Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate HD (PlayStation 3) Review

By Az Elias 18.03.2014

Review for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate HD on PlayStation 3

A number of portable games have been getting the HD console port treatment recently, but Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate HD was practically guaranteed; firstly, when Producer David Cox admitted that the game was developed in HD first before being converted for the Nintendo 3DS, and then, of course, with the poor sales of that game after release. Bear in mind that this also raised many eyebrows with fans of the Lords of Shadow sub-series, which is tied to home consoles, because it was an integral part of the story that set players up for the upcoming Lords of Shadow 2, arriving next year, splitting up those who could play the game and experience the full story. Such moves are not uncommon in many series, but it is indeed a risk that doesn't always go down well with fans that don't play handheld games. Those Lords of Shadow players need not worry anymore, though, as Konami has not wasted any time in getting this HD version of Mirror of Fate up and available strictly as a download title in the online stores for PS3 and Xbox 360, at a very affordable price tag of £9.99.

Mirror of Fate HD really does seem like it was pushed out there as soon as possible in order for fans to play the game before Lords of Shadow 2 arrives in February. For the most part, there isn't a great deal of brand new content over the original Nintendo 3DS game, but what has been added will likely please series fans, though it's not enough that would entice any owners of the portable version to double dip.

Notably, there is a new Boss Rush mode and online leader boards, plus some much-needed lip-synching for cut-scenes and the fact that QTEs have been done away with for finishing off bosses. Thankfully, the awful frame-rates of the portable version have now been greatly improved; it does still drop on certain occasions, but the speed of gameplay is much faster and a lot more consistent throughout the adventure.

Obviously, the graphics are the immediate difference, where everything from textures to lighting is notably superior. Clearly, it's not pushing the console tech by any stretch of the imagination, but the eerie and gothic setting for Dracula's fortress is evoked quite well, with the markedly better visuals helping to further set the tone. Playing with a controller also makes the experience far more comfortable, where it's possible to use either the D-pad or the analogue stick for movement, instead of just the Circle Pad of the 3DS.

Screenshot for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate HD on PlayStation 3

Mirror of Fate HD brings back more of the classic style and gameplay of the early games in the Castlevania series, where there is far less of a focus on different abilities to utilise in combat, with just the whip being used primarily in tandem with combos to unleash stronger attacks. Unlike the DS games, which had a huge range of moves to learn and weapons and abilities to equip, Mirror of Fate HD is much more toned down in this regard, where only a couple of other weapons can be flicked through to use against enemies, such as a throwing axe or boomerang, and where just two power ups can be learnt per character to increase attack damage or absorb health from foes. Level progression becomes less interesting as compared to the experience-based mechanics of such a game as Dawn of Sorrow, where gaining a level in Mirror of Fate HD will just unlock a new combo attack. This reduction in variety in these areas, as well as the lack of diversity in foes, will disappoint those that spent a lot of time with the DS titles and grew to love the gameplay and character growth they offered.

Playing the adventure through as three different characters, which are, disappointingly, almost identical in their abilities - one after the other until each one's 'Act' comes to an end - Mirror of Fate HD plays out in a more linear fashion than that of previous games. There are indeed a number of nooks to seek out, which are usually simple to spot, to collect health and magic meter upgrades, and now and again there is some back-tracking, but it is generally a straightforward venture through to the next area, next boss and ultimately, the end of the current character's story. The plot won't win any awards, and despite bringing together the two Lords of Shadow games, it really feels like more could have been delivered to create a more engaging story.

Screenshot for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate HD on PlayStation 3

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

To compare directly to previous side-scrolling games in the Castlevania series - particularly those on the Nintendo DS - means Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate HD inevitably will be seen as inferior in many regards. It simply lacks so much variety and originality that has made the series fun in the past. What it does is take the game back to basics and bridge the gap between the two numbered Lords of Shadow games, enabling fans of this new sub-series of Castlevania to jump into a familiar setting with similar hack 'n slash gameplay. It still retains many aspects of what has always been known and loved about the series, but for a franchise that has produced so many great 2D games, Mirror of Fate HD sadly just doesn't reach the standards fans would have wanted and it invariably comes up short.

Developer

Mercury Steam

Publisher

Konami

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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