Finding yourself a powerful weapon is a feeling almost unmatched in a Castlevania game. Sure, you could argue that the same is true of finding Souls here in Aria of Sorrow, but when you find a piece of equipment that just plain makes your basic attack feel satisfying, powerful or just plain different, it’s a fantastic feeling. This is actually even more prominent in Aria of Sorrow, where the developers clearly made an effort to make types of weaponry feel different, adding a big selection of down-swiping models, status inflictors and even guns. The following then, are a few of our favourites from throughout the game.
Speaking of a weapon that feels different, our first choice is the Rapier. The early game in Aria of Sorrow is filled with short range, weak and generally very slow models, so happening upon this bad boy feels like a blessing. We’re not about to claim that it’ll deal massive damage and revolutionise your play, nor does it have a massive hit box, but it does have one thing going for it: Speed. You can thrust and jab this thing around very, very quickly, which not only benefits your damage capability due to swinging it more often, but the shorter animation will allow you to easily return to safety after attacking.
Our next choice is one that will feel like a blast from the past: The Hrunting. We say this, because it’s the one weapon that so clearly brings to mind Symphony of the Night, where weapons that possess a strange looking ‘tail’ to their swipe were commonplace. The Hrunting is such a thing here in Aria of Sorrow. It’s not the strongest weapon in the game, but it’s a great option for the midsection of the game, and its large hit box will mean that you can stay relatively safe whilst swiping at your opponents. This is actually a weapon that we returned to quite a bit, at least until we reached some of the latter portions of the mid game, but until that point it behaved very much like our ‘old reliable’.
Ironically, in a late game filled with slashing axes and actual firing guns, one of the most powerful weapons that you can find is the Balmung. Most players tend to find this particular model rather boring, but with a little change to your fighting method it can become very powerful. It has quite a long animation, but it also reaches a great distance in front of you, which makes it the ideal candidate for combat that revolves around jumping and attacking. Key here however, is that it doesn’t really do the follow up ground attack in a quick and intuitive fashion, so you’ll mainly look to jump and repeat the action. It can occasionally be awkward due to the lack of verticality in the attack, but with a bit of practice it can be very powerful.
Interestingly enough, our next recommendation is unlikely to feel like much of an upgrade to the last. Technically speaking, Ronginus’ Spear doesn’t differ too much from the Balmung noted previously, however it does in one key aspect: It deals Holy damage. This means that it’ll perform especially well when taking down targets that are weak to Holy, which includes some bosses. It does have the ‘spear’ animation, which does mean that you’ll have to adapt your offence somewhat, but the damage possibilities versus certain targets are very high. If we’re honest, this didn’t see a great deal of use, or at least not as much as we would have liked, but that’s mainly because we had our sights set on something a little more spectacular…
Big surprise right? The most powerful weapon in Aria of Sorrow makes it to the top of our list. Well, technically speaking a certain scythe has a higher attack rating than this, but in terms of actual damage output and overall benefits, nothing comes close to the Claimh Solais. It too deals Holy damage, meaning it’ll see the same benefit as the Ronginus’ Spear above when taking on certain enemies, and it also grants a boatload of additional stats to help general survivability and damage. We’ve played SOTN roughly 4 million times, so the prevalence of downward slashing swords here was somewhat jarring at first, but the Claimh Solais, with it’s massive hitbox and subsequent damage, finally had us sold.
One question does remain however: Is it better than the Crissaegrim from Symphony of the Night? Well… Not quite. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. For us, the Crissaegrim, which featured 4 continuous slashes that didn’t interrupt movement, was far too powerful and essentially completely broke the game once found. By contrast, the Claimh Solais is very powerful and a tremendous benefit to the game, but it will not allow you to kill bosses in mere seconds alone. In other words; it’s powerful, but you’ll still need to have a brain to make it work.
Categories: Castlevania - Aria of Sorrow