@theacidskull: Nah, it's alright. I think I've already formed quite a firm opinion for this game and the series' plot =) I may not be happy with some of LoS2's gameplay design and the somewhat flawed ending (and also probably won't remember it down the line) but I am nevertheless very happy to have experienced the LoS series. Especially that first game. For some reason playing through that game reminds me of the feeling I used to get when watching an epic adventure movie as a kid. It made several hours felt like years of exciting adventure.
T_Wah's forum posts
Sure we can assume that he offed himself once he entered the church, but that's kinda the problem, right? We have to ASSUME, and there are certain things that contradict that prediction, for instance, why did Dracula make a comment about making his own fate? what did he say in the Mirror of fate that made him smile? Why not just show as and be done with it. I was hoping so badly that Gabriel and Marie would get some closure, you know? That Scene where the two meet after a very long time, before facing carmilla, was one of the best scenes in the whole game. Sure it's not terrible, like you said, but it's not fulfilling, and it's not how a trilogy should end.
I didn't quite think of it in that way. And yeah dude when you put it that way, the ending is way more terrible than I initially thought. That's quite a good perspective. Will give those details more thought =) Also my bad, I did misunderstood the time travelling thing haha.
@geraltitude: Well specifically I meant I enjoyed the fact that you don't just fight constantly in every moment in the game. There are quiet times where you just move about. Although if you mean platforming in the traditional sense like jumping from one platform to another then yeah, LoS2 (indeed LoS) platforming kinda sucks. The climbing is alright though.
And yes. Vinny Castlevania Endurance Run would be great. =D
@gunstarred: Agreed, I don't think this game is bad, I don't hate it either. It just makes me sad because I really wanted it to be a grand conclusion to the series. Also you are right about the ending. There is no real ending BUT I don't think that that was necessarily a bad thing since an intentional ambiguous/open ending can be really effective if done right. I actually didn't mind that we do not see what happens after the final boss battle. I kind of like the idea that players are free to assume what Gabriel did after he enters the church: whether he staked himself or if he just continued living on. My biggest issue with the ending was that everything just faded to black so abruptly and then the credits rolled which just absolutely failed to give me any sense of finality or closure for finishing the game (indeed series). It was an interesting idea pulled off in a weak way. And I've read your thoughts on the game, it was a fun read but I stopped when you mentioned the Last of Us spoilers (still waiting to play that).
And that being said..
@theacidskull: I don't think it's necessarily the case that Dracula is still alive after the ending of the game. It is never explicitly mentioned what happens after he enters the church. He may have killed himself as promised or he may have changed his mind. As I mentioned above in my reply to gunstarred, I reckon the ending is a perfectly acceptable type of ending but only if done right. If a proper amount of closure and hints are given so as to allow players to come to their own conclusion about the fate of Dracula and Alucard, it could've been really powerful. However this is not the case and so: yes, I do agree with you that the ending (with the way it was executed) seems like an anticlimactic excuse. But don't get me wrong though! While I can respect what they tried to pull off with this ending, I do agree with you and am pretty annoyed that in the dev diaries of LoS2 the creators seem to heavily imply that Dracula should be dead at the end of this game.
Also interesting story idea. I think it's interesting that you brought up the issue of time travel in LoS2. I'm not sure I agree with you that it is just straight-up time travelling since LoS2's concept of time travel is very abstract in nature: it combines the well-known pop-culture time travel and the supernatural. I think its true nature is very open to interpretation. I thought that the past sequences in LoS2 were actually just representations of Dracula's inner struggle (since if it was just normal time-travel then Trevor and Marie really could not have been there). Additionally he primarily goes back in time to get new abilities (which were never actually brand new but rather just forgotten) which are not exactly physical but rather tied to his existing powers. So it might not be pure time-travelling as it seems. But of course if this were the case then the Chupacabras shop and the Revelations DLC wouldn't make sense and also it's just one person's theory. Ha.
Yeah I think it's an okay game. It's definitely not bad. I'd say maybe 3/5 if I had to give it a number?
The story isn't as good as the first game or just isn't good as a story? I definitely agree that the LoS2 story can't compete with the original LoS storyline. And yes in some respects I do agree that the combat gets better later in the game. I thought the the fact that the combat moved away from armoured monsters (which required lots of chaos power) to be a plus. It's not that I find the breaking of armour to be bad gameplay-wise but rather that I always run out of sword/gauntlet power (and hence have to spend a couple of Ensnared Demons subweapons or just step-up and up the combo meter which can be more hectic than ideal).
Thanks csI316. I think it's more disappointing rather than outright bad, especially if you were a big fan of the plot of the original game. Some parts of the game (level designs and monsters) just seem a little out of place for a Castlevania game and all of these little things just come together and give the entire game a different feel/theme from the original game: LoS2 is more smaller in scale (focused) and is has a much more darker fantasy theme (which ironically is more in line with the orignal source material) rather than the original which had more of a grand scale adventure with a moderately dark high fantasy theme.
