Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (PS3) Review


Well, last night I lost track of time playing this game and decided I may as well finish it. I couldn’t put it down, and I was determined to finish it. It was a great adventure, and I’d do it again (and likely will). This is a review of the game being played through on “Warrior” difficulty.

What was done well in this game? Graphics, Controls, Combat, Hidden Items, Boss Battles, Story

This game looks fantastic. Monsters all have smooth animations, and the models look great. The environments are well done, and on the occasions that the camera zooms out to show off a distant castle or landscape, it gives me a nice warm feeling inside. No complaints, other than on rare occasions it may slow down a tiny bit, but not enough to bother me very much.

The controls are well laid out, responsive and feel like they should. There were some instances where I’d try to move away from a ledge, and the character would move off the ledge due to the animation. That was annoying sometimes, but otherwise it was fine.

Combat was great. At first, the game starts off easy, with just simple button mashing and what not. There are also grab moves and indicators on some creatures when they are stunned for you to grab them and finish them off. You can also stun large creatures and use them for mounts, which can be entertaining during a fight (but it’s usually for getting by a certain area due to a door). After a while, building up experience points and gaining new relics allows you to use magic and buy new combos. Some are more useful than others, but add a great deal of depth to the combat. A lot are not necessary, but are still fun enough to use.

There are hidden items all over the place in this game, and you’ll find them on corpses, and in big Brotherhood of Light boxes. Gems for upgrading your health meter and magic meters are found on corpses, and finding them all grants you trophies as well. Finding all of the weapon upgrades does too, I think. The weapon upgrades allow you to hold more throwing daggers, fairies, and holy water. I enjoy exploring for hidden items, and I did find most of the gems. Still need to go back and find the Brotherhood boxes though. Some of them cannot be found until you have all of the relics.

There are a few boss battles in the game that are huge. Literally. If you’ve played Shadow of the Colossus, and you enjoyed it, then you’ll love these boss fights. Nothing like climbing all over a giant and hanging on for dear life, while trying to stab weak spots (runes) in certain points on it’s body. There are other bosses besides these, but the giant bosses were the ones worth mentioning. Other boss fights can be challenging, but not quit as breath-taking.

The story in this game follows Gabriel Belmont as he fights through many levels of monsters in hopes to save the world from the Lords of Shadow. Gabriel is driven by love. The Lords of Shadow are responsible for his wife’s death, and it’s time for some pay back. Might as well save the world while we’re at it, I guess. He is part of the Brotherhood of Light, and so is told of a prophecy. One that is pure of heart will defeat the Lords of Shadow and take their power for himself. With this power, Gabriel can bring his wife back from the dead and save the world.

The journey takes Gabriel through 3 different lands. One ruled by Lycans, one ruled by Vampires, and the final one ruled by Necromancers and Death. Your character grows and makes discoveries about the prophecy and himself as you progress, so you’re always learning something new and growing a bit closer to the character. Mind you, sometimes Gabriel is a little too sad and whiny and I want to smack the emo out of him, but it’s not a huge deal.

I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, but there is a twist near the end, and when you beat the game and the credits are over, keep watching. There is a sequel implied. And I cannot wait. You also unlock “Paladin” difficulty.

What could have been better? Chubacabre, Jumping, Camera Angles, Puzzles

Chuibacabre are tiny creatures that take all of your shit and run away with it. They play hide and seek with you, and it’s fucking annoying as shit and unnecessary. I think that it happens 3 or 4 times in the whole game, but that is enough for me to make a note about it.

Jumping can sometimes be a pain in the ass. It’s tough to control the distance that you jump and when it comes to pricision jumping onto moving platforms, it makes for some frustrating moments. Especially with the next point.

Camera angles. Sometimes the camera moves in a way where you can’t see the enemy, or it moves when you’re jumping. Either way can lead to frustrations if you die from it. This wasn’t a huge problem for a lot of the game, but there were some instances where I cursed the camera.

The puzzles in the game were all fine and dandy, but were all just very simple. There’s even an option to skip the puzzles all together, but you don’t get the experience points for solving it on your own if you do that. I kind of wish they were a bit more challenging is all.

Overall

With the minor gripes about the game aside, I am very happy with the game and the 20 or so hours I spent playing it. It had a slow start to it, but once I got into the game, it was hard to put down the controller. I sat up and played the game the other night, lost track of time, and before I knew it, it was 6 a.m.. It was definitely worth purchasing, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys hack and slash adventure games like Devil May Cry, Castlevania fans, and those who enjoyed Shadow of the Colossus.

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