As I said earlier, dedicated players will find Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
familiar ground. The look, feel, and commencement of the game is extremely familiar to that of Symphony of the Night
. This isn't bad, though, because it's just more of the same great gameplay.
You play a newcomer to the series, Soma, a man (it is a man, despite all the pictures you've seen) who is sucked into Dracula's castle during a lunar eclipse. As you try to find an escape, you discover many new things along the way, mostly about yourself and the nature of Dracula's spirit. You'll meet a few friends along the way, as well as foes. Ultimately, though, it's up to you to defeat Dracula and escape unharmed with your colleagues intact.
As a 2D side-scroller, you hack and slash your way through the labyrinth of Dracula's castle, meeting over 100 enemies along the way. The game takes on a few RPG elements here, as you can arm yourself with a number of different weapons, armor, and bonus items.
As you progress through the game, you'll gain experience and increase in your level. There are bosses, but Aria of Sorrow isn't separated into levels. Instead, you will gain talents that will allow you to reach certain areas of the castle, which will be inhabited with bigger and tougher enemies. You can always go back to previous areas, whether it is to gain more experience or to reach certain areas you couldn't reach before.