July 16, 2008 (Los Angeles, CA) - After a week of disappointing press conferences, from Capcom's video game-free movie panel to Nintendo's uncomfortable demo troubles, we entered the Konami conference with lowered expectations. To their credit, Konami kept their focus, never broke out a single graph or chart, and kept things strictly about their A-list titles, all of which were playable at the show.
The decades-old Castlevania series is still one of Konami's most consistent money-makers, and Koji Igarashi took the stage in trademark cowboy hat to discuss the two latest entries in the series. The handheld Order of Ecclesia didn't get a lot of time, with just a brief trailer showcasing some gameplay and a lot of awkward voice acting. Our time at the Konami booth left us feeling pretty good about this title and the very fresh main character, but it was perhaps Konami's confidence in it that led to its minimal showing.
I say this because the controversial Wii title, Castlevania Judgment, got plenty of time. It felt like Igarashi had something to prove. He told us that this was not a fighting game, as it had been labeled, but more a "3D versus action game." He took the controller to give us all a thorough tutorial of the title, explaining the thought process behind each of the gameplay ideas.
While we aren't convinced that Judgment falls outside of the fighting game genre, it's certainly an unconventional example. To replicate the feel of actual weapons, the motion sensing of the Wii-mote is used to perform attacks. There's also a great deal of freedom of movement, and the camera is not strictly locked to a side view as in most fighting games, but it is instead very similar to the often-forgotten Sega brawler Dark Edge. The popular sub-weapons from the classic 'Vanias make their return, as well as a lot of usable objects in the environment. There were even some zombies and other baddies to fight besides the main opponent. Igarashi seems very invested in making sure this game is understood and the lengthy demonstration might not have been entertaining, but it was certainly thorough.