Review: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

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To be completely fair, God of War style combat seems like the natural move. Had GoW been on the NES, it probably would have played similar to the 2D castlevania titles.

Yeah, they should really leave Castlevania in 2D. It really comes off as a God of War clone with the move to 3D.

Sonic Doctor:

Vyper1X:

Yeh but all the animations for the attacks look really similar as well, does that ever get any better?

Do you ever get any other weapons apart from the cross-whip-thing because one of the worst parts of Dante's Inferno in my opinion was only having one weapon.

Yes the attacks do progressively change in look, well the look gets added onto, making the attack go faster and look amazing, and having more movements in the action.

Well you don't get other primary weapons, the combat cross will always be your main weapon, though it progressively gets upgrades to it over the game's length. Of course you get the grappling hook upgrade near the beginning, but so far I have gotten another which is the chain gets spikes added to the links, which does more damage. I know there is at least one more upgrade to the combat cross but I don't know what it is yet.

You do get other side weapons/tools as you go along, other then the daggers, you have the fairies, and the demon crystal thing, and I would say the fourth one I haven't gotten yet is the holy water.

Other than that, some ways into the game, you do get a gauntlet that lets you do power punches and break down certain walls and doors when you use shadow magic along with it.

Now you mentioned in your first post in this thread, about the Devil May Cry games. I have played the those games, and I would say I like Lords of Shadow better. I haven't played the God of War games, so I can't use that as a comparison, though I would probably still like LoS a lot, because I am not the type person that draws my opinions of games based on comparisons to if it is like other games.

I just mentioned God of War and Devil May Cry in my first post because Jonh Funk made the connection to Castlevania in his review.

I'll probably end up buying it but i'll wait till its a bit cheaper first. :)

Falseprophet:

Mstrswrd:
Hey! Both Lament of Innocence and Curse of Darkness (the 2 3D PS2 Castlevania games) were good games. Not great, and not classics by any sense of the word, but good.

Totally agree. I never played Curse, but Lament was a good game for its era. And yes, it did chain weapons in a 3D game before God of War did, even if GoW did it better. Near as I can tell, Lament was condemned mainly for not being a 2D Metroidvania game.

I also appreciated that Lament tried to explain why Dracula left all these power-ups scattered all around his castle.

True, that: Lament of Innocence was a great game, I still have to go back and re-play it. Never played Curse, heard it was rubbish. I honestly loved the story in 'Lament', like how it explained why the Belmont clan has the power to slay Dracula (and only them). Most of the bosses were fun, too, from what I remember, with a couple segments actually freaking me out (walking down the spiral staircase, hearing rattling intake of breath from some unseen beastie)

Vyper1X:

I just mentioned God of War and Devil May Cry in my first post because Jonh Funk made the connection to Castlevania in his review.

I'll probably end up buying it but i'll wait till its a bit cheaper first. :)

I usually buy at full price, because I usually only have the money to buy about 2 or 3 games a year, so right now I am actually buying the limited, collector, or special editions of games, because of the extra stuff. I use to not do that, but I started getting jealous of all the neat stuff my friends were getting.

I got the limited edition of Lords of Shadow. First off, it was released on my birthday. Second, I had gotten a nice amount of birthday money early from relatives that don't live near me. Third, I had a $20 Amazon game credit that I received from when I pre-ordered Halo: Reach, so instead of paying $80 for the limited edition of Lords of Shadow, I paid $60.

That is also the reason I pay full price and pre-order doing it. Most pre-orders besides getting extra stuff, they usually offer cash credits towards your next game purchase. Last year it was only $10 credits with pre-orders, but this year it seems the big name companies, Amazon, GameStop, and Wal-Mart, are offering $20 dollars now. I guess it is because of the economy, they are deciding that a $10 credit isn't enough.

Sometimes they even listen to customers. I was waiting to pre-order Fable 3's limited collector's edition, because Amazon wasn't offering a $20 credit with the L-C edition, but was offering it for the regular. I did see that a user had started a conversation thread about that on the Amazon page for that edition of Fable 3, they basically told Amazon they wouldn't pre-order it from them because they weren't offering the $20 credit for the L-C edition like other retailers. Low and behold, after I waited on it a week and a half, I go back to think about pre-ordering it from them, and they had smartly caved and started offering it for the L-C edition as well. So, I finally pre-ordered it from them, and took a screen shot to make sure they honor it.

