Lee Bodon ’13
Gabriel Belmont does not disappoint in this reboot of the famed franchise, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. The game tells the tale of the first Belmont taking on those who inhabit the night in hopes of reviving his recently deceased wife, Marie, who had been murdered. Marie lies in limbo due to the evil Lords of Shadow. In order to bring his beloved back, Gabriel has to defeat the Lords of Shadow and save the world from impending doom.
The producers/developers of the game are Konami and Kojima Productions, who team up to create this stunning masterpiece for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The environments are truly fantastic and represent a classic Gothic atmosphere perfectly. Although it felt like playing the old Castlevania to me, this game also felt new and inventive. The graphics in the game were simply amazing – the best I have seen in a long time.
Now that the story and graphics have been covered, we have two more aspects of the game I would like to introduce. First up is music. Lately the Castlevania titles have been using a Gothic metal mix for their soundtracks, but this game goes back to its roots with a dark orchestral sound. Overall, the soundtrack was not as strong as previous titles, but it is a suitable replacement for the renowned soundtracks Castlevania produces. I have two issues with the music, 1) Bloody Tears is not a theme song in the game, though it has been remixed in almost every Castlevania game. 2) The songs do not loop. After the song plays once it’s gone, so you can’t really enjoy the dramatic music that sets the mood for long. Not only does it set the mood of the game, but it also synchronizes the actual game play with the atmosphere.
Finally we get to the game play, perhaps the most important aspect of a game. Aside from the beautifully crafted storyline that is. Game play is similar to that of God of War but it sets itself apart, because you can’t hack and slash your way to victory. Enemies are hard, intelligent, and there are no dumb AI (artificial intelligence) in this game. If you even try hacking your way to victory you will die, so tactical game play is a must if you want to defeat the legions of evil. Magic is also a core element in this. Every time you hit an enemy with light magic some of your health comes back, and shadow magic increases the damage you can inflict upon those of the night. However, you cannot combine the two so learning when to use either is also a must in this game. A couple of bosses even rely on using magic in a skillful manor. Speaking of bosses, if you are familiar with and loved the PlayStation 2 title, Shadows of the Colossus, then you are in luck. Lords of Shadow offers three epic boss battles with titans that are similar in fighting those Colossi from Shadows of the Colossus.
Overall, I give this game a solid 9 out of 10 due to the fact the music doesn’t loop, there is no DLC (down loadable content), and the game just felt too short for me. Then again, I did go through the two disc game in about five days or so. But other than that, it is a fantastic game with high replay value for those who love to decimate their foes and those achievers who love to get every single trophy in a game.