Review by Bkstunt_31
Finally, the PS3 gets to crash some castles...
While being new to the PS3, Castle Crashers is really nothing new, having been out for Xbox live for the past two years. And that's great for people with an Xbox, but I didn't have one two years ago and never got to try out Castle Crashers. Well, thankfully they found it in their hearts to bring the game to the PS3, and if you're curious about it here's what you can expect from Castle Crashers:
The game is essentially a beat-em-up adventure. You and up to three other friends take on the role of colored knights, who are having a party when a messenger breaks into your banquet hall and falls down dead. Than you find out that a evil sorcerer dude went and stole the kingdom's giant magical crystal thing, as well as a bunch of princesses (Ironically, there are four princesses...). Well, we can't have that, so by the king's orders you must beat your way to the evil sorcerer's lair to retrieve the crystal and princesses.
Well, you start off being able to talk to various members of the party you are at, who will tell you everything you need to know to play the game. Essentially you have a weak and strong attack and can mix them up to do combo's (like every good brawler should have). You can also use a shield, jump, use various items (cycle through them with L1/R1 and use them with circle), and cast magic. Every knight pretty much has the same moves except when it comes to magic. As you may have guessed by their colored uniforms and whatever artwork you've seen, each knight can perform different magic spells: the red knight controls lightning, the orange knight controls fire, the green knight controls poison, and the blue knight controls ice.
As you fight enemies you'll eventually level your character up, and than at the end of the level that you're on you can make your character stronger. Overall there's four different things you can level up in, including your basic strength and defense categories. You can also choose to level up your agility (which just makes you faster and better with a bow, one of your "various items"), or your magic. I recommend magic. You see, magic is the only category that when you level it up, you gain new moves, in this case new magic spells. These spells don't replace your old ones (in fact leveling magic up makes your old spells stronger), but they do give you new moves that drastically effect how you play.
Once you finish the first stage, you'll level up and than exit to the world map. From here you can advance to the next stage and visit helpful places like various shops, arenas, and the local blacksmith. Shops are pretty self explanatory, as you can gather money that enemies drop and buy stuff like more various items (potions, bombs, etc). Arena's are interesting, as you can fight pitched battles to gain new characters. The blacksmith is also essential, as he'll store all of the various weapons and animals that you find. What, animals? Yes, you find small little animals who float along side you in some sort of orb and help you. And there are a lot of them. Some give stat bonuses, some attack, you'll have to collect them and find your favorite. But you can go to the blacksmith guy who keeps them all stored in an ark for you. Yes, an ark. Wait, didn't I tell you this game was weird? Oh, well it is. Just ask the frog/moose thing who stores your weapons inside of his belly...
Anyway, you'll pick which stage you want to do on the world map, but they limit what stages you can access by requiring you to have certain items to access certain stages. And so you'll have to play the stages in the order that they want. You can also back track and re-play stages you've beaten in order to find new items, which is a necessity if you want to collect everything. Oh, and in multi-player, if one of your buddies dies, you can run over to him and button mash triangle to resurrect them. If you're by yourself, it's game over. But even if everyone dies in a level you get to keep whatever gold and experience you made. Overall, the game play is fantastic and easy to learn. It's basically a classic beat-em-up with a bit of RPG leveling and item collecting.
If you didn't know, the game's developers are the same people that made Alien Hominid (and the website Newgrounds), and you can pretty much tell by the game's artwork. That's definitely not a bad thing though, as the game plays exceptionally well and looks great. Character and enemy designs are unique and humorous, everything is well animated, and the attention to detail is astounding. It's amazing how a game with no voice-overs can make you laugh. Speaking of audio, I read that they used some Newgrounds member's music in the game, which is quite unique. The music was hit and miss with me, there really are some catchy tunes throughout the game, but there are some that don't really do anything but provide background noise.
Overall, it took me and two other friends probably five hours to beat it. I think I was around level 22-ish when we finished. My friend had played it earlier, on his own, and was a ways away from beating the game with green knight and he was level 27, so you'll definitely level faster if you play by yourself (but what fun is that?). But never fear, even if you do conquer the game, find all the animals, and gather all the different weapons you'll still have plenty to do. How's that? Well, beating the game unlocks several new characters. You can also unlock characters from the game's arena's. All in all there are several different characters to play as, like over 20 I'm sure. Visually, they are all unique but game play wise many of them have the same special attacks as other characters do (which is a bummer). Many of the unlock-able characters are just a form of some enemy that you encountered during the main game, which can make fighting co-op with a buddy who is using one of those characters against that type of enemy that you're fighting VERY confusing. You can also play the game's Insane (hard) mode with your most powerful normal game characters (beware, the AI is MUCH smarter in insane mode). There's also a quirky little volleyball game included that you can play if you want.
The game also features online co-op, although when I tried to play with a friend (via the PlayStation invite thing), we just could not get it to work. With random people, no problem though. One last thing to add, when you do get around to saving a princess after fighting off one of the game's quirky bosses, you'll enter into a battle royale with your teammates to the death. The winner gets to kiss the princess, of course.
Overall, there's a reason Castle Crashers was so popular on the Xbox, it's got solid game play, hilarious and unique artwork, the ability to play with three friends, and most importantly it's just plain fun. So if you like what you've read about, by all means get Castle Crashers. You won't be disappointed. Have fun and keep playing.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Castle Crashers (US, 08/31/10)
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