Epic Game with Bad Pacing. You Probably Shouldn't Overlook it.

#1 Posted by Luke (1609 posts) -

I just finished Castlevania: Lords of Shadow last night and I must say that this game is fucking epic!  
Here's the stages I went through with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow:  

  1. I missed the credit deal on Amazon.com and thus decided then not to buy it.  
  2. Watched Giant Bomb's Quick Look and was kinda glad I didn't buy it.  
  3. Downloaded and played through the demo and was really glad I didn't buy it (P.S. The demo sucked!)  
  4. Read some reviews, they were pretty "mixed" but overall it was getting a solid 8 out of 10 on Metacritic.  Slightly confused at this point.  
  5. Watched The Angry Video Game Nerds initial impressions and again, back to being satisfied that I didn't buy it (but why was I still looking at this point?).  
  6. One of my favorite video gaming friends bought it and showed it to me over Kinect Video Chat.  I said, "Dude, I so need to get that" and he said, "Hell yes, you do!"... but really I was thinking that I still didn't want it.  
  7. Then, all of a sudden I said, "fuck it" and decided to buy it, thinking it'd be Curse of Darkness all over again but at least I could get some Achievements out of it.  
  8. Played through to about the 6th level.  Kinda just "meh'd" at the game.  It was boring.  Didn't touch it again for 2 weeks straight.  Slightly miffed about my purchase.  
  9. Picked-it-back-up this weekend.  Played through the whole thing.  Fell in-love!  This game is epic!  So glad I have this game!  Came to Giant Bomb to tell people.  
Boy, was I wrong at first.  This game kicks so much ass!   
I just wanted to come here and tell you guys that Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is not one to be missed.  
Probably the main problem with the game is its pacing.  The first few Chapters are painstakingly boring and leaves the player with the feeling that they don't have a clue what's going-on.  But from about Chapter 4 onwards, I was hooked!  The art assets and set pieces were of a quality rarely seen in games these days.  The atmosphere had me in its grasp.   The story and ending were brilliant, on-par with Red Dead Redemption in my opinion!  
If you played the demo, or watched Giant Bomb's Quick Look, or watched The Angry Video Game Nerds initial impressions, then I understand why you'd be turned-off; as I went through these same emotions.  
The general mainstream gaming media will probably pass this one by.  It will probably not be nominated for any awards and will probably just end-up being a forgotten game.  But you don't have to pass this one up.   
In my opinion, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is a glimpse of where games are heading in the future.  Just imagine the next game like this, on the next generation of consoles, with full camera control, 60 FPS, and crazy good Anti-Aliasing.  Just think about that for a second.  
What do you guys think?  Agree, disagree?  Are there still some of you out there not sure whether or to pick this one up?  
#2 Posted by guthwulf (252 posts) -

Well I got the Collector's Edition on launch day just because it had the Castlevania name on it. I started playing it just recently because I was too occupied with Fallout New Vegas before, but I have to say that the game is a lot of fun so far (I'm in chapter 5). There are definitely some quirks to the game, but the overall experience is really positive for me.

#3 Posted by MikkaQ (10344 posts) -

Well for me the issue isn't the pacing so much as.. well.. I feel like I've beaten this game like in 4 other franchises. I'm absolutely done with god of war games and their clones.  Plus it's was Kojima's studio AND Castlevania, I was just expecting so much more, I guess.

#4 Posted by SethPhotopoulos (5417 posts) -

I loved it. 
I remember it getting really good reviews from most places too.

#5 Posted by ESREVER (2698 posts) -

This game is fantastic, and its really a shame people are just shrugging it off as a God of War clone. It's so much more than that.
GamesRadar's review is what sold me on this game. I got done reading that and then went and pre-ordered the CE on Amazon.

#6 Posted by OneAndOnlyBigE (447 posts) -

I loved the game in general, it wasn't really the "pacing" per se that bothered me about it, but rather that all of the environments felt so disjointed.  
Chapter X - this is the swamp chapter
Chapter Y - this is the forest chapter
Chapter Z - this is the snowy mountain chapter
It lacked a bit of flow from one chapter to the next.  The Patrick Stewart read interludes between chapters were dreadfully written.  Otherwise I really enjoyed it, the ending was a total mind-fuck and I am looking frward to the next one.  

#7 Posted by JJWeatherman (14573 posts) -
@Luke said:
  1. One of my favorite video gaming friends bought it and showed it to me over Kinect Video Chat.  I said, "Dude, I so need to get that" and he said, "Hell yes, you do!"... but really I was thinking that I still didn't want it.   "
i lol'd
#8 Posted by GunstarRed (5486 posts) -

The game is really, really good. I was surprised all the way to the end how much variety there was in the gameplay. And it's quite easy to  knock it for being so heavily inspired by other franchises but  theres something really great about  the long sequences of climbing and platforming. The game looks really nice from beginning to end  and the ending is  quite touching. I probably could have done without the Shadow of the colossus moment near the end and had  fewer mashy-enemy encounters but I  liked constantly being surprised whether it's the pumpkin patch level, the tesla coils,  the music box or even the moment you have to rip the wooden panels away from the windows....The music is also absolutely amazing.
The game also  lets you ride monsters you have beaten in battle... this automatically makes the game kinda brilliant.
#9 Posted by Shami_Sansi (27 posts) -

I agree, the game is friggin' epic. 
I disagree, The pacing was just fine. 
I liked how the game starts with you trying to figure out whats going on. Yeah it can be a little disorientating but it also gets you right into the action. You're essentially dropped into this world and some dude says go kill these people for the sake of good, And it works.

