In what is supposed to be a reboot of the beloved series, Castlevania; Lords of Shadow does just that. It’s reboots it in the ass, and changes it into a whole new genre, in vain of God of War and Devil May Cry, although, it far surpasses those in terms of quality.
LOS tells the tale of Gabriel Belmont, relative of Simon and Trevor, a member of the Brotherhood of Light, who learns of a mask that has the power to bring back the dead, and decides to find it, to use on his murdered wife. He runs into a another member of the Brotherhood, named Zobek (voiced by Jean-Luc Picard), who tells Gabe that he must defeat the lords of shadow, in order to reunite the heavens and the Earth, so that his wife can come back.
This game is a mixture of classic Castlevania elements, and God of War-style gameplay, with RPG elements thrown in. Gabriel comes, factory installed, with a weapon known as a “Combat Cross”, that he uses to beat the crap out of enemies, and collect XP that he can use to upgrade the cross, so he can beat up bigger enemies. The cross can be used in conjunction with your light and dark powers, basically a fast and heavy attack, respectively. You can activate these by left and right triggers on the controller. When you’re not murdering lycans, trolls, vampires, and the like, you will be platforming; climbing ledges, using your cross to swing across gaps, and general gap jumping.
The game looks absolutely stunning, textures look very realistic; their faces look very alive, and their movements are very organic. This is, without a doubt, one of the best looking games of all-time. It also helps that the game has a rock-solid frame-rate. Here are some screens, so you can bask in the beauty:
Speaking of that last image, throughout the game, you sometimes fight these boss titans, who are “eerily similar” to the colossi from Shadow of the Colossus, in both looks and the way you fight them. In fact, it’s EXACTLY THE SAME as Shadow of the Colossus, except a lot harder to fall off. When fighting these titans, you don’t have that “interactive” feeling that you have while fighting SOTC colossi. You don’t feel like you could fall off at anytime; you don’t have the non-linear ways and means of killing them. It’s very linear; you just climb up the titan, hold the button when it tells you to (as not to fall off), and get to it’s weak point, hit it, done. You can’t freely move around the body of the titan; you can’t shoot it with arrows; you can’t manipulate the environment, and use it against it. If they were gonna rip off a game mechanic, at least they ripped it off a game of this caliber.
4/5 through the game, the pacing starts to lose some steam, with one area in particular, and a boss battle in this area that feels very “daft”. This is a very long game, so you get your money’s worth (the 360 version comes on two discs), and it really pays off.
It isn’t exactly perfect, but it is better than God of War, if that means anything. It is a long, fun, engaging game that definitely deserves checking out. I recommend you buy it, so you can buy all the gorgeous extra artwork.
My tastes in games breach all genres, though my fortes are platformers and first-person shooters. My favorite game series is probably Super Mario, specifically the 3D games. I also love Rayman, Hitman, Bioshock, Half-Life/Portal, Uncharted, and Grand Theft Auto. As for my favorite game, it's hard to say: I love Portal 2, Shadow of the Colossus, Half-Life 2, Bioshock, Resident Evil 4, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Rayman Legends, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Grand Theft Auto IV, L.A. Noire, Fallout 3, Journey, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence all so damn much.
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