I've tried to type this out before. I've been a Castlevania fan for a very long time. I've played since the original, and Simon's Quest (I know..I know..). Having played most of the handheld games, I was hooked on the series. It's got great platforming on top of stellar characters and cool monsters and boss fights. I played Symphony of the Night on PSX and that it to be incredible. Then came all the 3D Castlevania games. All they did was leave a horrible taste in my mouth. How could this happen to a great series? to be blasphemed this hard, was upsetting to any fan.
Then I saw the trailer for the then, upcoming Castlevania: Lords Of Shadows.
"Wow" I thought, "This could finally be redemption to Castlevania in the form of 3D gaming." Playing the game recently, I was right. While some may call LoS a "God of War Clone" and I am sick of people calling every game that.. I won't deny that there are some God Of War mechanics in the game. However, LoS realizes it does this and throws in alot of original stuff to it's fighting mechanics. Quick time events, are nothing new to games but usually to avoid falling obstacles and finishing off enemies, While they are used for this in Lord Of Shadows they add some originality to it by making quick time events where you can simmer down a beast such as a werewolf so you can mount them and ride them over obstacles no human could pass. The combo system in LoS is again nothing new, earn orbs, buy combos; rinse, lather, and repeat. While it isn't new, it feels new to Castlevania, and having a whole screen of enemies at once gets your blood pumping and your fingers mashing buttons frantically. Using the Vampire Killer for platforming swinging from place to place, and rapelling to lower levels is incredibly fun. The boss fights add a good bit of difficulty but mix it in with LOTS of fun. You won't be fustrated dying a few times fighting any particular boss.
I've only made it to the first Lord Of Shadows, (there's three) and I'm working on defeating him, but from what I can tell of the story so far, I think it's great. Three founding members of The Brotherhood Of Light fought the spawns of satan in God's favor. In their commitment to the crusade they found three places where God's power was intense. They used this to transform in to the spirits with power only second to God's, but when they ascended to Heaven they left behind their dark sides. These became The Lords of Shadow. Gabriel is character players will get comfortable with very quickly. Since Hideo Kojima was behind the workings of this game, Gabriel will remind players a little of Snake in a sense, they both have huge charisma for the players to get attached to them. I like that Gabriel is the original Belmont, he was orphaned as a baby and left outside the building of The Brotherhood Of Light and was adopted by them, they named him Gabriel after the angel and he took the name Belmont. You learn in the very beginning of the game that because of the Lords Of Shadow, Gabriel's wife parished. This is why Gabriel is hellbent on bringing down The Lords Of Shadow. There are other characters in the game you'll run in to and they too are easy to like, from Zobek, the oldest member of The Brotherhood of Light (voiced by Patrick Stewart), to Claudia, the telepathic mute.
The Music in the game is breath-taking. Nothing makes you feel like more of a badass than hearing epic music as you fight a boss you have to ascend on top of several feet in the air to defeat. Castlevania has always delivered a good soundtrack to their games and are loved by myself and other fans of the series, and LoS carries on with the tradition of excellent music playing during fights and cut scenes.
All in all I'm really enjoying LoS, it's an incredibly fun game a MUST play for any Castlevania fan. I hope it has broken the curse of 3D Castlevania games being lackluster, and the next game picking up where this one has left off. To you Hideo Kojima, you know how to make a damned good game.