Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 (PlayStation 3) Review

By Az Elias 18.03.2014 1

Review for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 on PlayStation 3

After the vampiric ordeals of Lords of Shadow and its sequel Mirror of Fate (which also saw an updated HD version), the Prince of Darkness, Dracula himself, reawakens in a modern setting to stop the resurrection of Satan in the final part of the rebooted series' Lords of Shadow saga. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 has been in the works for quite some time by MercurySteam, so does it live up to the hype set after a respectable first entry?

Bringing Dracula into a modern setting is an interesting idea on paper, but the level designs are so typical and ordinary in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 that so much of the time spent in this world feels incredibly boring. There is nothing to really take in and marvel at, as the over-used locations have been seen time and time again in other games. Research labs, sewers, car parks… Imagination is severely lacking.

Thankfully, the Prince of Darkness has many opportunities to explore the traditional Castlevania-styled gothic castle of Dracula, which is far more aesthetically pleasing. It actually feels like home; not just for Dracula himself, but for any player that has come here for a Castlevania experience. Whilst the game doesn't quite manage to achieve the sensation of being inside a 3D version of the classics, Lords of Shadow 2's accustomed setting is quite atmospheric at times, giving the notion that this is the right place for a vampire to be.

Flitting back to the historic abode is pleasing, but jumping into the present day only makes way for disappointment. For whatever peculiar reason, Dracula must use stealth to get through certain areas of the game - taking the form of a rat, of all things, scurrying through little tunnels, gnawing at cables, and sneaking past guards. In Dracula form, it is possible to distract some by unleashing a swarm of bats, but one mistake can prove fatal, where it is impossible to fight back if caught. The idea to make Dracula inferior and weak by standing no chance against a couple of guards (who are nothing compared to the bosses that can be fought), and forcing him to sneak about as a rodent, doesn't do anything to give the impression that the character controlled is an immortal vampire.

Screenshot for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 on PlayStation 3

Lords of Shadow resembled the combat of God of War in more ways than one, and it really is no different in Lords of Shadow 2. Using Dracula's blood whip, it is a blatant hack 'n' slash affair - one that has lots of unlockable moves and combos, as well as a life-absorbing sword and shield-breaking fiery fists to cap off the two magic-utilising weapon styles. As with the first game, action fans should find enough to be pleased with in terms of fighting, and there are indeed a number of satisfying bosses to really test the combat skills.

Lords of Shadow 2 tries to make out it is some sort of open world title, but it is pretty linear when it comes to getting through the story. Some places may require returning to in order to pick up missed collectibles, but that is really the only core reason to do so - and even then, it is strictly for the sake of completion, as the game can be beaten easily enough by picking up the life and magic bonuses spotted on a first run through most locations.

There seems to be a big focus on giving a cinematic experience, though, with many cut-scenes and set-pieces featuring prominently. Sure enough, there is a runaway train sequence, complete with platforming and fighting on top of it, before it crashes and explodes. Like the modern city setting, there is a lack of creativity in such instances. The plot is ultimately substandard, and not quite up to par with the first game, leaving the end of the Lords of Shadow saga to be an underwhelming, but half-decent platforming hack 'n' slasher.

Screenshot for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 on PlayStation 3

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 ends the saga disappointingly. The long development period naturally boosted the hype for it considerably, but regardless of that, the game as a whole is very unimaginative and generic. The modern city setting that lacks in creativity only makes the desire to spend time in the superior Dracula's castle that much greater, where the aura of Castlevania shines through a lot better (even if not greatly). The feeling of controlling a weak Dracula isn't appropriate, and nor are the dire stealth sections, which really make the game less and less a Castlevania title. As an action game with platforming and hack 'n' slash combat, it is an adventure that can fill those requirements well enough, with some great boss fights, and for that, Lords of Shadow 2 is a satisfactory title, but it does not live up to the hype, or send MercurySteam off on a particularly high note.

Developer

Mercury Steam

Publisher

Konami

Genre

Action Adventure

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   

Comments

THIS is why IGA-san finally left.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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