I was not not sure what to expect when going into Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. Going in it was one of those moments where your hopes are high and low at the same time. Looking at this game I was so afraid of this game was. It looked like a Devil May Cry clone of a Dante’s Inferno clone of a God of War clone. To my surprise Lord of Shadow feels very distinct, but not distinctly Castlevania.
Some of the things the game does the games does well. Although some of the character models look dated.(especially in cut scenes.)The visuals are detailed and vibrant, the areas look like you could explore for days and feel huge and full of life although the game is very linear. The music at time feels very reminiscent of a Castlevania, and sets the mood for when you are walking through the woods in the dark, or climbing on top of ruins only to find werewolves waiting for a battle. The platforming is very straight forward, and I found that it was not as frustrating as it had looked. The combat is very satisfying and when surrounded by enemies using the different combos to whip werewolves or trolls into oblivion is very fun and leaves you wanting more.Unfortunately LOS continues the struggle of balancing combat and exploration that the series has been plagued with over the years.
I felt the battles were too and far between the parts were I was running around trying to figure out were I was going….I mean exploring the environment. I also found my self dying over and over and over again at certain battles. The game takes a classic stance of not holding your hand too much during segments of puzzles that make the game come off as punishing, so this comes as more of a turn off more than a reason to keep playing through.
You also have more to worry about other than monsters standing in your way, the fixed camera angles offer and unwanted challange as sometimes enimes move just off screen, or the next part of the platforming is just around a corner your camera is not fixed to yet.
LOS constantly throws new abilities and systems for magic and combat that sometimes I felt I did not really understand the previous abilities use before I moved on to the next, so I had to learn somethings twice to really Understand what I was doing.The controls outside of combat feel muddy at times, some buttons and moves work on some parts and places, and at others you might find yourself falling off a cliff and standing in front of a flickering door swearing that “hey that button worked a second ago.”
For everything Castlevania: Lords of Shadow does right, I feel it gets in its own way of being the Castlevania game fans have been waiting on to save the series. I found myself trudging through with no motivation to clear a level. The game for me was a balance of fun and frustration with frustration out weighting the fun. Lords of shadow will not give you that Castlevania feeling that you crave, maybe just calling in Lords Of Shadow would have lifted the pressure of also calling it a Castlevania game.
Rating: If you must have this game simply because its a Castlevania game, you will not be able to resist. If you are curious , just wait until the price goes down, there are many other titles to check out in q4. so just call it a B- or a three star, or a 76. or a two and a half cheeseburgers.