boring things. it's not one of my favorite Castlevania games, but I still like parts of it.

oh, but Alucard can still sit in chairs. that's really what's important here.