Generally favorable reviews - based on 45 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 45
  2. Negative: 0 out of 45
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  1. 100
    Complete with giant bosses, exciting gameplay, days of exploration, and an involving narrative, this is the best Castlevania game in years. More importantly, it’s Castlevania in 3D but done right.
  2. A change for the better - and much better than anyone could have imagined. It has the right feel, the right look, and the combat system has yet to be bettered in this genre.
  3. Castlevania: Lament of Innocence will make gamers cry tears of joy. It's a lovable, enjoyable game that, while not quite perfect, is clearly a classic. It's almost as good as Aria of Sorrow.
  4. PSM Magazine
    The gameplay isn't terribly innovative, but C:Lol takes everything we love about Castlevania, and moves it into lush, gorgeous 3D. And that's a fantastic accomplishment! [Dec 2003, p.66]
  5. 90
    Strangely enough, the key to the game's success may very well be the restricted camera. Yes, saying so is likely to get us branded as gaming heathens, but for Castlevania, it works and it works well.
  6. 90
    While it can definitely be beaten the first time through in less than eight to 10 hours, its plethora of hidden goodies, unlockable playable characters, and incredible Halloween-like atmosphere should give fans more than enough reasons to go back. But more than anything else, it's just plain fun.
  7. This game has something that very few games manage to capture; it is just pure fun. Balancing the challenge of the game with a good mix of enemies, bosses, and storyline, it simply works.
  8. Indisputably Castlevania, and nothing else. The action is frenzied and fluid as always. The entrancing musical score is as haunting as we could’ve ever hoped for, and the controls are virtually flawless.
  9. While the gameplay is incredibly engaging and the 3D environments are amazing to behold, Lament of Innocence does bare the curse of being incredibly short.
  10. One of the few video game series that succeeded in keeping up with the flow of time without giving away too much of its original spirit.
  11. 85
    The camera is a bit odd and the fact that almost all of the RPG elements have been removed may turn some people off, but the fact remains that Lament of Innocence is a fantastic classically inspired game that both hardcore fans of the series and action/platform gamers can enjoy.
  12. The only downside is the fact that the game is easily beatable in eight hours or less, but I'm sure Castlevania fans will invest a lot more time than that.
  13. Easy to pick up and get into, and the controls are sharp and responsive. While the main game will take most around 8 to 10 hours to beat, there are more than enough secrets to find to make it worth your effort to go back for more.
  14. Play Magazine
    A bold success as an incendiary action game, brilliantly nuanced in its mechanics and full of atmospheric appeal. And it's also a fantastic version of Castlevania... My criticism comes, mostly, from imagining the triumphant possibilities a Castlevania adventure holds. [Nov 2003, p.66]
  15. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    Proof that a Castlevania game can be done in 3D while retaining the essence of the series with great music and gameplay, and a stylized look. There's still room for improvement, but it's a great new beginning. [Nov 2003, p.140]
  16. While it's not as cleverly structured as the pinnacle of the series, "Symphony of the Night," it resurrects that game's hallmarks of seductive exploration and satisfying topographical progress. It breathes new life back into one of viedogaming's oldest franchises. [Jan 2004, p.92]
  17. GMR Magazine
    The stroy is treated with respect and subtle class (that is, if you desregard the lackluster dialogue), with the conclusion providing the foundation for the many evenual battles between the Belmonts & Dracula. [Dec 2003, p.76]
  18. 80
    Taken on its own terms, Lament of Innocence is a resounding success, and one of the best 3D action games on PS2.
  19. Just don’t get this game with the expectation to play something 2d and reminiscent of "Symphony of the Night." It is short, and can be beaten in about 10 hours.
  20. Executing gravity-defying jumps and mean combos in the well-rendered environments is a piece of cake, though a longer game would have iced it for us.
  21. With a wide array of competent enemies and an appreciable moves list, Castlevania: Lament of Innocence offers a fine 3D action experience with an abundance of style. "Devil May Cry" fans may find this title similar on many levels, though Leon's sub-weapons don't integrate quite as intimately with the melee combat as Dante's dual-handguns do.
  22. A few small issues (empty transition levels, 'jumpy' camera, 8-10 hr. length, etc.) can't put a dampen on the thrill of finally experiencing a "Castlevania" adventure violent-enough to earn a 'MATURE' rating.
  23. Game Informer
    Almost feels like an exercise (albeit a beautiful-looking one) exploring many of the franchise's classic components. But the end result just proves that Castlevania is more than a set of ideas, it's a gameplay experience that remains not fully realized. [Nov 2003, p.138]
  24. Cheat Code Central
    The music is deliciously gothic. Disembodied moans, shrieks and groans emanate from your speakers and float around the room. The vibe is definitely chilling.
