The “Castlevania” series has been around for over 20 years with its fair share of spin-offs and playing styles. “Lords of Shadow,” the latest reboot, brings the series to modern fans; the main sequel finishes off the saga, but stumbles in its story and presentation.
For Windows PC, Xbox 360, Playstation 3
Review Score: 3.5/5
“Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2” takes the best aspects of the 2D series and mixes them with modern gameplay mechanics borrowing from franchises like “Devil May Cry” and “God of War.”
The combat is fluid and encourages customization and experimentation. Main character Gabriel can easily switch between several weapons like a whip, sword and fists of flame. Continuous use of each weapon fills an upgrade meter that can be used to choose your next upgrade alongside experience points gained from exploration and regular combat.
Combat, apart from customizable, also allows for strategy with the inclusion of close, far and area field attacks. Movement allows for rolls and even turning into mist to avoid attacks.
There’s also exploration and platforming reminiscent of “Assassin’s Creed” and “Uncharted.” These segments are a change of pace but don’t offer much to the story. Alongside these segments are stealth sections that neuter your powers and force you to become a rat to explore.
The story is large and full of lore that fans would appreciate though it was lost on someone who is fairly new to the series.
Cutscenes are beautifully rendered with the in-game engine, but the resolution is bad. Bright lights make the normally dark and smooth areas look pixelated and rough. Close-ups reveal pixilation on the character models’ hair and clothing.
“Lords of Shadow 2” is a great game that stands on its own, feeding story bits from the first title so new players are not totally lost. The story focuses on Gabriel having to regain his powers lost from several centuries of sleep while also destroying Satan’s acolytes in order to prevent his return while. Story settings tend to switch between flashbacks, Gabriel’s castle and the modern day city.
“Lords of Shadow 2” is a fairly average brawler and platformer with several hiccups in its presentation, but the combat is some of the most fun I’ve had since the original “God of War” and “Devil May Cry 3.”
Fans of the first “Lords of Shadow” will enjoy this title, and new players may find this to be a convincing entry point into the franchise.
“Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2” earns a 3.5 out of 5.