Game Review: Castlevania – Lords of Shadow (PS3,360)

We finally have a new Castlevania game on the current Gen systems. This go around we will be controlling Gabriel Belmont, who is  a member of the Brotherhood of Light.  Lords of Shadow (LOS)  is a third-person action title with timed sequences, unlockable combos and huge boss battles.  The visuals in the game are some of the most detailed seen in this genre and certainly make you stop and take it all in.

Early in the game, I found it to feel sluggish at best. The movement felt labored and slow in the beginning but after you defeat the first Lord of Shadow, you gain speed in both your movement and attack abilities. I know that a few people were put off on the game because of the slowness and the long narratives (nicely done by Sir Patrick Stewart) early on.  All that I could say is that it is a long game with a fantastic story so it may take a little longer than usual for it to get going but when it does, hold on.

The action is done well, your primary weapon is done with the Combat Cross that extends and acts like a whip. It also functions as a means to repel up and down walls, and  interact with wheels and levers. Through the game you will aquire experience by defeating enemies and solving puzzles and then using the experience to buy new combos for your combat cross and other weapons/items thoughout the game.

Another addition to the game is the use of Light and Shadow magic. These augment your cross attacks and grant you additional abilities like healing yourself  (light) and dealing more damage (shadow)  with attacks. Each type of magic has its own corresponding meter that you fill up when killing enemies or running across a magic fountain.  This add another dimension to the combat and managing them is critical. Having the ability to heal yourself a little bit with each successful attack seems like it would make the game easy but it certainly does not and is critical in the later levels just to stay alive. There are so many combos and items that you can acquire it can feel a bit overwhelming to use them all, you will probably try a few out and find the ones that you like or are most useful and keep using those.  The one item that I will mention are fairies. These are very useful and I found many people neglect using them in battles to keep some of the monster at bay while you focus your attacks… just something to keep in mind.

Do you like puzzles? I sure hope so, puzzles have always been an important part of this genre and the ones in Castlevania LOS will not disappoint. In fact, they can be pretty difficult and if it wasn’t for the hint scrolls lying around they may be too hard and frustrate many a gamer.  That’s right, for every puzzle in the game, there is a hint scroll that you can open and simply hit the solution button to give you the answer.  I think that speaks for how difficult some of them can be. The downfall of not solving the puzzle yourself is that you will not receive the bonus experience for it and without the bonus experience, unlocking all of the items in the game is that much more difficult.

Overall, I like this game a lot. I highly recommend picking it up if your a fan of the series or just like games of this type (GOW and Dantes Inferno etc.. ). Hours of fun and a lot of replay value.

Buy Castlevania: Lords of Shadow