As far as I've always known, Symphony of the Night was the first of its kind, going from a level-to-level based game straight to an RPG of running all over the place. It also broke the trend of using a Belmont or some relation to a Belmont, as all of the previous games did so.
As with all Castlevania games, music is great. Of course. Backgrounds look awesome, many different enemies, many different weapons, armor, items, and accesories. The only problem is every weapon is either a club/staff of some kind or a sword... so, there was poor weapon variety. And one big problem I had with the swords is the fact that the short swords seem to be slower than every other weapon... which is very unrealistic. A short sword is a light weapon, not something that takes you longer to recover from swinging than something twice its own size. Aside from the weapons, it introduced new subweapons and cloaks that will change the color of Alucard's cape. Spells are unique and fun, but hard to pull off.
The story is decent, not the greatest in the world, but decent. Voices... well, I don't understand why everyone complains about the voices though, I see nothing wrong with them. Other than they sound like their voices are echoing, but that's all. I hate the level system how if something is of lower level that you get less experience. Plus the game isn't too challenging unless you make it harder by using another mode.
A good game, not the greatest, but good.