I picked this one up yesterday and put in a few hours last night. A marked inprovement in making a 3D game over the Castlevania 64, to say the least.
The movement is very fluid, with little to no polygon slippage that I noticed. The rooms are for the most part nice and big so you can put some distance between yourself and the enemies if you need a quick breather. The backgrounds are beautifully detailed, if a little repetitive (Most of the hallways look exactly the same, but that's nothing new for the series).
The only complaint I've got so far is the item menu system. To access it, you have to move the right analog stick and you can't use items off of the pause menu. It's kind of like Kingdom Hearts, but there you had the ability to use hotkeys rather than go through the menu.
The game has been somewhat easier than I expected so far (I'm through 3 sub-bosses at this point), but I expect it's going to get hairy quick. I've picked up too few quest items for what appears to be 50% through the game (based on the percentage of rooms visited).
Also if you're into the art style, the hint book has a nifty two-sided poster in the back that my wife deemed worthy of purchase of the book by itself. I haven't used it for strategy yet, having only read the character intros and looked at the pictures in the beastiary.
It's too soon for me to recommend buy versus rent, but I'm digging it big-time.
While I enjoy the game, I have a few problems with it: 1) I HATE STATIC CAMERAS! When I cant andjut the camera it gets frustrating, its almost like you are watching a movie and you cant break the 4th wall. 2) The rooms are very similar. EGM talked about this, there are a lot of square rooms where you fight enemies. 3) Voice acting is OK, but there are some horrible synchronization with the video. Granted I know its hard to do in a video game, but I expect more out of my favorite franchise of all time
Dont get me wrong though, this is a very cool game, very fun to play, and the mood is set perfectly. However, this is not a perfect game (as I came to expect after SOTN), but I agree it is worth picking up.
Mr. Burns: You are of course familiar with our state usury laws? Homer:U-sur-y? Mr. Burns: Oh silly me, I must have just used a word that doesn't exist.