Community Review: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

Sure, you could listen to me rattle on about Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - but you know what might be better? Me listening to you for a change!

Yep, that's right. This week's Community Review is on the latest Castlevania reboot, a game I have some mixed feelings about. I've found the combat a real slow burn - what initially seemed like a dull sub-God of War slash-fest, slowly evolves throughout the game to become something quite elegant and balanced. The skill involved is not based on rote-learning, but rather on making intelligent combat choices for specific battles - and that can be quite rewarding.

My major gripe is with the climbing mechanics, which are insanely rigid, and overly design specific. During climbing sections, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow only allows you to perform the move required for progress - you can't hook onto anything unless the game demands it, you can't run from side to side along a wall unless the game demands it, you can't leap off a surface unless the level design asks you to. It takes away the fun of discovery, making the mechanics seem inconsistent and transient.

We understand the need for scripted linearity in level design, in fact we usually enjoy it. But it often feels like you're playing Castlevania within the confines of a strait-jacket - which can be frustrating. Especially in a game franchise that is notorious for exploration.

But enough of my rambling - I'm going to briefly hand you guys over to Kotaku alumni Junglist, who did his most recent Five-Inch Floppy on Castlevania, before casting it out to you guys. What did you think of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow?


    I preordered the GAME UK Special Edition and it won't even be dispatched until later this week. I feel that its worth it however judging from reviews of Castlevania so far.

    Not too far in yet, but I'm loving it.

    I'm a SotN fan and the platform style isn't bothering me.

    Don't like the annoying voice of the woman "we need 3 more crystal shards"
    "dont forget 3 more crystal shards"
    "You found one! we need two more crystal shards"

    But a fun game.

      OMG I almost launched my controller into my tv during that section...

      Especially since I got to the end before getting all the shards, which meant I had to go back through the whole section - all the enemies respawned themselves as well, doubling the frustration.

        Oh the respawn!
        I'd forgotten about that, mostly not an issue but I missed a shard and had to fight 3 of the big wolves again, only this time without any man left...ugh!

          That was the exact same point that had me fuming. Fighting those three wolves was pretty tough - and I had zilcho energy left. Having to do it all over again almost had me cleaving the disc in twain.

    Completely agree with you.

    It has a great storyline and extremely beautiful scenery and graphics, which almost make it worth playing alone.

    However, my only gripe is the climbing and exploration mechanics. I agree with what you said completely. It also seems to me that the exploration is too easy, infrequent and not rewarding enough.

    In saying that, I am about halfway through and I am really enjoying the game regardless. It is a long game (apparently 20hrs)so definitely value for money. I have heard it said that the game and monsters in it are cliche and derivative of typical fantasy tropes. That is what I love about this game - vampires, werewolves, goblins, trolls. Castlevania has all these and much more. It is a fantasy game so bring it on.

    Despite its failings It must be said that Castlevania is a missed opportunity. I would say it is a better than average game. It could have been great.

    Hopefully the next 3D installment (there should be one) takes the next step.

    My CE copy is at home sealed and it will be staying that way until I burn out playing Fallout New Vegas.... and then I'll go back to playing FNV when I'm done.

    I loved this game from start to finish, and started it all over again on a higher difficulty as soon as the credits rolled lol.
    I only wish that the game allowed you to move the camera around a little so i can stare at the beautifull world some more.
    Luckily the last cutscene really sets up the series for an amazing sequel as well.

    I played the demo and enjoyed it. I hear it could have done with a few hours trimmed off it and some of the other hours better polished. I have found it on sale at the UK game for $45 AUS including postage, so I think this is a must buy for me. Cool...

    Also nice to see a video review by Junglist, cool...

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