You should definitely see the story through to the end. The plot is really good despite some low points and Dracula is such a badass in this game.
I just completed Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2 recently and just thought I’d write out my opinions on the game. It would be great to know what you people thought about the game. Also I believe this write-up is spoiler free and quite lengthy.
Thoughts about the original Lords of Shadow
I really enjoyed the first Castlevania Lords of Shadow (LoS from here on out) game. It was really well-made and had a superb story with a great cast of likeable characters. While the combat and platforming were not exactly mind-blowing, I certainly found them enjoyable (DLC content NOT inclusive in this statement). Its chapter-by-chapter book progression (and Patrick Stewart’s fantastic narration) and beautifully rendered cut-scenes gave me something more to look forward to when moving to the next plot point in the story and also a great breaking point when I wanted to stop and do other things. Despite some occasional frustrating parts like platforming sequences where one small mistake meant restarting the entire sequence or restarting the entire level, this did not crop up enough throughout the game to sully the good times I’ve had with Castlevania LoS.
Thoughts on LoS2
Castlevania LoS2 retains most of the features I enjoyed from its predecessor. The plot is an interesting take on the classic Castlevania story and has managed to keep me entertained throughout my 15 hour+ journey through of the game. Part of the reason why I find this so is probably due to the excellent performance and voice acting of the cast: you can feel the dread and darkness that’s in Dracula reflect in the way he speaks or on his face when he’s deep in thought, you can feel Zobek’s uneasiness in his voice and details on his brows when he tries to play it cool (with the exception of the Chupacabras character but then again maybe that was intentional given how annoying he was in the first game). However I did have a couple of issues with the story. Firstly Alucard is much friendlier with his estranged father now than he ever was while in Castlevania LoS: Mirrors of Fate. I found this jump from enemies to friends (or father-son relationship) a little jarring and thought that a little exposition to explain this would have been much appreciated. Secondly there is one specific arc in this story that involves the Brotherhood of Light which I found to be really brief and as a result also a little forced and unnecessary. Overall I think the story of LoS2 is a good conclusion to the LoS story but its plot is spread across a much smaller scale than its predecessor and can feel a little disappointing if you came over from the first game expecting another epic plot.
Like many other LoS fans, I was (and still am) a fan of the traversal and platforming designs of LoS. I’m not sure what other people mean when they say this but when I say this I am referring to how the flow of a level is broken up into combat situations and traversing situations. I am specifically referring to the fact that I enjoy that it’s not always combat all the time and that sometimes you have to climb and other times jump over a pit or a swamp etc. While there are still ample ledges and bottomless pits to traverse or jump over, I felt that LoS2 had more combat encounters to a point where it felt much more predictable than the first game which is a shame but not something so major that it ruins the game. My two biggest issues with the traversal and platforming in this game come from poor designs.
Firstly there’s a sequence at the very beginning of the game where you have to climb a man-made titan (you will probably also know about this if you played the demo). My issue here is that the difficulty of doing this platforming sequences is so ridiculously unproportional to nearly every other platforming sequence in the game that it feels poorly placed in the prologue. Don’t get me wrong, this sequence isn’t really that difficult once you calm down and think before you do anything. The problem I have with this is that when you fail any one jump, there is no middle ground and you are immediately transported to the start of the sequence and it is just so frustrating. It gave me a poor first impression of the game. I didn’t enjoy the punishing clockwork sequence in the first LoS game (despite the classic Castlevania song homage) and this reminded me a lot of that sequence. I certainly wasn’t looking forward to a game filled with sequences like that. Fortunately for me there is really just one other instance where this is the case and you don’t ever have to go through that area again if you didn’t wanted to.
My second issue with the traversal is not really the feel of the system itself but rather its map. For the most part I thought it did a good job of telling pointing me at the general direction I needed to go to for the main mission/shop/teleporter etc. but it can get a bit frustrating when trying to explore side areas in a new location. This was largely due to unexplored parts of the map being blackened out and as a consequence I’d never really know which room will lead to the main mission that will progress the story (often ending with you being in a completely different area and hence having to backtrack to complete said exploration).
Also there were stealth sequences. Oh god. These were mostly very obvious about what you need to do but then BAM! The final stealth sequence just happens to be the most tightly timed one and there are no hints. Not to mention that the feasibility of the solution seems so implausible.
