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Castlevania is one of those franchises that have always just been there, and inspired many other titles over the years as well.

In true Castlevania style, we follow the story of one of those dashing Belmont fellas. Bubba, Bertha and Billy-Bob Belmont weren’t available for this new Castlevania, so they sent Gabriel instead. Even better, he brought a whole third dimension with him.

Hit the jump for our full review.

So what is Castlevania: Lords of Shadow? It’s definitely not one of those two-dimensional Castlevania games that you have seen around.

At a quick glance you will be fooled into thinking that Lords of Shadow is one of those typical blockbuster hack n’ slash action games like God of War or Dante’s Inferno. The truth is that it’s actually pretty far from it, but wait, because I haven’t said if it’s for a good or bad reason just yet.

The story in Lords of Shadow is a pretty basic, and has nothing to do with any other Castlevania games at all. In fact, its so separate from them that it could have almost gotten away with having a different title completely. The world is in peril, you are Gabriel Belmont, your wife just died, you are really pissed and you have been sent to save the day by taking out the Lords of Shadow and using their powers for good. Like I said, pretty straightforward.

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Lords of Shadow is a long game, especially for its genre. When I say long, I mean that you may get a shock when you are 10 hours in and expecting to see end credits rolling anytime soon, only to realise you hadn’t yet hit the halfway mark.

The great news is that unlike some other titles I have played, each level and quest in Lords of Shadow is completely different from the last and spoils you with unending variety to keep your interest piqued throughout the game. You will travel to many different locations and fight a wide variety of enemies and bosses, as well as climb a lot things and tackle some very decent puzzles.

That’s not to say that Castlevania doesn’t have some big issues as well. Lords of Shadow suffers from a wide range of issues at first that can only be blamed directly on some rough design choices. You will often find yourself completely lost in a level, with no idea of where to go and no way of getting a hint. This could have all been sorted out with a simple mini-map or better yet, a button that points you in the right direction a la Fable or Dead Space.

The camera has its moments too and often worsens the previous point to an even greater degree. Sometimes you will be required to run backwards towards the camera in order to find the storyline’s intended path, which goes against everything we know as it feels as if the camera is telling you that you should be moving in the other direction instead. I can understand that the camera often plays tricks on you to hide special items and so on, but when it makes some major pathways near invisible, it can be come very frustrating at times.

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The strange thing is that I found that over time, everything felt like it got better and better. I am not sure if it was me as a player getting more and more used to the game but I could swear it felt like the developers were getting smarter as they were making the game.

As with other games in the genre, you will unlock certain special items over the course of the game to help you out with your journey. You will often come across an area in the game that requires you to have an ability that you don’t have yet, in order to access a new area and will have to return at a later stage to get there. Some may call it re-playability while others will want to call it annoying, so that it depends on your play preference.

For the first few hours of gameplay I also found myself getting incredibly frustrated with the combat, but that brings me back to what I was saying about Lords of Shadow looking like some other titles you might know.

I can tell you that from my personal experience that assuming that Lords of Shadow is just a God of War clone is very big mistake to make.

Lords of Shadow wants a lot more from you than something like Dante’s Inferno or that really angry Greek guy. If I could make more of a comparison, I would say that it plays more on the Bayonetta / Ninja Gaiden side of things, just a little slower. This game will not hold your hand, it will not pat you on the back and it will make sure that once you start getting the combat right, it’s because you stopped moaning and complaining and just realised that you needed to step up your game.

Last Updated: October 20, 2010

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Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
9.0

19 Comments

  1. Have to see this in action , I like pretty graphics.

    Reply

  2. Dark

    October 20, 2010 at 10:39

    Hey he looks like hes from Persia πŸ™‚

    Reply

  3. Hayate

    October 20, 2010 at 11:28

    Nice review.Do wish the lazygamer reviews could be out sooner.Especially on great titles such as this

    Reply

  4. Geoffrey Tim

    October 20, 2010 at 11:31

    Sometimes, we get the games on, or slightly before release date – as was the case with C:LOS. If we get a game well before release, we do try to have our reviews out by release date, latest.

    Reply

  5. AC!D

    October 20, 2010 at 12:49

    Hey Lazygamer reviewers just a off topic question:

    Fallout NV: Is anyone at Lazygamer currently reviewing the game? I just want to confirm some of the massive tech problems this game is having.

    The Fallout Forums are a shambles:

    – The biggest problems seem to be with the 360 version. Quite a few ppl cant enter the New Vegas strip. So basically they cant continue the story. The second biggest problem seems to be something to do with all your saves being corrupted. No one knows how it happens and even guys with 10 saves suddenly have them all corrupted at a certain point in the game. Then theres the freezing. Expect the game to freeze on you about 20 times at least during the game thats if you havent run into the two bigger bugs posted above. Also some massive performance issues are reported.

    – The PS3 version might have all those problems i posted above but no one has reported anything yet like those in the forums. The biggest problem posted so far is about the Freezing on PS3. Some say its as regular as every hour while other say it doesnt happen so much. Also there seems to be a problem with the DLC codes. They werent working on the store. I think they fixed it though and now apparently if you use these downloadable pre order extras a big exclamation mark appears on screen in both the 360 and PS3 version when you equip these DLC weapons. Also massive performance issues are reported.

