Lords of Shadow 2 Might Have Been Good, Had Dracula Been Evil

Lords of Shadow 2 Might Have Been Good, Had Dracula Been Evil

As is all too common in AAA development, a complete lack of focus in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 resulted in an experience that was equally diverse and shallow.

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I like the idea of not giving Dracula an "even more evil" foil, but I wouldn't just want it to be a standard "villain protagonist" setup where you play the bad guy wreckin' shit up just to be a bad guy. You would need to give him some kind of sympathetic reason to be doing so. I kind of want to see Drac try to act like a king and get pushed off as a bum, try to go back to living the way he used to, only to find out that doesn't really belong in modern times. It would make for some great non-standard character motivation. I get sick of the "I must protect my loved one!/My loved one is DEAD!" motivation that every other game (or piece of any media for that matter) seems to be in love with. It comes across as lazy when that's a character's only motive for their actions; the story gets pushed aside in favor of a masturbatory revenge fantasy.

A game about Dracula rebuilding his power in the modern era could work, but I refer to movies like Dracula: 2000, which is so much shite on toast you can't eat it without the toast getting soaked through and turned into mush. No one wants to eat it then.

No, set it a hundred years after he conked out. Pick an era where Europe is basically skullfucking itself with diseases and war, and have Dracula emerge to soak up all that human misery into one giant ball of screaming angst. Massacre a few petty kingdoms to reclaim his power base, weather the invasion of first righteous crusader-types, then a big evil force contending for Dracula's throne, and end it with a battle against his first Belmont, sparking off the "here's where our legendary rivalry begins" kind of note.

I like the sound of evil version of Pokemon. I would play that little b!tch like a horny dog who's just escaped from the vets on his way to having the snip. On topic, it's a sad day in gaming when you can't gave the villain as the main character, that's just uninteresting. Give me a legacy of Kain game, no one in those games where anywhere heroic. Feked up world with feked up people who just wanted to fek each other up. No heros, all villains.

It's a shame that Dracula can be buggered up so much, but when appealing to the mass audience it's what you get.

There's never really been an issue with making the typical hero the villain either. From the villain's perspective (outside of Saturday morning cartoons) the hero leaping in is just some person trying to ruin your fun. Perhaps they could make our character not flawed but just irritated by that annoying fella trying to keep society clean and in order. Sure it wouldn't really make us connect with him but it wouldn't disturb the fun. Saints Row 2 pulled it off with Ultor and the police.

SnakeoilSage:
A game about Dracula rebuilding his power in the modern era could work, but I refer to movies like Dracula: 2000, which is so much shite on toast you can't eat it without the toast getting soaked through and turned into mush. No one wants to eat it then.

No, set it a hundred years after he conked out. Pick an era where Europe is basically skullfucking itself with diseases and war, and have Dracula emerge to soak up all that human misery into one giant ball of screaming angst. Massacre a few petty kingdoms to reclaim his power base, weather the invasion of first righteous crusader-types, then a big evil force contending for Dracula's throne, and end it with a battle against his first Belmont, sparking off the "here's where our legendary rivalry begins" kind of note.

Now that's a game. Where do I put my preorder?

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Instead of a lone hero placed into a world where everything's fucked and having to fight their way to a better world, we place a lone villain in a world where everything's perfectly fine, and have them fight their way to turning it into the kind of situation a heroic character might want to come along and fix.

That makes me think of Stubbs the Zombie. You've got the city of Punchbowl, which looks like a perfect sci-fi environment as imagined in the 1950s, then Stubbs crawls out of the ground and creates the zombie hordes that will (eventually) destroy everything. And somewhere along the way, the player figures out that Punchbowl probably wasn't a perfect place to begin with.

Very much says it all. Though we still get full 3D, 3rd person Castlevania games and Konami being none-the-wiser. They should make a "Strider 2014" like game with a decent challenge and focused on exploration. And yes, Dracula as the main antagonist.

