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Games Thirst Review: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

Mercury Steam and Kojima Productions have teamed up to reboot the 25-year-old Castlevania series. They have taken the beloved series, and built a new mythos around it for us to take part in.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow takes you on a journey with the character Gabriel, who is asked by the Brotherhood of Light to stop the hell that has been unleashed on earth. He must travel to three different kingdoms to destroy the Dark Lords, and conquer the evils that have overcome the planet. Through this journey, he hopes to reunite with his beloved Marie.

The game looks absolutely beautiful. The settings and scale of the game will leave you in awe. There are frozen wastelands, lush green forest, and a desolate hell. Each of these areas brings a different feel to the game as you play through it. The textures in the game are great, and there are very few graphical glitches. The scale of the game is huge. Some of the boss fights are against Titans, who will just blow your mind at how big and detailed they look.

The levels are large as well. You will find many hidden areas, and many paths that you can take. You will be scaling large walls, and looking for little pathways to see where they go. Platforming through these levels is quick and smooth. As you play you receive different upgrades that assist you in traversing the levels. There are even times where you can ride certain creatures that will help you break through walls, or climb areas you can’t. There are a few hiccups in some of the levels that can make you want to throw your controller. In one of the levels, you are suppose to use a crank to bring up a platform to walk across, but every time I would crank it to a certain point, it would just fall back down. I did this for an hour until I finally figured out that I had to barely push the crank up and then pull it back before it would work. These kinds of things can irritate you, but it does not happen often.

The combat in the game really shines. It is a very offence oriented combat style. This is not to say that you do not need to block or dodge, because you will need to do this often. One hit by certain enemies can severally diminish your health. The combat is familiar though. It draws a lot of elements from other hack and slash franchises, but they do a good job at it. It feels like its own style of combat, but you can definitely see the influences of other games.

There are many combos and upgrades that you can buy to make your character more deadly, but I did not find myself using many of these new combos; I just used the same set of combos over and over as I went throughout the game. You also have two different magic bars. There is a light magic and shadow magic. When using the light magic, every hit you make on an enemy will give you more life. When using shadow magic, every hit deals extra damage. The magic comes in handy at many points in the game. You will find crystals throughout the levels that can upgrade your health, light magic, and shadow magic. I would definitely search for these because you will use magic a lot. The combat can become stale near the end of the game, and I found, when fighting the smaller enemies, that I would just grab them instead of attacking because it is much easier.

The enemies you fight can become repetitive at times, but they did a good job at introducing new enemies into each kingdom you fight through. The boss battles can also become repetitive because all of the bosses seem to have the same fighting styles and moves; they just look different on the surface. Once you have fought one boss, you have pretty much fought every boss.

I also got frustrated with how some of the buttons were laid out. Some of the buttons performed more than one action, and sometimes I ended up performing the wrong action. There are also some problems with the camera. The camera is fixed, so when you are fighting enemies, sometimes they go off screen and you are just blindly hitting buttons in hopes of hitting the enemies. You will also find some definite spikes in difficulty as you play. I actually found some of the mini boss battles to be harder than some of the main bosses. The puzzles, for the most part, are fun, but can bring bouts of frustration.

The musical score in the game is fantastic. It really fits the atmosphere, and pulls you into game. The voice acting is top notch, and the actors give life to the characters. The combat sounds are okay, but could have been better. There are some sounds that get annoying as you play through the game. The most notable to me are the grunting noises that Gabriel makes when he is climbing. I just wanted to mute the TV when I came to a platforming section.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow has a good story with twist and turns, and an interesting ending. The characters are well written, and likable. The combat, though familiar, is fun and enthralling. The game has a lot of depth that leads to hours of gameplay. Your first play through can take 12 to 15 hours to complete, and there is a lot to go back and find. The game may stray from the original mythos of Castlevania, but it introduces a compelling story that presents an interesting future for the franchise.

Overall: 9.0


  1. Sat, 23rd Oct 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Wow, great score. I haven’t gotten around to playing this game, I think I might just buy it after reading this review.

    Thanks, gamesthirst.

  2. Sat, 23rd Oct 2010 at 2:53 pm

    yeah, it is a good game. If you like hack and slash platforming games, you will like this.

  3. Sat, 23rd Oct 2010 at 3:27 pm

    I absolutely recommend this game if you are a fan of the god of war series, as this game follows the same criteria, kill some enemies, do a puzzle, climb some walls then kill more enemies, don’t get me wrong, it’s entertaining as hell and there’s also a very interesting story pertaining to the prince of darkness!

    Aside from Patrick Stewart chatting it up between every level this game is golden.

  4. Sat, 23rd Oct 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Nice! I guess I need to finally give it a go now.
    @tester4life: It’s similarity to GOW is why I like it and the story also intrigues me.

  5. Sun, 24th Oct 2010 at 12:14 am

    @Mostly: Yeah, great review by Josh there.

    @Tester: Like Mostly said, that’s why many gamers will go out and purchase it, they love God of War so much that anything that comes near to mimicking the hack-s-slash game, they’ll gobble it up!

  6. Sun, 24th Oct 2010 at 10:16 am

    What I like most about it was that it might have mimicd God of War, but it felt like it owns game. I never really thought while playing, oh this is just like God of War, or compared it to God of War. Now Dante’s Inferno, on the other hand, I did. I liked the game, but I kept comparing it to God of War, and it is less like GOW than Castlevania, but they just did such a great job at Castlevania.

  7. Sun, 24th Oct 2010 at 10:27 am

    True, Dante’s Inferno had so many similarities that you just couldn’t miss it. But yes, CLOS was done properly. I particularly liked the combat system.

  8. Sun, 24th Oct 2010 at 10:43 am

    yeah, it is really smooth and fun. have you beaten it yet?

  9. Sun, 24th Oct 2010 at 10:54 am

    Nope : )

  10. Sun, 24th Oct 2010 at 10:55 am

    I think it’s somewhat difficult, especially the overgrown wolves. It’s not an extremely hard game, but at the same time, definitely not the easiest.

  11. Sun, 24th Oct 2010 at 10:58 am

    okay, well I put a part in my review that might help you. It was one of the frustrating parts I talked about.

  12. Sun, 24th Oct 2010 at 11:02 am

    Yeah, I read the whole review, and when I have at it again, I’ll definitely use the help! The story’s one of the main pieces that keeps me glued to it, though.

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