Game review: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2

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To be honest, the moment the game was announced I knew I had to have this game. The first Castlevania: Lords of Shadow was a capable hack and slash game, borrowing ideas and gameplay from other games and blending them to make a cohesive mix. Usually the sequel would become the runner up in comparison, but will this game suffer that same fate?

Story:

Castlevania-Lords-of-Shadow-2-7This is where it gets interesting, you are Gabriel Belmont, who after being betrayed by the God he once adored and the denial of his death has become Dracula, seeking nothing but vengeance upon those who gave him his immortality. Years pass and you are awoken to find that the world is on the precipice of being swallowed whole by chaos as the minions of Satan seek to open the Portal and usher the fiend into this realm. Thus begins a journey that will traverse space and time as you hop back and forth into Dracula’s castle and the modern world. What did confuse me was that the reason why Dracula set out on the hunt for Satan, never gets resolved. He finally finds what he’s looking for, and then he doesn’t do anything with it. Maybe this could hint at a third game.

Sound:

I have to get something off my chest, I LOVE the voice acting, when Gabriel Belmont spoke for the first time in ‘Lords of Shadow’, it fitted the personality perfectly. The accent is far more appealing than any other English accent could ever be. What I did find is that the voice constantly reminded me of the living being, called Gabriel Belmont. It gave this raging beast a human side. You can clearly tell the lineage of Trevor and the voice of Marie is soothing, if not a bit over dramatic at some point.

Graphics:

Castlevania-Lords-of-Shadow-2The futuristic city and Dracula’s Castle are both in ruin. They are both drab and depressing places to be. Yet still, this game isn’t without its colour. The robes of Dracula shine and are glossy in the light that flickers overhead. The chests of demons flare up with green flashes as you sidestep their attacks. The mist and smoke particles are extremely intricate.  Bosses are elaborate in design and camouflage. Demons aren’t the only thing you’ll be facing, there will be the guard of the city in flying suits of armour, and giant robots trying to stop you flat or rend you on their daggers. Sometimes you’ll be caught in the fray between humanity and demonic presence and you’ll have to eliminate both sides.

Gameplay:

This is what got me excited. The first game took pointers from a lot of games. This game doesn’t take that approach that much. There’s less of the ‘shadow of the colossus’ feel and less of a Zelda feel to it. Is that a bad thing? Definitely not, it gives the game a stronger personality. This shows that it doesn’t need to borrow anything to create a very amusing consumer of time.

1374171481-castlevania-lords-of-shadow-2-6The game starts in a flashback, where the tutorial will bring you up to speed, the combat is basic at that point, and it sets the pace just right. After you’ve learned your bearings and have learned the destructive force the the chaos gauntlets and the healing caress of the void sword, you’ll be fighting off a defender of the Brotherhood of Light, just when you are about to win, you are distracted by a giant monstrosity that lumbers your way. This is how they teach you about finding your way. You cling onto the robot, and you’ll climb your way up, you don’t have to worry about the thing tossing you off, so no more pressing different buttons when concentrating on getting some place on the behemoth. You’ll use the defenses of the Brotherhood of Light against them as you use their weaponry to dismantle the giant. After regurgitating blood, the thing collapses and you are left with angelic guardian of the Brotherhood of Light. Once you’ve finished this one off, you’ll have concluded the tutorial and you’ll be transported in time to the future. Where we see Gabriel Belmont, or better yet: Dracula, sitting on a lavish chair, in a cathedral, overlooking the city. Zobek will find you and will tell you all about the fate of the city, and in time, the world.

voidYou have lost the Void Sword and Chaos Claws ability, but it won’t take long before you’ve regained those. That’s where the game really shines, in its combat. It’s fast paced, it’s easy, and once you get the hang of it and start buying other moves, it’ll look like a mighty fine dance. Enemies might be difficult, but with good use of the dodge function, you’ll be making mincemeat out of most of them. It’s extremely satisfying to weave through enemies. This game often plops you in a giant room and lets enemies wail at you. That’s where the game shines, what is slightly annoying about the combat, is when you are in closed encounters. There’s hardly any room for you to dodge, and most enemies will attack with their strong attacks, which you can’t block. This in turn causes you to take damage, what’s more frustrating is that this often happens right after a very decisive fight and when you are low on health, they’ll decimate you.

1c11b330d46574ec3a46c3657a0a12fd_castlevania-lords-of-shadow-2Should combat really be a little too much for you, then the game pulls up another ace, items which help you in combat. You’ll select these by holding the down button and using the thumb stick to select which item you want to use. There are Dodo eggs, which will flutter away and reveal secrets, there’s Demon Orbs, which will grant you infinite Chaos and Void Magic, helping you break through all defenses and heal you whenever you feel like it. It only lasts for a minute, but it is often more than enough to turn the tide. Fighting is not all there is to this game, sometimes you’ll have to sneak past enemies, to get to certain rooms. Some enemies are even too tough for even Dracula to best. When their backs are turned you’ll be able to take control of them and use them to open doors and lumber past other enemies, without being detected. Sometimes the great have to take on the role of the small, even Dracula. He’ll turn into a rat and with a pack of rats on his tail, he’ll dive into ventilation shafts and look for ways to bypass the enemies.

Conclusion:

The game is less like the first game and this might alienate fans of the first game, but the combat is solid, the combos are beastly to pull off, and the plot is well thought out. If you love hack and slash games you’ll love this one.

Article by: Bart Verbeke

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