You will indeed backtrack through this landscape and hunt out old doors that new abilities will finally open, but amidst the alleyways, crawlspaces, gantries and lobbies, there's no sense of a meaningfully connected or characterful space, or of a landscape with much in the way of variety either.Despite the odd ballroom or weapons manufacturing HQ, Castlevania's city simply refuses to take root in your mind as an actual place.
If Dracula will help Zobek stop the antichrist's reappearance, Zobek will allow Dracula to find eternal peace.
What you end up with is a well-intentioned plot that's simply trying to do too many things - where the hunt for acolytes is soon confused as you track down pieces of magic mirror to cheer up your own ghostly son, for instance.
There are too many distractions, too many dimly explained agendas, and - between Dracula's castle and the dark, European city waiting beyond its gates - too many environments waiting to blur into one another.
Tracking the acolytes through a gothic metropolis suggests a fairly straightforward objective for a game about hitting people and drinking their blood.
Mercury Steam wants to tie the entire series up, though - even the 3DS instalment - and that means going back into Dracula's past, too, returning him to his castle as it existed in some mysterious dreamy yesteryear, and allowing him to have some kind of catharsis with his family.
There's no Hyrule Field moment where you suddenly get a huge vista presented to you with a sense that you can pick a path at random and discover something brilliant at the end of it.