Lastly, if I wait to buy a game until the price goes down, I usually forget about it and don't get it. Or by the time that happens, I don't have the money to get it even then, so I buy at the time that I know I will be able to get it.

Sorry, I tend to ramble.

I don't buy games designed by the marketing department

starwarsgeek:
To be completely fair, God of War style combat seems like the natural move. Had GoW been on the NES, it probably would have played similar to the 2D castlevania titles.

Or like Black Tiger:

Still waiting for that PSN/XBLA re-release, Capcom!

Okay, first thing's first. I like that they've delved into that 2.5D aspect for some of the levels and platforming bits.

Secondly; was that a clock tower I saw? Oh man, I'm getting flashbacks, I hope the clock tower is as horrifically hard as it is in all the other games.

Thirdly; I do love a good hack 'n' slash, but I'm not sure Castlevania lends itself well to that style. Don't get me wrong, I love DMC and God Of War. But I'm also a big fan of retro gaming (hence; the avatar). It's bit of a mixed view for me on this decision; it looks like it was executed pretty well and I understand the need for progression in a series this old, but at the same time I do miss the frantic platforming and intense level of difficulty involved with the old Castlevania series that pushed me into loving it so much.

It's that addictive quality of knowing that you can beat it if you just tried that little bit harder, being frustrated when you fail but determined to do better next time. Oh, and the sweet satisfaction when you finally beat the game is one of the greatest feelings of all time when I was a kid. I actually still get that same feeling now.

Okay, who the hell brought all this nostalgia into my comment? Curse you! If you do a review of another title from my childhood I'll be stuck in a rose-tinted coma for weeks.

Hmm castlevania without the castle..

Yeah, just another God of War/Devil May Cry 3rd-person action clone with the Castlevania name slapped on it. NOT interested. When are they going to release the next 2D Metroidvania game? Order of Ecclesia was awesome.

That lycan sounds EXACTLY like the Dungeon Keeper 2 advisor's voice! EXACTLY!

Awesome. I hope it is him. He sounded like a sexy dark god.

This game has Patrick Stewart narrating.

This is all I need.

Four stars for a generic cookie-cutter patchwork of a game with uninspired narration performed by an understandably uninspired, though good actor. Is this for real?

matrix3509:
Yeah, they should really leave Castlevania in 2D. It really comes off as a God of War clone with the move to 3D.

It was not the move to 3D that made this game feel like a GoW clone.

It's that they cloned GoW that made it feel like a GoW clone.

Arcane Azmadi:
Yeah, just another God of War/Devil May Cry 3rd-person action clone with the Castlevania name slapped on it.

Aiddon:
I don't buy games designed by the marketing department

Here's to ya'll.

This is just speculation, but nothing in this game looks original. The combat screams God of War, and the "Combat Cross" really reminds me of Dante's Inferno (which, too is a GoW clone). There's even grappling and swinging, just like in GoW. Speaking of Dante's Inferno, you play as a holy guy on a religious mission against minions of evil, and you are guided by the ghost of your dead wife. Also, those fights against the Colossi titans seem awful familiar. There's even a bit where you ride Epona a horse over a gorge.
As for Patrick Stewart, he's playing the older mentor. I assume he will die and/or betray you.
Oh well. It sure looks a lot better than the last 3D Castlevania game I played.

TraderJimmy:
That lycan sounds EXACTLY like the Dungeon Keeper 2 advisor's voice! EXACTLY!

Awesome. I hope it is him. He sounded like a sexy dark god.

That's because it's him, I had the exact same thought when he started speaking and I immediately asked Google. It's Richard Ridings, who indeed also voiced the Mentor in the Dungeon Keeper games. Audio Erotica in purest form!

As for my opinion on Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, it's very clear. I've played God of War, but I really have to say that Castlevania tops it easily. True, GoW may have some interesting combat, but it got really boring really soon. The level design and game progress is also extremely linear with GoW, which Castlevania skillfully avoids. Though the levels by themselves are somewhat linear indeed, there's a good factor reminiscent of the good ol' Metroidvania titles: having to track back to catch missed upgrades with the newly gotten abilities.

