Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Game Review
Review by IGN 7.5/10 (Good)
Review by Eurogamer 8/10
The first thing you should understand about the new Castlevania is that it’s possibly not the Castlevania you were expecting. While Konami’s latest offers plenty of Gothic crenulations and whip-centric combat as yet another Belmont faces off against a wave of Halloween nasties, it sidesteps, to a large extent, the architectural complexity and wily level design that has helped define the series.
You’ll still be unlocking new skills to open what amounts to a variety of different doors, engaging in a little light puzzling, and picking your way through environments that grow gradually more elaborate as you head deeper into the adventure. But MercurySteam, the series’ current custodian, has shifted the emphasis away from the detailed non-linear exploration of a single location in order to embrace an action adventure with a broader, but more straightforward, approach.
The second thing you should understand, however, is that this isn’t necessarily as bad as you might fear. Stripping away much of the intricacy – the levels folded in on themselves, the poring over the mini-map as you hunt for promising gaps – sounds like heresy, but it feels, more often than not, like smart pragmatism. This is a series that has always struggled whenever it has headed away from a 2D plane, and while you can curse the developers for lacking the ambition to truly get the old formula to work in three dimensions, you can’t really fault the adventure they’ve offered up instead. As reboots go, this is smart, pretty, and generous.
Review by Gamespot 7.5/10
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is a game of contradictions. Its lead character, Gabriel Belmont, finds himself equipped with great combat abilities and more than enough special skills to combat the forces of evil and avenge the death of his love. But for the player, it’s almost overkill–a good portion of Belmont’s unlocked special skills are only truly necessary when solving environmental puzzles. Similarly, Lords of Shadow is an astoundingly beautiful game filled with expansive views of a broken world dotted with solemn waterfalls; sinister forests; and decaying, ancient cities. But, you won’t be exploring much of these locales because the game is very strict about where you can go and how you can get there, delivering only an illusion of freedom conjured by a combination of invisible walls and platforms just out of reach. As these and other facets of the game continually butt heads, it becomes clear that Castlevania is largely a mishmash of mostly incongruous ideas taken from some of gaming’s finest moments. And it’s those very same moments–previously seen and played in other games but well executed here–that ultimately define the game but sadly strip it of an identity to call its own.