SnakeoilSage:

No, set it a hundred years after he conked out. Pick an era where Europe is basically skullfucking itself with diseases and war, and have Dracula emerge to soak up all that human misery into one giant ball of screaming angst. Massacre a few petty kingdoms to reclaim his power base, weather the invasion of first righteous crusader-types, then a big evil force contending for Dracula's throne, and end it with a battle against his first Belmont, sparking off the "here's where our legendary rivalry begins" kind of note.

Or, you know, make him lawful evil instead of the chaotic evil idiot he is usually portrayed

I mean seriously? The elders in the Brotherhood of Light screwed him over, God screwed him over, he had all the right in the world to be pissed and go on a rampage of revenge, and what does Gabriel Belmont do? Recruit monsters and kills peasants who had nothing to do with all his angst issues, just because apparently that's what all "evil" people are required to do! Am I the only one who sees the disconnect?

So yeah, have this: As per above, Dracula awakens in a pestilence-ridden crapsack medieval world and begins to take over the land... and then people realize that living under the stable rule of a single despot is still better than living under the constant threat of a myriad of despots, and Dracula would end up being the best alternative, which puts both Drac and the heroes trying to beat him into a hard position they have no experience with.

But of course we cannot have that, since apparently developers are too afraid to play the "Dark is not Evil" card and instead rely on the "good ol'" good vs evil (or at least ambiguously evil vs insane evil) tropes...

How about the main antagonist is a plucky hero who doesn't really appear until the second half of the game where you have all your powers back and rule the world. Have it end that no matter how good you play the good guy wins so you can see how WE play the games from the villian's point of view.

Not sure how there would be any challenge whatsoever to this hypothetical game yahtzee suggests. Still, it'd at least be interesting.

Also, it sort of sounds like overlord, though the overlord is a bit more useless and the game isn't quite as good as I'd have liked.

In summary, previous Castlevania games just did it so much better. It's baffling how the series has gotten to this point, really. And I even liked the first Lords of Shadow game, but it seems the developers became massively lazy. Or scared to try something. It is Konami's fault? It could be.

GabeZhul:

SnakeoilSage:

No, set it a hundred years after he conked out. Pick an era where Europe is basically skullfucking itself with diseases and war, and have Dracula emerge to soak up all that human misery into one giant ball of screaming angst. Massacre a few petty kingdoms to reclaim his power base, weather the invasion of first righteous crusader-types, then a big evil force contending for Dracula's throne, and end it with a battle against his first Belmont, sparking off the "here's where our legendary rivalry begins" kind of note.

Or, you know, make him lawful evil instead of the chaotic evil idiot he is usually portrayed

I mean seriously? The elders in the Brotherhood of Light screwed him over, God screwed him over, he had all the right in the world to be pissed and go on a rampage of revenge, and what does Gabriel Belmont do? Recruit monsters and kills peasants who had nothing to do with all his angst issues, just because apparently that's what all "evil" people are required to do! Am I the only one who sees the disconnect?

So yeah, have this: As per above, Dracula awakens in a pestilence-ridden crapsack medieval world and begins to take over the land... and then people realize that living under the stable rule of a single despot is still better than living under the constant threat of a myriad of despots, and Dracula would end up being the best alternative, which puts both Drac and the heroes trying to beat him into a hard position they have no experience with.

But of course we cannot have that, since apparently developers are too afraid to play the "Dark is not Evil" card and instead rely on the "good ol'" good vs evil (or at least ambiguously evil vs insane evil) tropes...

Yeah, he could be more of a Doctor Doom, where he rules his little country and tries to take over the world, but his people still love him.

I would not want to play a game where the protagonist is evil.

But I would not want to play this game, either. And, quite frankly, the game's portrayal of Dracula missed a huge opportunity.

Personally, I hated that they made Gabriel into Dracula, which stopped me from getting the series. Because I didn't want to play a bad character. Now, they made him into a bad character in almost every way, except in being a bad mofo'.

Yeah, for all the emphasis they put into the storytelling with this series, they don't tell a good story. Figures.

VoidOfOne:
I would not want to play a game where the protagonist is evil.

Why not......

Joabbuac:

VoidOfOne:
I would not want to play a game where the protagonist is evil.

