Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

By TKTOWA, Posted 11 Jan 2011

I'll get this started by saying I'm not a big Castlevania fan. I know enough about the series to appreciate its mythos, but otherwise don't play the games. Most Castlevania games are side-scrolling and I understand that most fans haven't enjoyed the 3D ones. But when I heard that this one was well received(and my friend would lend it to me), I decided it was worth a play.

 

The gameplay is your standard action game stuff. You got buyable combos/moves, weak/wide attack, strong/focused attack and so on. But instead of mashing your favourite combo over and over, you're expected to figure out what tactics work best for which enemy. You won't just be attacking and dodging at the right time, but executing particular moves and counter-attacks accordingly. This added a refreshing new challenge to the rather drab(though much loved) action formula.

 

Storywise, and I promise I won't spoil anything, is less than I expected. But that's not necessarily a bad thing! When I heard Kojima was onboard I was expecting to commit to lengthy movies drawn on well past my bed time. However, the characters are introduced and playing a role quick enough to keep the ball rolling, but not too quick to not develop them enough. Instead of lengthy explanations and dialouge throughout the game it's kept rather simple. Gabriel learns some simple things and everything comes together rather quickly. It's not until the very final battle that you'll feel Kojima's writing. At the end everything hits you with a big wave of "Oooooh, okay." and everything falls into place. If you beat it, stick around for after the credits if you want to get punched in the sense-maker.

 

Trophies and extras aren't a big time waster in this game. Every time you beat a level you'll see if you missed some gems and can re-do any level to complete it's trial. I found some of these trials pretty difficult but since I'm not Castlevania crazy, I wasn't obligated to get a high percentage. I did what I thought could be done with the least amount of frustration and it was rewarding enough. Playing through trials and gem hunting also offers the chance to get more EXP and get more combos so if you're having some trouble, backtrack a bit and do some challenges and the next time around you'll be a bit stronger.

 

Overall the game was enjoyable to play, the graphics and scenery were beautiful and the story was amusing enough to keep me guessing if the final boss looked like me but naked(spoiler: he does). The Titan battles were a nice reminder of how much I enjoyed Shadow of The Colossus. If there is to be a sequel, I would definitely look forward to it.

 

8/10.

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