  25. Most of the camera work is not only excellent, it’s like a good referee — you don’t even notice it most of the time.
  26. One of the easier Castlevania titles to come along in some time, and its relative short length further magnifies that.
  27. Old school fans and SOTN fans need not despair about 3D mangling their precious--trust that Lament feels the same, but thankfully, it's not at all the same. Everything old is new again.
  28. But when you forget about those flaws for a minute, the fact remains that the game can easily pull you into its grasp and keep you there for 10 to 20 hours. When the credits roll, you'll likely feel quite satisfied.
  29. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    I was terribly bored the first couple of hours. Then I grew to like it more and more. But it never felt like a good Castlevania game - just a good action game. [Dec 2003, p.212]
  30. A fun, though fairly short and simple, game that marks a promising new beginning for this beloved series.
  31. 75
    An extremely solidly-made, quality game, but lots of what gamers love about Castlevania has been jettisoned in an attempt to streamline it. The result is a very playable but somewhat dull game.
  32. Feels like "Castlevania Lite". It's got all of the story, the visual style, the whip, the weapons, and the enemies. What’s missing is the rich fulfilling satisfaction of the rest of the game – the RPG elements, the total depth that has been established since the PlayStation and Game Boy versions of the game.
  33. GameNow
    Once you get bored with the combat, Lament of Innocence will get pretty tedious. But luckily, the combat is pretty cool. [Dec 2003, p.52]
    Whilst Castlevania is by no means a poor game, it's a world away from the franchise it's supposed to be representing and instead will be seen as yet another above average "Devil May Cry" clone. Oh, how the mighty have fallen...
  35. Hardcore Castlevania fans may be disappointed with Lament because of its emphasis on action and Konami's decision to break up the castle into levels instead of keeping it whole.
  36. netjak
    A game that has “only above average” written all over it.
  37. It lacks depth, and could not be considered a truly involving challenge. Nor does Castlevania have the instant appeal and playability of other titles.
  38. Although we're very impressed with the superb quality of the things which the game does well, the multitude of things it doesn't even attempt do smack of a missed opportunity.
  39. It represents somewhat of a mixed bag, a mass of good and bad ideas that vie for dominance as the experience alternates between genuine fun and genuine tedium.
  40. Playboy
    The huge levels and tough foes are a welcome challenge, but clumsy camera angles and controls can be a nightmare. [Dec 2003, p.44]
  41. games(TM)
    The biggest complaint is the size of the game - despite the 3D stylings making everything seem bigger, the game is just too darn small to last that long for any but the most inexperienced Castlevania player. [Jan 2004, p.110]
  42. 60
    Has excellent mechanics and ideas, but they don't come together into the cohesive, enjoyable whole that we've come to expect from the series. Drive a stake through this one's heart and keep your garlic handy for the next one.
  43. 55
    If you want to walk around a large repetitive castle, Castlevania: Lament of Innocence will do the job for you.
  44. 50
    Seeing Konami’s premier Horror franchise rendered in such bland brushstrokes leaves a sour taste in the mouth, which is intensified by the fact that the game engine and combat mechanics are so well-tuned.
  45. This game plods, frustrates and bores in equal measure - stick a stake in it.

Awards & Rankings

#20 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2003
#29 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2003
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 123 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 4 out of 123
  1. Mar 27, 2012
    Probably my favorite game of all time. Maybe it's just the nostalgic value, but I am still madly in love with this game. I've memorized allProbably my favorite game of all time. Maybe it's just the nostalgic value, but I am still madly in love with this game. I've memorized all the cutscenes and can recite them by heart (and have been for years). The character development is wonderful, the storyline is great (I loved the fact it showed how the Belmont clan began), the soundtrack is SPECTACULAR, and the gameplay was incredibly addicting. I love playing as both Leon and Joachim, but the Pumpkin was incredibly silly and fun. It was the first attempt at a 3D Castlvania game since Castlevania 64 (another great one) and Konami did not fail to deliver a great game. The Forgotten One is the most grotesque and most difficult boss in the game, but the black orb received after beating it is quite worth it in my opinion. It's an amazing game that I reccommend to everyone. Full Review »
  2. Sep 24, 2022
    the atmosphere of the first castlevania chronologically Speaking simply is wow
  3. Jul 31, 2022
    This is a good Castlevania game. It's like a Devil May Cry version of Symphony of the Night. It's not very long (10 to 12 hours), but isThis is a good Castlevania game. It's like a Devil May Cry version of Symphony of the Night. It's not very long (10 to 12 hours), but is always fun. The graphics are solid, the framerate is smooth and the animation is fluid. If you liked Konami's Metal Gear 2 and Zone of the Enders, you'll have a good time with this one. I would rate it with an 8.4 out of 10. Full Review »