Why not......

Personal choice. I never could bring myself to be mostly, or solely, evil in any game I play, especially those with the options, such as KOTOR, Skyrim, Mass Effect, and so on. That's just how I play; I want to escape into a world where I'm the hero. Games like GTA, Saint's Row, Overlord and other games with such morality never appealed to me. I'm not that gamer; I'm not the intended audience for those games.

And I'm okay with that, because everyone has their own tastes. And hopefully, for gamers, there are several games that they can appeal to.

You don't have to make the protagonist heroic. A character who was once at the peak of villainous power, now with everything taken away and trapped in an unfamiliar world, that is a character that can be presented as sympathetic even if he did once spear babies on cocktail sticks to put in his blood martini. A character needn't be righteous and good to be intriguing and likeable, they just have to show a bit of weakness, flaw, and emotion.

For an example where this has worked like a charm, look no further than Cthulhu saves the World. That was a very fun deconstruction of the usual Hero archetypes.

So maybe you don't have to pit him against an even bigger bastard for the good of all mankind. Maybe Dracula could arrive in a world where everything is fine, and then declare, fuck fine, I'm Dracula. I don't do fine.

Did someone say Dungeon Keeper?

EDIT:

SnakeoilSage:

No, set it a hundred years after he conked out. Pick an era where Europe is basically skullfucking itself with diseases and war, and have Dracula emerge to soak up all that human misery into one giant ball of screaming angst. Massacre a few petty kingdoms to reclaim his power base, weather the invasion of first righteous crusader-types

Be careful you don't cut yourself on that edge....

Thanatos2k:

GabeZhul:

SnakeoilSage:

No, set it a hundred years after he conked out. Pick an era where Europe is basically skullfucking itself with diseases and war, and have Dracula emerge to soak up all that human misery into one giant ball of screaming angst. Massacre a few petty kingdoms to reclaim his power base, weather the invasion of first righteous crusader-types, then a big evil force contending for Dracula's throne, and end it with a battle against his first Belmont, sparking off the "here's where our legendary rivalry begins" kind of note.

Or, you know, make him lawful evil instead of the chaotic evil idiot he is usually portrayed

I mean seriously? The elders in the Brotherhood of Light screwed him over, God screwed him over, he had all the right in the world to be pissed and go on a rampage of revenge, and what does Gabriel Belmont do? Recruit monsters and kills peasants who had nothing to do with all his angst issues, just because apparently that's what all "evil" people are required to do! Am I the only one who sees the disconnect?

So yeah, have this: As per above, Dracula awakens in a pestilence-ridden crapsack medieval world and begins to take over the land... and then people realize that living under the stable rule of a single despot is still better than living under the constant threat of a myriad of despots, and Dracula would end up being the best alternative, which puts both Drac and the heroes trying to beat him into a hard position they have no experience with.

But of course we cannot have that, since apparently developers are too afraid to play the "Dark is not Evil" card and instead rely on the "good ol'" good vs evil (or at least ambiguously evil vs insane evil) tropes...

Yeah, he could be more of a Doctor Doom, where he rules his little country and tries to take over the world, but his people still love him.

That sounds like a way better game. Just to be sure, Lords of Shadow is a total reboot of the Castlevania series, right? I thought Konami tried that before in the PS2 era.

Seems Yahtzee has indeed played Cthulu Saves the World... and if he hasn't, needs to. Immediately.

luvd1:

SnakeoilSage:
A game about Dracula rebuilding his power in the modern era could work, but I refer to movies like Dracula: 2000, which is so much shite on toast you can't eat it without the toast getting soaked through and turned into mush. No one wants to eat it then.

No, set it a hundred years after he conked out. Pick an era where Europe is basically skullfucking itself with diseases and war, and have Dracula emerge to soak up all that human misery into one giant ball of screaming angst. Massacre a few petty kingdoms to reclaim his power base, weather the invasion of first righteous crusader-types, then a big evil force contending for Dracula's throne, and end it with a battle against his first Belmont, sparking off the "here's where our legendary rivalry begins" kind of note.

