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Aug 04, 2011

QUASI-REVIEW: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

I wasn’t much of a console gamer growing up, so I missed many of classic console game franchises that many of my generation have love for such as Metroid, Zelda, Final Fantasy and Castlevania. However, I feel as though my lack of nostalgia for the Castlevania series has helped me get over the fact that it is such a radical change from previous entries in the series and allowed me to see the game for what it truly is: one of the best linear action-adventures ever released.

I’m not a huge fan of adventure games that solely rely on combat as their main gameplay mechanic. However, the combat in Lords of Shadow is so refined, its hard not to like it. Unlike the God of War games, every skill and combat technique you learn and unlock along the way matters. Different enemies require different ways to take them down. You don’t just mash your way to the end– you have to be smart about it. And I found it to be a rewarding feeling to figure out the strategy to beat each boss and executing on it.

As the game progresses there are also some elaborate puzzles along the way which differentiates this game from the run of the mill action game. Some of the puzzles aren’t exactly easy, but I appreciate that. If you aren’t a fan of bashing your head against the wall to figure out some of the more complicated puzzles, there is a hint system in the game which allows you to get the solution if you ever get stuck.

The graphics in Lords of Shadow are stunning. The framerate can be dodgy at times, but I never felt as though it got in the way of playing the game. This game also has a fixed camera. I did not have many problems with the camera though. The camera does a good job at directing you to your next task. However, if you’re one to look for hidden items, it can be frustrating as the camera seems to intentionally hide many of the side paths in the game.

The game itself is massive, clocking in at around 20 hours. Its much longer than the average action game these days. But I never felt it overstayed its welcome to me as it was always introducing new combat elements and puzzles as you progressed through the game.

Replay value isn’t that high for this game, but it’s not exactly a rental for most either due to its length. If you’re in the mood for a great action/adventure game with a decent story to go along with it, I’d recommend you pick this game up.