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Castlevania: Lords of Shadow


Willei
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I'm really not feeling the love so far. Just completed Chapter 2 but the many invisible walls, often frustrating camera & frequent difficulty spikes are really beginning to annoy me. Should I expect later chapters to change my mind?

EDIT - Just read the Destructoid review, and you know what I agree with everything they said: http://www.destructoid.com/review-castlevania-lords-of-shadow

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And finished.

Overall it's very good, but it's not GOTY quality.

The middle third is clearly and easily the best. It was a shame the last third went pretty much back to the style/setitng of the the first third. (Other than the wonderful music box stage)

The last levels maintain the high visual quality, but at the same time don't feel as...atmospheric as the others. 11-1 for example was brilliant to look at, but felt very disconnected.

The plot wrapped up...interestingly. The main downside was the voice-actor for the denouncement vered into camp scenary chewing

which is a shame because Stewert was so good up until then...and was really good in the post credits teaser...but his "It was me all along" speach was horrible. Also completely mismatched the look/tone of his revealed character.

Isaacs was good as Satan though :D

I didn't quite get the end - so the ghosts sent Gabriel back to make ammends, but they sent him back "wrong", so he can't die....and that someone makes him Dracula? I get what they were trying to do thematically, but I think they could have made it clearer

Strong 8/10. And I'm rather excited to see what MercuaryStorm do next.

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The plot wrapped up...interestingly.

I didn't quite get the end - so the ghosts sent Gabriel back to make ammends, but they sent him back "wrong", so he can't die....and that someone makes him Dracula? I get what they were trying to do thematically, but I think they could have made it clearer

Do not read unless you have finished the game

Gabriel was rejected from Heaven, for his bad deeds like killing Marie, Claudia etc. This rejection is called out by Satan, in the cutscene after the one with the spirits (where Gabriel is back in the 'mortal plane' ready for the final boss fight). Gabriel is a fallen hero as Satan is a fallen angel, being made immortal in the process. Gabriel's interpretation of his return to the physical plane is that it is God's message/request for Gabriel to redeem himself and so go to heaven to be reunited with Marie (although Satan disputes this).

The path of Gabriel's becoming Dracula between the ending and the epilogue is intentionally unclear, to keep you guessing as to how Gabriel becomes Dracula and encourage purchase of the sequels/DLC, where it will no doubt be revealed further. Don't forget there are around a thousand years or more after the ending and the epilogue, so lots can happen. Keeping it vague helps Konami Europe and MercurySteam to better ensure that they get to carry on telling their story...

It is safe to assume that the combination of Gabriel a) being left on the mortal plane, clinging to any hope possible of reuniting with his wife, b) being manipulated like he was and having a major beef with Satan, and c) not being able to die - are some pretty powerful catalysts for further character transformation/evolution. Also, in previous Castlevania lore, Dracula wages war against humanity after his second wife was killed (she was accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake) - so this important character development milestone may make an appearance in some form in the future.

Satan also said that hate can bring 'us' (fallen heroes/angels) back (from the dead) and give strength. I think this goes some way to set up an explanation for the situation known of Castlevania previously, where Dracula returns every 100 years after being defeated - under the pretext that that's the force keeping him on Earth ie Gabriel/Dracula ends up hating God (?) enough for letting him live instead of die and be with Marie in heaven. (Something very big will be needed to justify Gabriel's hating God though, given his God-espousing words in Chapter XII of CLOS.)

Not only that, but any future sequels where you may play as a true Belmont on a quest to beat Dracula will now likely have some nice lashings of Shadow of the Colossus-style moral dilemna/guilt laid on - given you know of Dracula's tragic situation (and that really, the story is all about Dracula), will you want to defeat him? Previous Castlevania games never allowed the player to feel much empathy toward Dracula. Considering that his undercurrent of tragedy was such a key part of Bram Stoker's telling of the Dracula story (Francis Ford Coppola's movie version) and the character's significance in Victorian literature, this has been a much missed opportunity, so hats off to the devs for giving this the chance to grow.