Now that's a game. Where do I put my preorder?

It's called Impire. It's on Steam now... and isn't very good.

Joabbuac:

VoidOfOne:
I would not want to play a game where the protagonist is evil.

Why not......

Because doing evil in a game is fun because you theoretically aren't supposed to be doing it. It's "forbidden fruit", or "naughty". Doing "evil" in a game where you're supposed to be "evil" is just another objective marker, and becomes tedious. To wit: "Being a dick in a dickishness simulator is just like being nice in any other game." - Overlord 2.

On the other hand, we have games like Dungeon Keeper, where the "evil" is essentially cosmetic; basically irrelevant, but embodies a sort-of rebellion against convention, which is the part of being "evil" that's fun.

... Basically, Blood Omen 2 but with Dracula as the main character? Yes. I would be absolutely in favour of this.

LOS just doesn't get Dracula. Why can't we just play Dracula as Evil? Dracula is supposed to consider himself the Messiah of Darkness, that humanity deserves to be wiped out like a cancer, that humanity WANTS to be wiped out because they keep going out of their way to resurrect him. This is not a troubled anti-hero, this guy is just evil. Lay waste to civilization, raise minions from the corpses of the innocent, the final boss can be the Pope. Evil. The last scene would be Dracula on this throne when a guy with a whip kicks in the door; you stand up, throw away your wineglass, and cut immediately to credits cause we know how this goes in Castlevania. That's the Dracula game I want.

VoidOfOne:

Joabbuac:

VoidOfOne:
I would not want to play a game where the protagonist is evil.

Why not......

Personal choice. I never could bring myself to be mostly, or solely, evil in any game I play, especially those with the options, such as KOTOR, Skyrim, Mass Effect, and so on. That's just how I play; I want to escape into a world where I'm the hero. Games like GTA, Saint's Row, Overlord and other games with such morality never appealed to me. I'm not that gamer; I'm not the intended audience for those games.

And I'm okay with that, because everyone has their own tastes. And hopefully, for gamers, there are several games that they can appeal to.

While I can understand the sentiment, I must bring up that "evil" really has had a pretty poor showing so far. Saint's Row really is the only game on your list (by no fault of yours) that has a solid explanation for why the protagonist is explicitly going out of his way to murder kittens and toddlers.

And that "solid explanation" is nothing more than that the protagonist finds it hilariously entertaining.

Off the top of my head is Fable 4 one of the very few games where you could argue for the "evil" playthrough being the better one.
That is: if you can disregard the facepalm-worthy third option of simply bankrolling utopia by becoming everyone's landlord.

I liked Aria of Sorrow. I even liked Dawn of Sorrow, despite Soma having absolutely no reason to be there. For me, the improvements to the gameplay were enough to make up for the weak story.

Also make Dracula have a sense of humor for f**s sake I mean he is an immortal hundreds of years old vampire king! Are you telling me he spends all his time brooding and looking moody about everything? F**king NO.

Watching Teamfourstar's Hellsing Abridged recently made me like vampires for the first time ever and I think it's because the idea that when a vampire hits that age and is virtually unkillable he or she just starts taking everything less seriously. I like the idea of playing one of these games and having a hero come up to you all like
'I shall cleanse you from this world, monster!'
And Dracula being all like
'No I don't think it's gonna play out like that, it didn't work for anybody else that's for sure'
And then you win and Dracula is like
'Yeah see that's what happened to all the others too. I thought maybe you had a plan but nope. Wasn't even a good try'
I mean obviously better than that but you see my point right? We can relate to a protagonist who is having a good time because as they player WE are having a good time. Make Dracula less of a moody sod, but don't go too far or you end up with Dante.

I noticed how every reviewer is saying the same thing. Dracul should've woken up and the future and been confused. I can't help but to think that's stupid. Dracul didn't just wake up at the start of the game. He had been up for a while, the game just didn't say for how long. He would've had plenty of time to learn about the new world. If that idea doesn't set right with you, remember vampires can gain knowledge by drinking the blood of their victims. So when Zobek left that family for him, he would've learned all about the new world. Either way, a gam set with Dracul bumbling about like a drunk would've been a waste of time and money.