    – Im not even going to go into the host of problems of the PC version but the biggest complaints so far is that Nvidia cards are having massive problems. Also the same story with crashes and lagging. Some also rerport that their stats arent working in Hardcore mode

    I was planning on picking up the 360 version because the Fallour 3 GOTY PS3 edition was absolute rubbish. So can anyone confirm these problems if you guys have received your review copies yet???? I would like to cancel my pre order for the game before friday if true! It seems like NV is really broken when you read some of the reviews and see the rage in the Fallout NV forums just one day into release.

    Thanks in advance!!!

    Reply

  6. Geoffrey Tim

    October 20, 2010 at 12:53

    Not yet; We should be receiving our review copies tomorrow only.

    Reply

  7. AC!D

    October 20, 2010 at 12:56

    Which version will you guys be reviewing 360/PC/PS3?

    Reply

  8. Geoffrey Tim

    October 20, 2010 at 13:02

    It really depends on what we get sent. Will in all likelihood be the Xbox 360 version.

    Reply

  9. AC!D

    October 20, 2010 at 13:12

    Good stuff thanks. Also whoever reviews the game please post an impressions article when you get to about 10 to 20 hour game mark. That seems to be where all the major problems occur. Dont wait till you finish the entire game which could take a couple of weeks. Im sure other gamers other Lazygamer fanboys other than myself would greatly aprreciate it :biggrin:

    In the meantime i think im going to cancel my pre order till some big patches and more reliable impressions come out.

    Reply

  10. Nick de Bruyne

    October 20, 2010 at 13:36

    @Hayata

    I did receive this game nice and early for review (not the usual case like Geoff has mentioned below) however I made the personal decision to not rush the review, and I believe in this case that it was well worth that choice.

    Had I just tried to pump something out by release day, I don’t think it would have done the game justice at all. I hope you will appreciate our wanting to deliver detailed quality reviews.

    Reply

  11. Nick de Bruyne

    October 20, 2010 at 13:42

    @AC!D

    When I reviewed Fallout 3, I managed to play just under 30 hours and get a whole review written up in the span of around 36 hours. I nearly died that weekend lol.

    Reply

  12. AC!D

    October 20, 2010 at 14:10

    πŸ˜† Well dont go that crazy this time since its pretty obvious that if you liked Fallout 3 you will like this. I think most ppl have made up their mind about the game. The problem is when you read a review like the Joystiq one that says the game still feels like its in beta plus all those complaints in the official forums you get worried about the technical problems. To put that in perspective Bataman Arkham City went into Beta a month ago is is still only 12 months away. So very strong words indeed coming from Joysti.com

    I know im getting the 360 version because histroy tells me Bethesda only really care about the PC and 360 guys but i just want to know if i should get this at all because there are horrible problems with this game if the forums are to be believed.

    What worries me even more is that if these problems are so big and so real then why the hell did Sony and MS not reject this in the submission process?

    Me thinks im going to have a massive rant on the Official PS3 + Xbox360 + Fallout blogs and sites if they ruined my Fallout NV experience just to get this out in time for the holidays and Sony and MS didnt want to upset the Bethesda applecart by rejecting submission.

    Reply

  13. Nick de Bruyne

    October 20, 2010 at 14:28

    A title update would do the trick for sure but in how long? If they were happy to release it this way they were either already working on an update, or hoping that no one noticed.

    I really don’t want it spoiled by bugs either. You must remember that each reviewer has their own experience, some may have experienced little to none while the Joystiq guy may have gotten the worst of the lot all at once for all we know.

    Reply

  14. Cleric

    October 20, 2010 at 15:16

    BUT you STILL haven’t told me if I should get this or Enslaved?!?!?

    Tell me Nick, TELL ME!

    πŸ˜›

    Reply

  15. Nick de Bruyne

    October 20, 2010 at 15:27

    OK well, at first I was more in favour of Enslaved, but now I think I am leaning towards Castlevania, however there are a few factors involved that will come down to personal preference.

    You mean besides the one having a higher review score than the other?

    If you only have cash for one game and it needs to keep you busy, then Castlevania is a lot of entertainment for the money. Enslaved is short but very story centric with great characters.

    Enslaved is short, weaker on gameplay and stronger on story. Castlevania is long, stronger on gameplay, weaker on story.

    That’s all you need to know to make your decision.

    Reply

  16. AC!D

    October 20, 2010 at 15:39

    Pretty much what Nick said. I love both but id also rate Castlevania slightly better than Enslaved.

    Reply

  17. Cleric

    October 20, 2010 at 15:53

    Haha, wasn’t expecting a real response tbh, but thanks anyway πŸ˜‰

    Given my current backlog, I’ll only pick both up next year.

    Reply

  18. V@mp

    October 20, 2010 at 18:14

    Yeah, really enjoying this at the moment.

    Reply

  19. Kerrrang!

    October 20, 2010 at 19:56

    Definitely Castlevania. The review is pretty spot on, except that the lack of a mini-map didn’t bother me one bit, and i was never lost.

    Enslaved has excellent mocap, decent story, but that’s it. It controls like shit, horrible combat system, and stinted platforming. Castlevania is way, waaaay superior.

    Reply

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