I loved how the base skeleton of the story combined elements such as the Bram Stoker's Dracula (movie) story with the style of a classic Greek tragedy (right down to Zobek's necromancer form [most likely Death] being a deus ex machina), and I think it was smart to use these classic stories/storytelling mechanics to reboot the Castlevania mythos.

All this helps give the overarching tale some real gravitas.

Having said that it was a little awkwardly executed in places (everything happened very quickly etc) and something that more dev resource would have helped fix IMO.

EDIT:

EDIT re Zobek most likely being Death as in the above:

actually, Zobek has to be Shaft and not Death, doesn't he?

Shaft is the one who resurrects the dead and so is a necromancer (matching the relevant level in CLOS), and so should be the one who brings Dracula back each time he is defeated by a Belmont?

Not only that, the purple cape Zobek wears after putting on the Devilmask, and the lack of a scythe, are proper giveaways (Death's cape is black). The cape Zobek wears in the epilogue is purple too.

This would make for a more interesting future storyline - Dracula or Shaft alone are unable to beat Satan alone and so must coexist in some sort of fragile alliance?

EDIT: just played the ending again.

While Gabriel is initially rejected from Heaven, after the Satan fight his "'pure' spirit" ascended to Heaven (this is seen via the blue light shooting from Gabriel's mouth).

This leaves the dark part of Gabriel in the mortal plane - a similar situation to what happened to the Lords of Shadow.

Except, perhaps by twist of fate, where the Lords of Shadow were left on Earth to protect the fragments of the Godmask - Gabriel is left to guard the Devilmask?... which is left on the ground at the end credits.

Perhaps Gabriel becomes Dracula when he puts the Devilmask on, in a bid to try and see his wife again?

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Christ this is a good looking game, at times I am properly :o at how pretty it is. Combat gets much, much better as you buy skills as well. Still lacks a bit of weight, but becomes much more satisfying. Especially the improved heavy combos. Absolutely loving it.

My "special" moment was not realising how to beat the crow boss. Doh. Took me forever to realise how to kill it.

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I'm really not feeling the love so far. Just completed Chapter 2 but the many invisible walls, often frustrating camera & frequent difficulty spikes are really beginning to annoy me. Should I expect later chapters to change my mind?

Speaking as someone who's played up to the end of Chapter 7 and who is for the most part positive towards this game, I'll say that the three things you mention - overflowingly invisible walls, fffffrustrating camera and repeated momentary difficulty spikes - have very much been part of the experience all the way so far.

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Speaking as someone who's played up to the end of Chapter 7 and who is for the most part positive towards this game, I'll say that the three things you mention - overflowingly invisible walls, fffffrustrating camera and repeated momentary difficulty spikes - have very much been part of the experience all the way so far.

Thanks. I think I'll continue playing through to the end as it isn't a bad game (just very average apart from the amazing visuals), I just don't understand why people are gushing over it.

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Which makes it good, but I agree in that it's not a game that makes me go "OMFG it's amazing!!". Some games just push all the right buttons for people. Wolfenstein, for example. I think Wolfenstein is one of the best FPS's I've played in an age, and recommend it to anyone that'll listen, but some people detested it and give me shit because I think it's ace. Horses and courses and etc etc

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Yeah there's something about this Castlevania that totally pushes my buttons too. It's just so videogamey :wub: love looking for collectibles, doing the trials, and I dig the combat. Doing a whole wave of enemies with continuous counters is just amaze! I also like the feeling of adventure, though it isn't quite as coherent as Super Castlevania IV.. The presentation is so so good too. :)

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Haha I roll a lot by accident, it's taking my brain longer than expected to get used to it. But maaaan you should try and get the counters down (the timing's pretty lenient tbh) as one counter + counter combo basically fills your gauge for super orb hunting happy time. Actually my one complaint with the combat is the drawing in of orbs, feels like te range on the absorb should be bigger and I really feel it should work during other animations eg rolling/attacking.