#10 Posted by AlexW00d (6449 posts) -

I bought it on a whim the other day, played up to defeating the Shadow of the collosus rip off boss, and have not touched it since, is there anything more to it than just this over and over again interspersed with shitty goblinesque fodder?

#11 Posted by gamb1t (963 posts) -

Uhhh pretty sure every game has a slow start unless your a halo call of duty duecher.

#12 Posted by Diamond (8634 posts) -

I don't understand the complaints about 'pacing' in Lords of Shadow.  The entire game seemed plenty fast paced to me.

#13 Posted by Bouke (1402 posts) -

I love Lords of Shadow; every act is something completely different from the last and the amount of detail is great.  So far i'm at chapter 8 (of 12 i think) but the games story and gameplay really push me through, so i don't really have a problem with the pacing. It is unfair to just label the game as a God of War clone; because its so much more. And Gabriel is a much better  protagonist then Kratos, with a real story and a reason to go on this adventure. Playing the game on Knight (hard) difficulty, makes it really challenging but also really rewarding when you beat a boss character or hard enemy. The combat is really deep and with all moves you can unlock it keeps feeling fresh.
The only two things that could've been better in my opinion are the camera; sometimes the enemy your fighting is off screen which can be a problem, but most of the times the "fixed" camera works well. The other point is some of the invisible walls, at the start of the game i was trying to find secrets anywhere and when you run along each wall to find a hidden passage you'll notice a lot of area's where it looks like you can walk to or things you can climb up on; but you can't.  
Something what i thought was kind of weird design wise; the evil demons that live inside crystals you break; i've got no problem with that, but the design!? Seriously? That totally felt it didn't belong in the game.

#14 Posted by OneAndOnlyBigE (447 posts) -
@Bouke said:
Something what i thought was kind of weird design wise; the evil demons that live inside crystals you break; i've got no problem with that, but the design!? Seriously? That totally felt it didn't belong in the game. "
Agreed, it belonged in Dante's Inferno, not LOS. 
#15 Posted by Bouke (1402 posts) -
@OneAndOnlyBigE: Dante's Inferno, you're right! I couldn't think of the title...
#16 Posted by OneAndOnlyBigE (447 posts) -
@Bouke: It was so out of place that I only used it once in the whole game.  I was quite put off with it.
#17 Edited by JackSukeru (5967 posts) -

There's a lot in this game that I wasn't particulary fond of. The camera was occasionally useless in battle, some of the puzzles asked you to do things you had no idea that you could do, like using the dash move to activate panels on the floor, or throw a flaming dagger at a switch without the need to even trigger the spikefloor trap in the same room. But some puzzles were genuinely fun, and while I felt the combat got a little repetitive with pretty much every new type of enemy falling to the same basic tactic of "blocking a blockable attack to build up focus then dodge and direct attack to keep your light magic full", it was at least aesthetically different.  (I should note that I played the game on "Knight" for the majority of the game, with the only exception being a few of the earlier levels
The story felt, at parts, poorly written even if the overarching plot was decent. I have no idea who Gabriel is as a character, Patrick Steward tells me he is full of hate, but he just seems somber and deadpan to me. My biggest pet peeve is the game's medival version of audiologs, the scrolls found on the soldiers. To believe there was this huge order, who's soldiers were somehow competent enough to get to the far off places you reach by the end of the game, yet you never ran into any of them alive, save for Zobek felt kind of silly. And there is of course the random portal reference which was just sort of embarassing.
I did like the powerups you got, and the feeling of the whip felt a lot different from the chain blades that Kratos had, which I really appreciated since I had been worried about that prior to playing it. And once I figured out how to use the counter block during a bossfight, essentially turning it into a cakewalk, I felt empowered.

My favorite part of the game was reaching the castle in the level were the sun is setting, and pulling of the curtains to char the vampires inside. You realize that the curtains in the old castle were all intentionally drawn to keep sunlight from getting in. A great and subtle moment I thought. 
As for the ending, I did sort of expect what would happen. But the way it did was way different from my expectations, and the final twist was totally unexpected and left me wondering were it could possibly go from here. For now I just wish the next game will incorporate more things that makes it feel like Castlevania, 2 subweapons, a small part of the "vampire killer" tune and a lot of borrowed names didn't feel like enough to me. The DLC will be very interesting.
(Also: Post number one thousand, woo hoo!!)

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