Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania (PC) Review

dead cells return to castlevania pc review 23030603 7
dead cells return to castlevania pc review 23030603
Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania
Editors Choice

Kill, die, learn, repeat. This is the motto of the hit game Dead Cells, a 2D side-scroller with one of the most interesting challenges for modern gamers. That challenge: reach the end of an ever-changing game while collecting cells that allow you to upgrade your character to get further the next time. So if repeated death is going to be part of the experience, why not create a setting where death is not only prevalent, but death is a character. That’s what you get with the latest DLC for the game; Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania.

Dead Cells Return To Castlevania Pc Review 23030603 1
Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania

While the gameplay remains the same, some of the environments and characters will be the stuff of nostalgic dreams (unless you’re too young to have played the original games, in which case, don’t tell me. I’m not sure my ego can handle it right now). The first time you see the names Belmont, Alucard, and Dracula on screen, you may see the character of The Prisoner, but you feel like Simon Belmont swinging his Morning Star at the endless supply of monsters protecting the castle for their master.

“…while you’ll see some old friends in Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania, you’ll also see plenty of old enemies.”

And while you’ll see some old friends in Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania, you’ll also see plenty of old enemies. Skeletons, Knights, Fish Men and the like are all there to keep you from reaching Count Dracula, but they don’t protect him alone. They fight alongside Dead Cell‘s original villains, like the Shield-Bearer, the Grenadier and the Undead Archer.

The two games feel like they were made for each other, which makes a lot of sense, considering Dead Cells describes itself as a “rogue-lite, Castlevania-inspired action platformer.” Having been familiar with the game since its 2017 release, but not having played much of it, fully immersing myself in Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania was like eating comfort food. Yes, there’s a learning curve, but the environment felt like I’d been there before, and the experience was incredibly fluid.

Dead Cells Return To Castlevania Pc Review 23030603 5
Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania

A note to newcomers to Dead Cells: you will be frustrated from time to time. You won’t be able to beat a level, not because of a lack of skill, but because something may be missing from a map that changes every time you play it. Play the same level five times and there may be some parts that look familiar each time and other parts that are completely new. An example of this was in the castle outskirts on my way to Dracula’s castle, I needed to access the elevator to get to the top of the building, which I couldn’t do because I couldn’t access the one area I needed to open the door to get to the elevator.

When this happens, you have two choices: restart or die. Either way, you’ll end up back where you started as a pile of goo crawling back into a body. You’ll go through the same steps, levelling up, upgrading your character, and preparing to go a little further next time.There are no checkpoints where you pick up where you left off. You just Groundhog Day through the game, getting better and better along the way.

Well, given this challenge, Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania itself isn’t particularly difficult. Taking on the bad guys is similar in difficulty to the 8-bit games of yore (if yore is the early to mid-’80s). Learn the patterns, master the controls, and all that’s left is solving puzzles and navigating the map, both above and below ground, to get further in the game.

Dead Cells Return To Castlevania Pc Review 23030603 3
Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania

If this level of difficulty is too much for you, or if you just want to spend more time focusing on the aforementioned puzzles in Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania, there is an accessible mode that allows you to change the difficulty in a number of ways, including lowering your enemies’ hit points or the effectiveness of their attacks on you, which can be as low as 20% of their original settings. You can also make a liar out of me and create the ability to die in the level and not return to the beginning, even being able to set how many deaths are allowed before you have to follow the rules and return to the prisoner’s quarters.

The graphics are, how do you say this? As designed. The recreation of that retro feel sets the game apart from often compared games like Dark Souls and Hollow Knight (which it also references), but the animation is incredibly fluid, and the controls are intuitive and very easy to pick up. You’ll be adept at dodging, parrying, and dispatching baddies in no time.

Dead Cells Return To Castlevania Pc Review 23030603 6
Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania

The game’s music, however, is a real highlight of this project. Have you seen the tiktoks’ where a guy pitching music for a video game says something like, “but don’t worry, it’s just a pause menu, the music doesn’t have to blow your mind,” and then the music in the pause menu blows your mind? Every track in this game does. So much so that I had to turn the music volume down to about 30% in the settings, and it was still intense in the overall sound mix of the game.

Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania is a $9.99 USD DLC that requires the original Dead Cells game, which costs $24.99 USD. There are some platforms that offer bundles for a cheaper combined price if you do not already own the original but want to get started in the world of Castlevania. The game launches today, March 6th, on PC, X-Box, Playstation and Nintendo Switch.

Final Thoughts

<div data-conversation-spotlight></div>

Latest Stories

three hour movies are here to stay 23032303

In the Wake of Films Like Avatar and RRR, 3-Hour Movies Are Here to Stay

a good person 2023 review 23032303 1

A Good Person (2023) Review

what the bat vr review 23032303

What the Bat? (PSVR2) Review

atelier ryza 3 alchemist of the end the secret key nintendo switch review 23032203 4

Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key (Nintendo Switch) Review

storyteller nintendo switch review 23032003 1

Storyteller (Nintendo Switch) Review