The combat in LoS2 I felt was much more satisfying than last title. Each hit really registers as “yes, I hit that guy. No doubt about it.” whereas in LoS sometimes I wasn’t sure if enemies were hit by my area attacks. However I feel that while the controllable camera is a welcomed addition when traversing this world, it has taken away what I enjoyed from the combat in the original LoS: a complete view of the battlefield. In LoS it was easy to maintain your combo counter by not being hit since you could keep an eye out for incoming attacks. LoS2 maintains the LoS combo system, however now that we have a fully controllable camera, often I find myself focused on attacking an enemy while its brethren are either behind me or in the distance. Regardless of where they are, the fact is that they are not in my camera’s line of sight which means a tougher time trying not to get hit and hence a harder time keeping the combo counter filled. In some respect this is more realistic but I just found it less fun when the flow of combat is broken by an unseen enemy that just happens to spawn behind me. Pair this with the alternate weapon orb mechanic from the first game and it’s just more of a drag than fun. I always thought that the Blood Orb mechanic was counter intuitive (even in the original LoS): more able players are rewarded and as a result will be more able to use the void sword (arguably the main healing mechanic in this game) and chaos gauntlet more while less-capable players are punished. This system never made sense to me in LoS and it still doesn’t in LoS2. Wouldn’t less capable players need healing more? Ironically the subweapons in LoS2 seem to be designed for the very purpose of fixing these issues: you have a straight-up health potion (Saint’s Tears) and a timed relic that gives you unlimited void sword/chaos gauntlet. I just wished they had scrapped the orb system but fortunately I do not think this detail has spoiled my experience with either LoS or LoS2.
The mastery mechanics was an interesting idea but unfortunately it was explained really poorly. In no way is it ever mentioned what increasing a weapon’s level will do for that weapon (I just assumed it made a weapon deal more damage). Similarly it is not stated anywhere that you do not need to master every single skill on a particular weapon tree to master said weapon. For a brief moment I was using skills that I was not comfortable using for the sake of mastery but in the end I found out that mastering maybe 6-7 skills per weapon was enough to get that weapon to the max level.
The idea of backtracking in a Castlevania game is not foreign and in fact is quite the staple of the series. While I praise the development team of LoS2 for trying to incorporate more backtracking into the game, I feel that it did not work out quite as well as I would’ve liked. Load times are not exactly long but still feel significant and to hide this LoS2 uses transition animations such as Dracula stabbing him hand to activate a portal or following a wolf etc. These transitions are kind of cool the first time round but once you’ve seen them for the tenth time or so it gets old and it feels like there is just one too many of these transition screens that makes backtracking a pain. I will acknowledge however that LoS2 nails the feeling of getting a new ability and wanting to revisit places that you remember that could’ve been visited if you only had a certain ability.
From my considerably lengthy rant I’m sure you probably think I hate this game. I assure you I do not. While I am truly disappointed in how it turned out to be (gameplay wise), I still enjoyed this game and am glad to have played it and seen the LoS series reach its conclusion (I hope). I express hope that this is truly the end of this series not because I think it bad but rather because as it stands, I think trying to expand on where the plot is now could potentially be ruinous to the entirety of the LoS plotline. So now that this series of Castlevania has reached its conclusion, maybe someone make a 3D SotN-like game with a revamped battle system and customizable skill-tree maybe?
Childhood (1997 - 2009) - Legend of Legaia, Final Fantasy VII and Xenogears
In 2009 I had a realization that I had never actually finished any of the RPGs from my fond childhood memories without the use of cheats. To me it symbolized the fact that I never did anything unless I knew it was 'safe' and without much risk to my easily-upset mind. So that summer I sat down and had a no walkthrough/cheat-free run of those games on my PSP. It was great to finally get the realization that if you were really interested in a game and spent time on it then even super hard bosses are killable (I was a really poor player when young and tough bosses were the bane of my existence). For me these are my 'classic' games.
Undergraduate (2010) - Resident Evil 4, Dead Space 1 & (later) 2
I had another in 2010 where I decided that I will be brave and face my fears of horror games. I completed Resident Evil 4 HD and Dead Space 1 and 2 (the latter when it eventually came out). I know RE4 isn't much of a horror game but this was also somewhat of a challenge for me at that point in my life. I remember playing RE4 on the PC with my brother when I was younger and just dreading the house defence bit with Luis Sera. We turned the difficulty to easy at that point and finished the game. When I played RE4 in 2010, I had completed it on normal. These games will always remind me of the fun times spent playing games as an undergraduate.
I just read Assassin's Creed forsaken a couple of days ago on my kindle. It's quite short but I thought it was good and it supplemented the plot of Assassin's Creed III well. The book is written in a diary format and the entire story is in Haytham Kenway's point of view; it covers his time from a child all the way up to the end of ACIII. It gave me an entirely different point of view about what happened over the course of ACIII and I actually enjoyed it more than the game (of course I guess that may not mean much since I enjoyed ACIII less than any of the other titles so far). Essentially it's connective tissue between the plot for ACIV and ACIII.