Castlevania always held a special place in my heart. Having grown up playing Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest and Castlevania III for the NES I was a big fan of the franchise even as a young boy. Symphony of the Night was a Playstation masterpiece and kept the side scrolling, castle exploring game play of it’s predecessors but added a brilliant RPG mechanic, that featured tons of character customization options. That incredible game was followed by a bunch of terrible 3D Castlevanias made for the N64 and PS2. Having finally endured (and wasted money on) these terrible atrocities to the Castlevania brand, I was soured on the future of the franchise. That is until this year, because of Lords of Shadow…
This game flew under my radar only about a couple of months ago. I first heard the members of SG Blue talking about it during their weekly podcast. They all seemed to be enjoying the game and praising it’s visuals and fun factor despite it receiving barely above average reviews around the net. I decided to download a demo off the Playstation Network and give it a go.
Within 10 minutes of playing the demo I knew this was the 3D Castlevania I had been waiting for. It played a lot like God of War and mixed in huge epic boss battles from the days of yore, the game was pure sweetness. Sure it’s not your old school, side scrolling Castlevania. There is no Dracula and no Castle setting to explore. It’s a somewhat linear 3D action platformer, featuring awesome weapon combos, rappelling, warg riding and ass kicking. Those looking for a traditional Symphony of the Night experience will be disappointed. However, those that are looking for an excellent game that borrows elements from many successful franchises like God of War, Shadow of the Colossus and Prince of Persia and weaves them into a classic horror tale of Good vs. Evil will be thrilled with this game.
The icing on the cake is the wonderful narrative voiced by Patrick Stewart. He really breathes life into the story, embellishing the right words, and delivers the story with utmost quality. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is a magnificent new chapter for the franchise, and has my vote as one of the best of 2010.