When Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 entered its final act, Dracula's son, Alucard, stepped in and completely upended our understanding of his father and their mutual archnemesis, Zobek. There are some interesting plot twists as a result, but what exactly was he up to during the events leading up to his debut? That's where the upcoming Revelations downloadable content comes in.
"Alucard's role is given more clarity in the DLC, and players get a much better understanding of the motivations of the characters," according to Konami's Lords of Shadow producer, David Cox.
Of course, it's hard to talk about the ending to Lords of Shadow 2 without spoiling any of the twists and turns along the way, but in vague terms, the conclusion stripped most characters of their supposed role at a pivotal moment in the story. Characters who thought they were in control of their own destinies were revealed to be ignorant pawns, and others found new life, all because of Alucard's covert activities. According to Cox, the DLC "gives players a new perspective on the events of the main game. It doesn't change the ending but offers further insight into what and how certain things happened in the game."
Though he shares a few similarities with his father, Alucard feels noticeably different during combat. It's slightly jarring to start with a limited skill set after controlling a powered-up Dracula during Lords of Shadow 2, but Alucard's swords are new beasts waiting to be tamed. They fit within the dual power-up system, where one weapon saps life and the other burns through fortified foes, but his blades are uniquely balanced and feel distinct from Dracula's Void Sword. To Cox, Alucard's presence is "a chance to use a character that plays somewhat differently to Dracula. Alucard uses a sword as his main weapon, which has its own set of moves and offers players a new tree in mastery, allowing them to level the weapon up."
Alucard's new skills mix up the puzzle-solving methodology that you're used to from Lords of Shadow 2, most notably when you're using the Timeless Vision skill. Certain objects in Revelations that block your path or are in disrepair can be temporarily rewound in time, a skill Dracula surely could have made great use of during his own struggles. You can also dash to high vantage points using the new Bat Cloud skill, and pass through gates like a ghost using the Spectral Wolf transformation. Puzzles that make use of two or all three skills challenge not only your ability to solve problems, but also your speed and timing under pressure.
Revelations is almost entirely composed of new content, but you'll also run into familiar faces in familiar places. Thankfully, the enemies you fight as Alucard have been "customized to present a heftier challenge," according to Cox. Considering combat is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of the Lords of Shadow games, this sounds promising, but what of the stealth sections from Lords of Shadow 2 that hampered the overall experience? When I asked Cox if those will return in Revelations, he responded clearly: "No."
Revelations fills in a lot of gaps present in Lords of Shadow 2's plot, but it doesn't alter the ending or mention the future of its undead cast. Does that mean there's a chance we'll see more Lords of Shadow 2 DLC down the road? Nope! Revelations is the last bit of Castlevania content from Mercury Steam, which is supposedly moving on to a different series from Konami's portfolio. As for the future of Castlevania and the Belmont clan, Cox says "it's for others to write the next chapter." Also, if you're holding out for a next-gen port of Lords of Shadow 2, keep dreaming. According to Cox, there's "no chance" of that happening.
Keep an eye on GameSpot for more Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 - Revelations coverage when the game hits Xbox Live, PlayStation Network. and Steam on March 25.