The epic whip wielding, darkness slaying, castle romping Castlevania series and their Dracula dueling clan of Belmonts have been around since the 80s. 2010 brought us the series first 3D venture into the eternal war against darkness which spawned a 3DS sequel Mirror of Fate, and now Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2. This time, play as Dracula, gaining back your powers after years of slumber, preparing for a battle with the devil himself.
Release Date: Feb 25, 2014
Genre/Rating: Action adventure / M
It’s tough being a Belmont… waging war against the eternal darkness of Transylvania for, well, eternity? And you thought your dad’s legacy was a pain. Castlevania Lords of Shadow (the first one) was a big success for Konami and the Castlevania franchise in general, selling more titles than any other game in the series, and gaining almost unanimous praise. Four years on and the Belmont clan are back with a twist, in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2.
Whereas Castlevania games have long been campaigns against the Dark Lord of blood suckers, this time you play as Dracula, and are being pursued by the Belmonts (I did mention a twist) thats not the only one, but I’d hate to play the spoiler. You wake from a long slumber, thirsty, weakened, and in a move that might rub series faithful in the wrong way, alive in the Modern world. A huge city has sprung up around the ruins of your once majestic castle, and your powers have slowly dimmed as you slept; sounds like a bad time for a crisis right? Well queue the music, it’s time for some bad news. Patrick Stewart returns to voice Zobek, long-lived staple of the Lords of Shadow story line. Apparently Satan is at it again, and seeks revenge as well as the usual ( the world and everyone in it) which is where you come in. Seeking an ultimate end to his curse of immortality, as Dracula you’re playing for keeps, save the world and earn the sweet blessing of true oblivion, but first its time to get those powers back.
A third person action title that anyone who’s ever heard the word ‘Kratos’ will recognize, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 has a straight forward combat system with enough depth to keep things interesting. Everything I have heard and seen to date suggests combat is one of the highlights in ‘Lords of Shadow 2’. Wielding the series standard whip, you’re Dracula, so it’s a blood whip, which might be the only way to make getting whipped any worse. Rounding out the arsenal are the Claws of Chaos and Void Sword, one for breaking down heavy armor, the other rebuilding health as you use it. Game play involves leveling up your tools with experience points and upgrades. As this is a Castlevania (one half of the MetroidVania designation) expect to explore and return to areas as your power unlocks. A game rumored to be a beefy 20 hours (fairly long for an action game) expect to spend a few more than that if you’re looking to find every little thing… and if you’re like me, half the fun in games like this can be found in that obsession. Players can revisit Dracula’s castle by exploring his memories as well as the modern world at any time, where the completionists among us will no doubt find plenty of nooks and crannies to explore. With plenty of platforming to be done, and unlockables to be found, don’t forget about the actual ‘slaying of horrific monsters’ bit, which is another series benchmark that seems to be intact, boss encounters. When you’re in the business of monster slaying, one would expect the occasional manifestly gigantic and intimidating bosses, and it’s something Castlevania has been known for, indeed, it was one of the fan favorite aspects of the first Lords of Shadow game. Expect no change here, one look at the trailer should convince you of that.
Whether Dracula, Belmonts or both, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 has put the whip wielding, demon slaying franchise back on the shelves. Though its received some criticisms for exploring some stealth style gameplay, if you like solid and entertaining fight mechanics and a solid game length with plenty to see and do, Dracula’s newest tale might just have the ‘bite’ you’re looking for. With this most recent game closing out the ‘Lords of Shadow’ story line, have a peek at the Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Collection, bundling the first game, its DLC, and Mirror of Fate, originally a 3DS sequel to the first Lords of Shadow title, available on the PS3 and XBox 360.
By Kurt Diston, Gaming & Gadgets
A firm believer in “you have to get old, but you don’t have to grow up,” I’ve been an unabashed lover of nerdy things for a good long while and don’t plan to stop anytime soon. With experience on both sides of the video game, both as a consumer and a producer, and a love of the written word, I’ve managed to combine all three right here with the Plug-in blog