There are many notable similarities in the games, things this one got from God of War. Was also true of Dante's Inferno, really, gamers have been making these comparisons for a reason. And again, it's not a bad thing unless you want it to be.
Every little thing in the gameplay, from balancing on wooden beams, holding a button to balance yourself when climbing on a titan, the way the chained cross controls like the blades of chaos, the rolling evade, the green fire health things, overall feel. The way counters and grabs are handled and sudden prompts are more like GoW than Ninja Gaiden for example. Every aspect of the gameplay is very heavily influenced by God of War. You could say "any hack and slash game", but I personally don't think they all play the same, and GoW was pretty influential.
But yes, as a fan of God of War and Castlevania, this game hits the spot. The story is cool, the game flows well, it's got style, and like I mentioned I'm a fan of the gameplay.
*vomits blood and dies*
Excluding this game, what IS that previous best CV game for you, just out of curiosity?
Symphony of the Night. Much like this game, at the time that one decided to take influence from other games (Super Metroid), and take the series in a new direction. The DS games aren't my favs.
What happened to Castlevania kind of reminds me of the Resident Evil series. In both cases, the games got more and more convoluted and had more backtracking and became more labyrinthine. While that is a bad thing to me, add that with things like combat and controls seeming more and more stiff and outdated, and no particularly strong stories to back them up.
Then you had RE4 which a lot of the fans hate for taking away a lot of the what made the old games tick, but on the other hand it works better than what the series was doing so change is welcome. That's how I feel about this game with the Castlevania series, although its not a classic like RE4, it's a damn fine game in my view.