Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow 2
We Sit Down And Review Castlevania Lords Of Shadow 2. This is the supposed finale to this iteration of the franchise but does it end on a high note?
It is been a long time coming but I finally got to play Castlevania Lords Of Shadow 2 in all of its glory and non-demo version. I’ve been a bit worried about the visuals of the game as well as the controls since I first laid hands on the first build. You can imagine that I wanted to put this to the test and see if this would be the way that Mercury Steam wanted to end the Lords of Shadow story. Let’s bite into this review already and see if the franchise has been bled dry or if there is still a bit of immortality left.
If there is one thing that seemed to stand out and really annoy it was the fact that Castlevania Lords Of Shadow 2 was a bit generous on the combat options. How is that a bad thing? Well it felt like there was more time spent on creating the extra moves and ‘combos’ that the designers forgot to make them worthwhile. Outside of having to master them to level up your weapon skill I still found myself going right back to mashing the basic whip attacks and only swapping over to the Void Sword when I needed life or the Chaos Claws when I had to break shields or armor. There was just too much going on and the combat feels like it suffered in general to make sure that we had all of our options.
Carrying on from there it also felt like the attacks from Dracula were also not balanced in the mess of just getting the sheer number out. This really shined when in almost any boss fight where you could really just spam the Chaos Bomb, a ranged attack with the Chaos power active, and win the day. It bypasses armor, any defensive stance, staggers the enemy, and when a specific item is activated it can be done so many times that it would turn any boss fight into a one sided battle. In fact I beat the final boss of Lords Of Shadow 2 without swinging my whip once. It was insanely unbalanced and I think this links back to just having too many options and being overlooked.
Lastly, is going to have to be a bit of the inconsistencies in the story of Castlevania Lords Of Shadow 2. I get that there had to be a gimmick to force specific gameplay aspects but they just made no sense. For instance, the stealth sections were something I loved and the explanation was that Drac was still so weak from sleep that he couldn’t take down these huge behemoth guards. Made perfect sense the first couple times. Then after Drac has taken down massive demons and massive mechs, multiples at the same time too, he would be forced to stealth around these guys again with the same explanation. Not only that, but after a scene where he is shown to have taken down two of these guards, apparently he is still too weak to do it again. This is only one specific case as well. It happened too often and just seemed not planned so well.
While it had its inconsistencies to force gameplay and specific limitations I have always really enjoyed the story of Castlevania Lords Of Shadow and the continuation here is still rather interesting and fun. Not only just the main narrative but even all of the little notes, letters, or full descriptions that you get to find and collect throughout the game’s world are also extremely interesting. If I had to guess and be frank I would say that all of the attention was placed here while other aspects went lacking as stated above. I may not have gone out of my way to master all of the combat maneuvers but I did go out to find all of the lore and artwork mixed into the game. It is really the story that sold here for me.
That might be a bit of a bold statement so I’ll move on to something else I fell in love with, the level design. Not only was the game aesthetically pleasing to my love of Gothic architecture but most of the levels made perfect sense for the world and didn’t seemed to be forced to guide the player from ‘A’ to ‘B’. That was one of the goals I kept hearing about for Castlevania Lords Of Shadow 2 and I feel they hit that on the head. I found very few invisible walls in the game and when I did it was more along the lines of making sure I didn’t leap to my death instead of forcing me to go a specific way to continue the story. Those were few and far between because of how well the design was and it was very obvious that was the case before you would even approach the death fall.
Now while the combat was a bit schizophrenic in terms of what you could do, it wasn’t all that horrible. Same goes with the other gameplay mixed into Lords Of Shadow 2. In fact, I rather enjoyed the stealth gameplay and other puzzles that went outside what could be considered the norm for Castlevania. It wasn’t all just hack ‘n slash here, platform there, now have a bit of story; there were some many extras mixed in that it really kept the tedium of the game, or any game, in check extremely well. Some may see that as a fault for the game but you are most likely a Castlevania purist to which I ask “Why are you playing Lords Of Shadow at all?” These little extras are what revitalized the franchise in my opinion.
The big question, “Is it worth my time and money?” In an age where if multiplayer isn’t included it is rough to see a great replay value to a game. What is interesting for Castlevania Lords Of Shadow 2 is that not only did it take a good chunk of time to beat the game in general but there is a lot going on (seems to be the theme) that will keep you playing even after the conclusion of the game. I think I’ve racked up a quite a bit of time trying to search for everything and seeing if all the combat options give an added bonus to multiple play experiences on the higher difficulties. You definitely get your money’s worth with Castlevania Lords Of Shadow 2 but I can see it being frustrating for many. If anything just getting through to the ending of this story arc is worth the price of admission. Just be warned on what you’ll be getting yourself into.
Castlevania Lords Of Shadow 2 was developed by MercurySteam and published by Konami for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC on February 25th, 2014. A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.