Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
|Release Date: February 25, 2014|
|Genre: Action Adventure|
|Review by: Luddite11|
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is just as strikingly beautiful as the first, and the combat is just as fluid and deep, and the feelings for beating bosses, and completing the story are just as rewarding, but there are several parts of Castlevania that really drag this game into an experience that can make people just put the controller and give up on the title altogether.
However, if you can stay all the way to the end, and put up with the negatives you will get very exciting boss fights, and a story that comes to a satisfying conclusion that will dwarf what you will find horrible about Lords of Shadow 2. If the first Castlevania had things that really grabbed your attention, then the experiences of the sequel should give you an experience you will find appealing.
The lonely adventurer Dracula
*Spoilers follow for both Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate*
Lords of Shadow 2 actually picks up a handful of centuries after the events of the first, where the main character of Gabriel Belmont went on a mission for God, but had to put up with the death of loved ones and friends, the trials of hunting down and killing the 3 Lords of Shadow to save the world of man from falling into the hands of darkness, and even after all of that, finding out that Satan himself was using this mission to break out of Hell in order to enslave humanity, and oust God.
The DLC then revealed that after the defeat of the Lords of Shadow, it broke a seal holding back a force so dark and evil, its escape would destroy the world, and only by fully consuming the blood of the strongest vampire in the world, and becoming Dracula (eventually) in order to enter the dark realm to reseal him in his prison.
Well after all that adventure, he decided to take the name Dracula, and fall into a deep slumber, during which, the forces of Hell lead by Satan's acolytes slowly took over positions of power in the world, and are now primed to bring Satan back into the world once because the only warrior that can stop him has been M.I.A. for a very long time.
Gorgon, the three headed snake boss
However, right off the bat, in the tutorial no less, you hit the first hurdle in the game, of course, you start out as Dracula the Prince of Darkness literally killing handfuls of people at the same time around wave after wave, completely stomping through the level, with a boss fight at the end, and even a small homage to the giant climbing parts of the first Castlevania, but after all of the tutorial straight out of a title such as God of War, you start out the actual game in the future (the Present) completely powerless, and then starts a segway into the stealth sections that this game has been grilled over by multiple sources.
The game is set in 2 areas, a sprawling section of your castle, but it is not set in the past as you may think, but rather it is deep in your memories, where the "spirits" of your deceased wife Marie, and that of Trevor, Dracula’s only son, who has also passed away who act as pseudo tour guides through your memories of darker times where you gain back both your powers, and the events of the last 500 years, and the Castle has some of the most notable areas of the entire game, but then you have to stumble through the second and decidedly worst section being the present day Castlevania City, where you also have to spend most of the game running around in doing errands for your new ally, who is one of Lords of Shadow: Zobek, and only because once you awakened, he gave you a deal that if you help him defeat Satan, he will grant you the true death you crave due to your existence of undead being nothing but torrents of rage and regret.
I'll kill you in the name of Jesus lol
Sadly, most of Lords of Shadow 2 being set in the present is completely thrown away due to the fact that most of Castlevania City is a bleak, cold, metallic industrial area, which quickly get boring and drawn out as you have to run through them, and perhaps worse of all, you are in the setting of a vast sprawling city that has a huge population, and can you guess how many people you actually run into? Not a single one, that little quirk gets written off as a single big chaotic event that magically clears the street. I could of seen Dracula running around crowded areas, feeding on the masses, using powers to enslave mortals for use as spies for when you have to sneak into the areas controlled by the powers of Satan, instead seeming to be written as a copout instead of an plot device.
Then there is the parts of the game where you are forced into stealth sections that they even sprinkle into the castle sections. In these unneeded sections you need to resort to cheap parlor tricks to sneak around giant guards that, if found, will kill you, and there is nothing you can do about it, and it even in the bestiary page on them, it states that they are invincible. To really hammer home this point, take this example: Now this is no spoiler, as it should be very clear the last boss will be Satan, so already defeating him in hand to hand combat once as a mortal, and on your way to kick his ass again as Dracula, they decide to add in guards you can't do a damn thing too? Satan is the King of Hell, and yet legions of these bodyguards are somehow stronger then him? Someone really didn't think it through when piecing together the game as a whole.
Lords of Shadow 2 , final boss fight
A shining point however, is the combat system, largely unchanged from Lords of Shadow, you have a retelling of the Vampire Killer whip with the "Shadow Whip" which is made by tendrils of Dracula's own blood, then you are given the Void Sword, an icy sword that acts like the holy aspect of Lords of Shadow in that it is a low damage weapon, but it heals you with every hit. Then lastly you are given the fiery Chaos Claws, which act as the shadow aspect from Lords of Shadow, in that it is a high damage weapon that will break the defenses of enemies, which in this title entails shields and armor. The combat isn't overly difficult with blocking and evading coming naturally, if you make a mistake it will be your fault, and not the games, which is the way it should be.
Overall this telling of the story of Dracula overcoming loss and grief in order to defeat his quite literal inner demons, and the solid combat system just barely edges out what will drive you crazy about this game, whether it be the overly used stealth sections, or the drab and lifeless feel of the modern day setting. However I would never let anyone play this as a launching point into the series, I highly recommend playing the first and highly superior title to see how this reboot began, instead of possibly be driven away altogether.
Overall score: 7.0 /10
Mar 22th 2014
The games you might like if you enjoy Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2:
- Castlevania series
- God of War series