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Do not read unless you have finished the game

Gabriel was rejected from Heaven, for his bad deeds like killing Marie, Claudia etc. This rejection is called out by Satan, in the cutscene after the one with the spirits (where Gabriel is back in the 'mortal plane' ready for the final boss fight). Gabriel is a fallen hero as Satan is a fallen angel, being made immortal in the process. Gabriel's interpretation of his return to the physical plane is that it is God's message/request for Gabriel to redeem himself and so go to heaven to be reunited with Marie (although Satan disputes this).

The path of Gabriel's becoming Dracula between the ending and the epilogue is intentionally unclear, to keep you guessing as to how Gabriel becomes Dracula and encourage purchase of the sequels/DLC, where it will no doubt be revealed further. Don't forget there are around a thousand years or more after the ending and the epilogue, so lots can happen. Keeping it vague helps Konami Europe and MercurySteam to better ensure that they get to carry on telling their story...

It is safe to assume that the combination of Gabriel a) being left on the mortal plane, clinging to any hope possible of reuniting with his wife, b) being manipulated like he was and having a major beef with Satan, and c) not being able to die - are some pretty powerful catalysts for further character transformation/evolution. Also, in previous Castlevania lore, Dracula wages war against humanity after his second wife was killed (she was accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake) - so this important character development milestone may make an appearance in some form in the future.

Satan also said that hate can bring 'us' (fallen heroes/angels) back (from the dead) and give strength. I think this goes some way to set up an explanation for the situation known of Castlevania previously, where Dracula returns every 100 years after being defeated - under the pretext that that's the force keeping him on Earth ie Gabriel/Dracula ends up hating God (?) enough for letting him live instead of die and be with Marie in heaven. (Something very big will be needed to justify Gabriel's hating God though, given his God-espousing words in Chapter XII of CLOS.)

Not only that, but any future sequels where you may play as a true Belmont on a quest to beat Dracula will now likely have some nice lashings of Shadow of the Colossus-style moral dilemna/guilt laid on - given you know of Dracula's tragic situation (and that really, the story is all about Dracula), will you want to defeat him? Previous Castlevania games never allowed the player to feel much empathy toward Dracula - given that his undercurrent of tragedy was such a key part of Bram Stoker's telling of the Dracula story and the character's significance in Victorian literature, this has been a much missed opportunity, so hats off to the devs for giving this the chance to grow.

I loved how the base skeleton of the story combined elements such as Bram Stoker's telling of the Dracula story with the style of a classic Greek tragedy (right down to Zobek's necromancer form [most likely Death] being a deus ex machina), and I think it was smart to use these classic stories/storytelling mechanics to reboot the Castlevania mythos.

All this helps give the overarching tale some real gravitas.

Having said that it was a little awkwardly executed in places (everything happened very quickly etc) and something that more dev resource would have helped fix IMO.

Wow. Thanks for the time to write that out.

I hadn't realised Gabriel had been rejected by Heaven - that makes his actions, and final denouncement of Satan even sadder :(

I did think the fact that Satan was wearing the mask and "thus seeing with God's eyes", made his comments/speech/threats/damnation of Gabriel more powerful...but then he is the prince of lies :P

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Haha I roll a lot by accident, it's taking my brain longer than expected to get used to it. But maaaan you should try and get the counters down (the timing's pretty lenient tbh) as one counter + counter combo basically fills your gauge for super orb hunting happy time. Actually my one complaint with the combat is the drawing in of orbs, feels like te range on the absorb should be bigger and I really feel it should work during other animations eg rolling/attacking.

I think you should just automatically absorb them when you're near, none of this double stick clicking shit.

One thing I've started doing by accident whilst rolling is trying to attack before releasing LT and doing some gauntlet attack instead, rooting me in place for a few seconds, allowing some monster (mainly the werewolf boss) to twat me about.

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Wow. Thanks for the time to write that out.

