Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Castlevania: Lord of Shadows | Review

Synopsis: Konami has released its new console entry to the vampire slayer series and with a game that was a solid platformer on the handheld Nintendo DS, let’s see how it fares on the next gen consoles. In Lord of Shadows, you assume the role of Gabriel Belmont, member of the Brotherhood of Light, on a mission to destroy the Lord of Shadows and release his murdered wife from limbo. You will traverse across a world crawling with creatures of darkness wreaking chaos, using your combat cross to destroy these creatures and use their powers to bring balance back to this wasteland. This new entry is not your typical Castlevania title as this is more of a third person action adventure game puzzler rather than the platformer of past entries. This Belmont totes a combat cross over the trusted and effective whip, however, the cross is still able to be used as a whip and can also be upgraded to do much, much more. Will Lord of Shadows stand out as the next Castlevania entry or fall short like Lament of Innocence?

Praise: Belmont, check! Whip type weapon, check! Plethora of baddies to send back to hell, check! After being disappointed with Lament of Innocence, I was more than skeptical about the new release, and after playing five of what looks like twelve chapters, I am looking forward to completing this action filled vamp slayer. The graphics are stunning from the environment to the characters and the dramatic cut scenes. The action is fast and fluid; with the ability to unlock new moves and magical powers which play similar to other triple A action titles. With just shy of 10 hours about halfway through the story, there is a lot being offered by Konami and it looks like they made a lot of changes from the last attempt to make sure they did not make the same mistake twice. For all the completionists, Konami has made it so that this game won’t be completed in one playthrough by adding challenges to each level, and with to ability to upgrade skills, when you go back and replay levels, you will have access to areas that weren’t available the first time through.

Gripes: Yes, the Castlevania fanboy does have some issues with this entry and feels that the developers have strayed from their roots. First and foremost, where is the castle? You do fight in the obligatory castle, however, it seems as though the majority of the gameplay environments are forests, ruins, and cliffs. You will encounter familiar enemies as well, but there are also a lot of new enemies that I was not familiar with from the previous entries. In regards to the levels, each is around 20 to 30 minutes each, and each starts with a dialogue from a mysterious character, but the cut scenes are so gorgeous, I almost wish the dialogue was replaced with cut scenes as the majority of them are short in length. In regards to environment and camera controls, well, there is no camera controls, and I found myself jumping aimlessly at walls as many of times I would not be able to determine where I could or couldn’t go.

Overall, it is a Castlevania through and through. With lots and I mean lots of replay value for the hardcore fans and an enjoyable experience for those new to the franchise, Lord of Shadows is a great action adventure game. Little issues aside, that were rather frustrating at times, all was forgiven at each level complete screen. With a number of moves, magic abilities, and mounts, there is a countless number of ways to take down the supernatural enemies and epically large boss fights.

Mashbuttons.com gives Castlevania: Lord of Shadows an 8 out of 10.

Castlevania: Lord of Shadows is available now for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't mind the lack of castles. I actually thought there was plenty of castle. What was unforgivable was the camera, especially in the Titan Graveyard level. How do they expect you to randomly turn to the right in a black cave with no way of looking right? If you've played the level, you know what I mean.