Eurogamer Expo Impressions – Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
It’s Eurogamer expo time and if you know me well enough (or happen to read my blog – http://thoughtsoft2g.blogspot.com/) than you’d know that I’ve been very excited for Konami’s Castlevania: Lords of Shadow and almost straight away that was the first game I went to play.
The version I played was Xbox 360 and I started on a level called ‘The Dead Bog’ and continued up to beating the Swamp Troll and finishing The Dead Bog stage.
The presentation is fantastic. The graphics look vibrant and at the same time creepy and gothic. Somehow developers MecurySteam have managed to make the game bright without losing the darkness that Castlevania is well known for. The game goes very smooth with little (if any) slowdown, despite Lords of Shadow being very detailed.
The pause screen is vey neat as it is presented in a ye olde book form (with a screenshot in ancient black and white of your last position before you paused on the first left page).
Controls are very simple initially, especially combat. With combat you have two attack buttons (light and strong), a sub-weapon and a block/dodge roll. It works really well and with the option to extend your skills after each level completed, – as well as gaining upgrades during the levels – the combat is bound to amazingly get more deeper, despite no obvious lock-on, Lords of Shadow is very generous in allowing you to hit enemies (the Combat Cross – being a off-shoot of a whip – extends to huge distances) and has no trouble following enemies, ensuring you’re not just randomly attacking in hopes of hitting something.
As you would expect, the gameplay is a mix of God of War, Devil May Cry, Bayonetta and other games of the action/hack ‘n slash genre hybrid. But this serves Lords of Shadow well. Indeed the reason past 3D Castlevania games failed was because they tried to be like the 2D games. MercurySteam have ensured they don’t make that mistake fifth time round (Castlevania Judgement was a fighting game if you recall.
There are small niggles. The camera being unmovable can make moving around a pain and even though Lords of Shadow is linear, it gives of the illusion of exploration (ala BioShock series) and with no pointer arrows or map screen, it can be easy to get lost.
But overall Lords of Shadow has impressed and hopefully the full game will hold up and be just as awesome to play.