I did think the fact that Satan was wearing the mask and "thus seeing with God's eyes", made his comments/speech/threats/damnation of Gabriel more powerful...but then he is the prince of lies :P

yeah!

perhaps Satan saw Gabriel as Dracula there and then. perhaps in sequels you will need to use the Godmask/Devilmask to see secrets/weaknesses in the game environments/characters/enemies. A bit like the Magic Mirror in Zelda: Link to the Past :omg:

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Yeah, absorbing orbs should be automatic I think. It's a pain in the ass standing still and clicking in a stick while fighting, so I'd be happier if they just flew over to you and filled up both meters rather than having you choose the one you use most.

The rolling controls are perfect, but again, it'd be nice if you were invincible during the roll so that you could really do knife-edge escapes on reaction.

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I think you should just automatically absorb them when you're near, none of this double stick clicking shit.

but then how would you choose light or dark? The idea is sound, I just wish it was a tiny bit easier to absorb in the first place.

I hope I get a chance to play a bit more tonight! My month old son will probably have other ideas though. :(

btw, anyone care to answer something for me? I haven't got to the end of chapter 2 yet, but I've gone back to do some earlier stages' trials.. Is it even possible for me o do the first 'boss' in that time limit? Or should I come back later? Yes or No answer only, please!!

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I hope I get a chance to play a bit more tonight! My month old son will probably have other ideas though. :(

This is what I used to do when my daughters when they rudely interupted my precious gaming time. Either stick him on your stomach, allowing him to sleep due to closeness to you, while you have hands free to play game. Stick him in his carseat/rocker/whatever put him on the floor and then rock him off to sleep with your foot. Both of them work brilliantly and still make you feel like a good parent.

Oh and congratulations :)

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Yeah, absorbing orbs should be automatic I think. It's a pain in the ass standing still and clicking in a stick while fighting, so I'd be happier if they just flew over to you and filled up both meters rather than having you choose the one you use most.

nah.

current system adds further risk/reward mechanic

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but then how would you choose light or dark? The idea is sound, I just wish it was a tiny bit easier to absorb in the first place.

I'm pretty sure (but don't quote me as it's impossible to tell accurately) that by clicking both sticks at the same time fills the bars equally anyway, so collecting them automatically wouldn't be an issue.

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btw, anyone care to answer something for me? I haven't got to the end of chapter 2 yet, but I've gone back to do some earlier stages' trials.. Is it even possible for me o do the first 'boss' in that time limit? Or should I come back later? Yes or No answer only, please!!

Edit: No

Little advice below matey :)

Run up and use a dark crystal - all weak points only take one hit after that - not sure if you get one until level three however

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Ha 'no' to which question? I shouldve made it simpler! I looked at your spoiler and I have the thing in question, so will try again tonight! Shouldve thought if that, makes sense!!

Lol - my fault mate, I couldn't remember when you get the item so put yes/no. :)

So I meant yes if you have it but no if you dont and then got confused about the level.

I'm even more confused now lol. :)

Brilliant fun game as well - purchased on the back of this very thread in fact. Thanks rllmuk!

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Do not read unless you have finished the game

Zobek's necromancer form [most likely Death]

actually, Zobek has to be Shaft and not Death, doesn't he?

Shaft is the one who resurrects the dead and so is a necromancer (matching the relevant level in CLOS), and so should be the one who brings Dracula back each time he is defeated by a Belmont.

Not only that, the purple cape Zobek wears after putting on the Devilmask, and the lack of a scythe, are proper giveaways (Death's cape is black). The cape Zobek wears in the epilogue is purple too.

This would make for a more interesting future storyline - Dracula or Shaft alone are unable to beat Satan alone and so must coexist in some sort of fragile alliance?

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nah.

current system adds further risk/reward mechanic

A rather pointless and unenjoyable one, though. Risk/reward's always far more satisfying when it's through devious enemy AI rather than a simple inconvenience within the control system.

If it enhances things for you, that's cool - it just doesn't do it for me. Come to think about it, I'd be happy enough if it was just letting go of guard for a second or holding a trigger for a moment. It's the clicking in the stick thing that's awkward when you're trying to manoeuvre.

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