[rokbox title=”Castlevania Lord of Shadows Review” thumb=”http://www.geeksofgaming.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/castlevania41.jpg” size=”854 505″ ]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVl6IDggHfI&hd=1&autoplay=1[/rokbox]
Castlevania: Lord of Shadows features Gabriel Belmont who has recently lost his wife. The Brotherhood of Knights sends him off on a quest to learn the truth about what is happening in his world. However his true goal lies in trying to bring his wife back from the realm of oblivion. So his journey requires him to slay anything that gets in his way, so that he can finally see his loved one again.
• The graphical presentation for Castlevania is breathtaking. The character models look extraordinary, and that’s not counting the highly detailed enemies you’ll face. Yet, the environments themselves are what really steal the show in this game. You’ll navigate through foreboding towns, and rain forests filled with lush vegetation. Each offering its own form of beauty in some way or the other.
• The power scales tip towards Gabriel. You won’t notice it in the first chapter of the game, but by the second chapter… there will be a noticeable difference in Gabriel’s power. Most of it comes in the form of earning skills by simply progressing through the game. But you also have the power to upgrade his battle prowess by spending experience for new moves.
• The constant change in game play mechanics as you explore areas. Mainly in the form of fighting monsters and bosses, the combat will force you to think on your feet in many ways. Gabriel will toss back live grenades, activate light magic to remove poison from his body, and mount a giant pig to break through a barricaded door. As if that is not enough, he can platform like the best of them. Swinging and jumping from place to place like a young Indiana Jones.
• Cinematic value takes over in Lords of Shadows. Much like the God of War and Metal Gear Solid series, every important action made by Gabriel is done with flair. The camera will switch perspectives during pivotal points in game play. Which never really gets in the way, and it adds a visual appeal to an already gorgeous game.
• It feels like you’re trapped in a box with no way of getting out. As lush and open as the environments seem, most of the time you will be surrounded by two walls. Things will easily become claustrophobic in Lords of Shadows. There are usually only two paths to take, and most of them lead to an enclosed space or directly to your goal. You can do a bit of backtracking, but most of it is insignificant.
• The Story is a lukewarm affair, It actually reminds me a lot of “Dante’s Inferno”. Where the soldier is off during the war, and his wife is slain in his absence. So he must travel into the depths of hell… or oblivion as it is stated here, to return her to the living world where she belongs. Things are extremely predictable and the story fails to engage on its more shocking moments.
• Most of the game consists of repeating the same things over and over. Mainly in the form of collection quests that require you to pick up a number of items. So you’ll run around an area looking for pieces of a crystal, or searching for faeries that can open a door. These sections can last for nearly an hour, and usually have nothing to do with the storyline at all.
Castlevania is not necessarily a bad game, but it isn’t going to hit any of the Game of the Year lists. What you have here is an average journey with some beautiful graphics. It’s too bad that the game play doesn’t stretch over mediocrity, even when offering so much variety. If you’re in the market for a game similar to God of War, I’d wait until Castlevania is in the $40 range.