I won't say anything that people above didn't say: Kain of the Legacy of Kain fame is the vampire overlord you're looking for.

Stopped reading after that trite Symphony of the Night line. The game was good, but sweet Arceus pretty much every single Castlevania game that came after did it better.

Also: Lords of Shadow 2 was awesome.

I want a game where I can be an all out evil bastard. Where people actually react to me in fear wherever I go, and no moral choice system so there's a chance to be redeemed. Why? Because its different. Sometimes I don't want to be a good guy, I just want to ruin everyone's day, since it would make me feel better. Hell, having a game where you play as bowser, and only bowser, in the mario rpg series sounds fun to me. We get to see into the life of him and what he does on his side of the kingdom. Or a zelda game where you get to play out Ganon's origin story and see why hes evil in the first place. (No, skyward sword's ending does not count to me, because its lazy writing and I want something more interesting for one of their big main antagonists.) The typical bad guy 'because hes just evil' trope needs to die off, and fast. I want some contrast, some bite, some actual fucking back stories to my bad guys. And let me play them out and experience them first hand.

I was indeed confused as well because of that. With all the fuss about him "raping" a woman on the streets I thought we'd see some kind of dark evil character.

But then they came out with a "Lord of Darkness" who's gonna save the world from Satan, err wut?

I for one don't think that the whole "Dracula should be evil because 'Evil is CUUL!'" thing would've worked out much better, considering how his backstory had been changed around to the tragic "got his powers by murdering his family", (it's a cliched backstory, but it couldn't just be swiped out for comic "look how fun it is being evil!" supervillain stuff). That said, I don't think he should've been a Wangsty "I'm only driven by the deaths of my loved ones (who I was tricked into killing myself, and rather stupidly at that)" emo either. He should at least have gotten over that within a couple of centuries (maybe he's bitter and cold, but not still constantly blaming himself, or wishing he could've "gone back in time to change everything" and whatnot) and if the "killing the wife and kid" thing WAS meant to torment him, have the wife and kid appear as ghosts, and getting legitimately furious when Dracula goes about his evil behavior, rather than "they're so good they keep trying to rekindle the light inside him" bullshit that makes the family massacre contrived in the first place.

Second, if the point was to knock Dracula all the way down the food chain, you should have him climb back UP the food chain, and drawing the forces of darkness to his side, rather than just be a one-man army with the standard holy powers being swapped out for dark powers. It'd be kind of like the minion mechanic Yahtzee mentioned, with certain incremental levels: first would be the boot-licking goblins and imps, (who join either because Dracula threatened to rip them apart, or because he's nicer (or at least too busy to actively beat them up)), then would be the more mid-ranking vampires and demons (who begin to respect his genuine leadership), and finally taming boss-level monsters that can REALLY rip apart groups of bad guys, or help go toe-to-toe with even bigger bosses (imagine a fight against a giant dragon with Dracula flying on another dragon that Dracula himself tamed in an earlier boss-fight.

And if the point was "the man before becoming Dracula redeems himself by using Dracula's powers for good", than have him USE those powers to their greatest extent at the end, such as being able to completely obliterate the "these guys are way too fucking big, you're gonna have to sneak around him" lunkheads, at least near the end of the second act. I frankly don't care if it ended up with resorting to a Bayonetta/Asura's Wrath "use the QTE's for REALLY over the top attacks/executions", as long as the end result looked like something only "The Prince of Darkness" could pull off.

The end goal shouldn't have been "kill Satan to end evil" either, or if it was, it shouldn't have magically restored the modern world back to normal. Killing Satan would either leave the human survivors to fight each other in the ruined remains of their civilizations, and/or lead to a power struggle in the Underworld for Satan's position, forcing Dracula to begin leading a dark army to contain some of the more destructive human enclaves and demonic warlords. That'd at least be enough to make Dracula "good" in a Punisher anti-hero sense, by using dark powers to stop even more evil forces from running wild, all without having to whine and bitch every other minute about it.

