But there's no way this game is a D+. I gave it a B in my review, which I think is much too high in retrospect. What say we split the difference? It's a "C" caliber game, warts and all; certainly not worse than that. Once you get to Dracula's Castle (about 50% completion) things start getting much better. And you gave the game it's due; it's one of the best looking handheld games ever.
I could see how people might say an F game is trash, but even those games have some redeeming features and will appeal to a [limited] audience. I think grade inflation on other sites is influencing how people think about the grades here.
I guess most site can't afford to offend publishers because they have advertisement revenue to worry about. I don't, so I just call 'em as I see 'em.
I'm with you 100%, Critic. 1up is a site I really like, but I almost never see a grade below a C. Every major new title is almost guarenteed a B+ or higher. If you actually read the reviews, sometimes the reviewer will lament about how the game pales compared to its competitors, how certain features break the game, poor gameplay, etc, etc, and the game gets a B-... what is that? An average game is a C. A superior game is a B or higher. D is simply below average, and that's how you view Ecclesia; that's cool. I think the game is about average (C). A's and A+'s are reserved for stone cold classics. Period.
Circling back to OoE, I felt exactly the same way as the Critic did when I first bought it back in '08 - I think I ended up playing up to the crab boss, then put it down in frustration. Fast forward to 2011, I decide to give it another go when I had a few weeks to myself in China, and I was hooked. Once you get past that initial learning curve, it's one of the most engrossing Castlevania titles out there. It doesn't top Dawn of Sorrow, but it comes damn close, IMHO.