Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
Developed by MercurySteam
Published by Konami
*Get Ready to Usher in a New Era of Darkness*
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 starts with a recap of the events that took place in Lords of Shadow & Mirror of Fate describing how Gabriel Belmont; The Prophecy’s chosen one became the very thing he hated in the form of Dracula; The Prince of Darkness. The Brotherhood knew this would happen and so hid from Gabriel that Marie had given birth to a son by the name of Trevor. When the time came, Trevor took on Dracula who killed him in battle. Soon after realizing it was his son, Dracula gave Trevor his blood leaving him to suffer the same fate as his father. Awakening as a vampire; Trevor changed his name to Alucard and helped his son; Simon Belmont to take down Dracula although Alucard knew that one day he would return. Fast Forward sometime and Dracula awakens in the Modern Day City of Castlevania when Zobek asks his help to stop Satan’s Acolytes from bringing Satan back to Earth. Dracula agrees to take on this quest but at a price; His long awaited Death.
Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2 is a third person action adventure/ Hack & Slash similar to Lords of Shadow. In this game, The combat does seem a lot more fluent than the first title however Lords of Shadow 2 just seems a lot less challenging compared to LoS 1. Another minor fault this entry had was that even while it took a while to get to each main objective thanks to the beautifully created open world(s) of both the modern day & Dracula’s memories;The campaign was still shorter than the first game. This game swaps out both the combat cross & Light & Shadow Magics for weapons more fitted to Dracula. The melee weapon for LoS 2 is the Blood Whip which has many similar features to the Combat Cross from the first game in the series allowing players to achieve numerous melee feats such as the ability to deal powerful close combat blows aswell as effective ranged attacks. Light Magic is replaced with the weapon; Void Sword which replenishes Dracula’s health with every successful blow to an enemy aswell as allowing Dracula to hurl Ice Projectiles at both enemies and Walls of Water in order to freeze them to make it easier to kill foes or to create a temporary wall of Ice which allows you to climb to a higher floor. Shadow magic is replaced with the Chaos Claws which inflicts more damage than any other weapon in the game and also allows Dracula to destroy all heavy armor on enemies such as enemies with Shields or the Mechs that Dracula encounters further in the game. One thing I also disliked with the title were the enemies. I did like how some of the enemies were a challenge to take down however I didn’t like the fact that the enemy types are limited to Police Officers, Infected Civilians & a few others compared to the first game which had numerous monsters. This game does also have many likeable factors as I’ll get into now. First things first is the open world which as I explained earlier are beautifully crafted to allow players to take their own routes to get around and offers numerous secrets to discover such as memorials & Scrolls in the Present & Past respectively aswell as the numerous pain boxes found throughout all areas of the game which contain shards to increase the capacity of Dracula’s Life, Void Magic & Chaos Magic. The game didn’t feature as many puzzles as the first title however it made up for it with Stealth missions that requires the player to use their skills to get across different rooms and possess enemies to progress further into your mission. Another new feature was a vampiric power that allows Dracula to blend in with the dark and possess a swarm of Rats to sneak past certain enemies and to journey into ventilation shafts to chew through power cables and more. One other thing I liked was that during the recap cutscene and throughout the course of the game; There is that sense of the importance of family as this game delves further into the Belmont lineage and shows that even if your past is as dark as Dracula’s; You can still redeem yourself as long as you choose your family over everything else. The other thing I liked about the title was the ability to travel from the Modern day city of Castlevania to Dracula’s Castle in his memories through the use of the Wolf Medallion you get fairly early in the game.
As far as the Soundtrack goes for LoS 2; The music in this game is no patch on the Soundtrack from the first game however the music used in this entry still at times fits the setting of each objective. The voice cast of the game are once again perfect with Robert Carlyle returning once again as Gabriel Belmont (Dracula) and like the character looks sounds a lot more menacing than in his previous appearance as the character. Joining Carlyle is Patrick Stewart who once again returns as Sorcerer Zobek who asks of Gabriel’s help when he hears of Satan’s plan. Satan once again is voiced by Jason Isaacs who is once again the main antagonist of the entire game however these 3 regulars are joined by a new actor who comes in the form of Game of Thrones star; Richard Madden who voices Trevor Belmont; The slayer who turned into the better known Vampire, Alucard. The voice acting in this game is spectacular and can’t be faulted in the slightest however the real shame as mentioned above is the soundtrack which had a lot to live up to compared to the first LoS.
The Graphics of LoS 2 are definitely improved compared to the first game and like the first game, The graphics are most notable in the environments such as Castlevania City & Dracula’s Castle although the graphics on the characters have been improved since the first title with characters like Gabriel, Zobek & Marie looking a lot more realistic compared to the first title. In addition to this, The cutscenes look a lot better than LoS 1 and definitely shows how far the graphics have improved in 4 years.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is not as good as the previous game however this title still holds it own and definitely does not deserve the bad reviews it has got previously. The new elements introduced in this entry such as the stealth missions gave new challenges to gamers however the game just seemed a lot easier compared to the previous game without much of a challenge with the hardest bits of the game being the later stealth missions. The gore in this game is something to be praised compared to the previous game as this one featured intestines, Chopped off limbs and even 1 moment that made me cringe which involves a character getting his face ripped off leaving only flesh.
This game does have a lot of replayability to it which is mainly thanks to all of the collectables hidden throughout the open worlds aswell as the numerous upgrades you can purchase throughout the game and the ability to play the game through New Game + keeping all of the upgrades you purchased in your previous run on the hardest difficulty.
My Score – 8/10
- Huge Open Worlds to Explore
- Brilliant Storyline
- Fantastic Voice Acting
- Gore Galore
- Better Graphics
- New Gameplay Elements such as Stealth
- Deeper Delve into the Belmont Lineage
- New Weapons
- The ability to move between Past & Present
- Soundtrack not as good as LoS 1
- Not as Challenging
- Shorter Campaign
- Not as many Puzzles
- Lack of different varieties of Enemies
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is available from all good retailers now on PS3, X360 & PC. Thanks go to Konami for supplying the game & Assets used in this review. Be sure to let me know what you thought of the review in the comments section below and be sure to stay tuned to UGNN for all your gaming news and reviews and remember to follow us on WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Reddit & YouTube.
Review by Matthew McNamee
- Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Review (ugnnultragamingnewsnetwork.com)