Castlevania's combat is sublime. It's flowing, easy, practical, and the bosses are extremely well done. I played the game on Knight difficulty without trying out the lower difficulties first and I have to say, that's brilliant. Especially the Black Knight, truly a good fight.

The only true downside of this game for me was the soundtrack. Though it is undeniably epic, it's just more of the same. There's only a select few classic tunes (I count two: Waterfalls and Vampire Killer), and they're very minimal. Well, apart from Waterfalls, which plays during about 30% of the game. That's not good either.
I was especially disappointed with the Clock Tower level. It was too. Simple. Not even medusa heads! No wicked track (like Clockwork, Eneomaos Machine Tower, etc), but just the same old boring Waterfalls track. I really expected more of the soundtrack.

Overall I'd say the game is a 9.5, with the only fault being the soundtrack.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to challenge the Black Knight again.

PS: Wow, just noticed this is my very first post ever on this forum. Wahoo!

I just got loaned this game from a friend, and I want to give it back at the earliest convenience. And maybe slap him. But maybe he didn't know.

The framerate drops to about 20--maybe less--during the cutscenes in the introduction! There is no reason whatsoever to allow that kind of garbage to happen in your game. Ever. Especially when God of War is reliably 60 fps the whole way through. On a weaker platform. Five years ago.

I would be very happy if someone told me I could turn off "hand-holding" for this game. A ledge glows, I figure I have to jump to it to move on. And then the game stares at this ledge, which is still glowing, for seven whole seconds, and tells me in words that I have to jump up to it and climb. Thanks, Konami, I got it; go back to reading about "show, don't tell." Please. For everyone's sake.

I've got a number of other gripes with the game, too, but those are the biggest, least forgivable offenses. I tried, for about an hour and a half, to give this game a chance, and all I got was this lousy sense of frustration for four hours thereafter.

Silven:

TraderJimmy:
That lycan sounds EXACTLY like the Dungeon Keeper 2 advisor's voice! EXACTLY!

Awesome. I hope it is him. He sounded like a sexy dark god.

That's because it's him, I had the exact same thought when he started speaking and I immediately asked Google. It's Richard Ridings, who indeed also voiced the Mentor in the Dungeon Keeper games. Audio Erotica in purest form!

As for my opinion on Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, it's very clear. I've played God of War, but I really have to say that Castlevania tops it easily. True, GoW may have some interesting combat, but it got really boring really soon. The level design and game progress is also extremely linear with GoW, which Castlevania skillfully avoids. Though the levels by themselves are somewhat linear indeed, there's a good factor reminiscent of the good ol' Metroidvania titles: having to track back to catch missed upgrades with the newly gotten abilities.

Castlevania's combat is sublime. It's flowing, easy, practical, and the bosses are extremely well done. I played the game on Knight difficulty without trying out the lower difficulties first and I have to say, that's brilliant. Especially the Black Knight, truly a good fight.

The only true downside of this game for me was the soundtrack. Though it is undeniably epic, it's just more of the same. There's only a select few classic tunes (I count two: Waterfalls and Vampire Killer), and they're very minimal. Well, apart from Waterfalls, which plays during about 30% of the game. That's not good either.
I was especially disappointed with the Clock Tower level. It was too. Simple. Not even medusa heads! No wicked track (like Clockwork, Eneomaos Machine Tower, etc), but just the same old boring Waterfalls track. I really expected more of the soundtrack.

Overall I'd say the game is a 9.5, with the only fault being the soundtrack.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to challenge the Black Knight again.

PS: Wow, just noticed this is my very first post ever on this forum. Wahoo!

Not sure if this works on the 360 but I know it does on the PS3:
Copy Castlevania songs (or remakes of those songs) on to your hard-drive, form a playlist, start the game, press the home button, go to Music and choose that playlist. It's pretty cool.

PS: I think the reason they didn't use Medusa heads (or Minotaurs, or the Hydra..or any other Greek creature) is because the clueless demographic that is completely missing the fact that God Of War is basically Castlevania4 in 3D with QTEs will just start complaining about "OH! THEY USED GREEK MYTHOLOGY! CASTLEVANIA IS ABOUT VAMPIRES!"

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