Samael Barghest:
I noticed how every reviewer is saying the same thing. Dracul should've woken up and the future and been confused. I can't help but to think that's stupid. Dracul didn't just wake up at the start of the game. He had been up for a while, the game just didn't say for how long. He would've had plenty of time to learn about the new world. If that idea doesn't set right with you, remember vampires can gain knowledge by drinking the blood of their victims. So when Zobek left that family for him, he would've learned all about the new world. Either way, a gam set with Dracul bumbling about like a drunk would've been a waste of time and money.

Ok, for the whole "Dracula drank the blood of a modern family, and is thus not confused by modern life" excuse people like you are pulling up, I'd think we'd all appreciate it if THE GAME FUCKING EXPLICITLY TOLD US HOW THE FUCK THAT WORKED!!!! If it was "absorbing memories", than have the memories flash by of how that family went along their daily lives, with Dracula noting the technological oddities becoming as intimately familiar to him as they were to the family. It probably would be nice if Dracula still had some hesitance with trying to personally adapt himself to modern culture, but that would've been enough to handwave away the "he's not baffled by modern technology" bit. Hell, you'd even get some nice, fresh material for angsting other than Dracula's wife and kid, seeing how they family in question must have been living nice, completely normal lives until Dracula (or Satan, assuming this family was living in a "post-Demon Apocalypse scenario") came to fuck them up, thus potentially giving Dracula a reason to restore the world to a semblance of order compared to Satan's destruction - an "evil vs. oblivion" type of deal. But, nope, that's all "subtext" (and off-screen subtext at that), which is still a case of the devs dropping the fucking ball when it comes to telling the story.

That said, yeah the whole "Dracula bumbling like a drunk" wouldn't have made a good action game either, but most everybody else doesn't think THIS game is much better - at least having Dracula trying to adapt to the modern era could've raised interesting commentary on both Dracula's morals, and how different our society was from his medieval castle shtick.

The castle could have been a lightweight collection minigame, like the villa in Assassin's Creed 2. Dracula could restore his vampiric powers by filling the halls of Castlevania with the souls of demons captured using the Fulton Recovery System.

2xDouble:
Seems Yahtzee has indeed played Cthulu Saves the World... and if he hasn't, needs to. Immediately.

luvd1:

SnakeoilSage:
snip

Now that's a game. Where do I put my preorder?

It's called Impire. It's on Steam now... and isn't very good.

Joabbuac:

VoidOfOne:
I would not want to play a game where the protagonist is evil.

Why not......

Because doing evil in a game is fun because you theoretically aren't supposed to be doing it. It's "forbidden fruit", or "naughty". Doing "evil" in a game where you're supposed to be "evil" is just another objective marker, and becomes tedious. To wit: "Being a dick in a dickishness simulator is just like being nice in any other game." - Overlord 2.

On the other hand, we have games like Dungeon Keeper, where the "evil" is essentially cosmetic; basically irrelevant, but embodies a sort-of rebellion against convention, which is the part of being "evil" that's fun.

Ungh, the Overlord and Impire. Both are so over the the top tongue-in-cheek humor-filled that it is basically one big parody parade. Being evil on those games is not fun because the developers idea of evil is from kindergarten.

Also people have different tastes from Yahtzee. Why are you certain to state being certain flavor of evil is the only fun there is to be of being evil? Just because Yahtzee and the crew roll with the high morality train, does not mean rest of gaming community all want to do the same (see backlash for GTAV). I don't always want to be nice when I play RPG's. Hell, I rarely want to play as nice guy, or even the classic thief true neutral.

Being just plain evil sadistic bastard gives even more of a kick because it is an itch that so rarely given a chance to scratch.

Exactly, Dracula needs to remember the present is alien to him. He should not be sneaking past generic rent-a-cop enemies he could just as easily kill. He should be sneaking past characters he doesn't want to kill. Like the computer science nerds from the local university who he has recruited to hack him into the blood bank or whatever. You can have a reason to limit your character's powers, as long as you, ya know, write one.

 

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