The Next Castlevania on the 3DS Isn't What You'd Expect and That's OK

E3 2012: Fans of modern 2D Castlevania games will have to shed their expectations for Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate in order to appreciate Mercury Steam's new direction.

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Nintendo just wrapped up its Nintendo 3DS Software Showcase, and the opening act was none other than Mercury Steam and Konami's Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate, the second entry in the rebooted Castlevania from the Spanish studio. We've had a chance to play the game on the show floor, as well as interview David Cox, producer of the Lords of Shadow series. We had many questions about the game, and today, we've got some answers.

First and foremost, despite the shift in perspective from 3D to 2.5D, Mirror of Fate is not necessarily a tribute to or a rehash of older 2D Castlevania titles. According to Cox, they've focused on honing their particular take on the series. There's no deliberate dodging of hallmarks from the past, but they aren't letting them dictate their craft either.

Stepping back from Dracula's story, Mirror of Fate redirects its focus on the Belmont clan, 25 years after Lords of Shadow's conclusion. You initially take on the role of Gabriel's son (Trevor Belmont), but you also get the chance to play as Trevor's great grandson (Simon) in later parts of the game. Shockingly, fan-favorite Alucard (historically known as Dracula's son) was announced as a playable character at Nintendo's Showcase earlier tonight and may resolve the mysterious character reveal at the tail end of the Lords of Shadow 2 trailer.

The most notable carryover from the first Lords of Shadow is the relatively deep and action-oriented style of combat. Combos and tactical maneuvers drove the action, resulting in common enemies requiring more than a single strike to defeat. When playing the demo, this threw us off a bit. The limited selection of abilities meant that we had to rely on the most basic of maneuvers, and it was odd to face a common skeleton capable of surviving multiple hits in a 2D Castlevania game.

After speaking with Cox, however, I realized that perhaps my expectations were getting in the way. This is, after all, not the work of Castlevania veteran Koji Igarashi, but instead, a wholly unique game with its own personality and mechanics. Without labeling the old-school approach as mindless, Mercury Steam wants you to feel challenged. Without hands-on experience with Trevor's additional abilities, time will tell if our initial struggle is due to the shift of the 3D combat mechanics to 2D space, or an intentional design choice on their part.

There are moments when the camera rotates for added depth.

Exploration is one element they've sought to correct based on critical and fan reactions. Thankfully, this is resolved quite easily with the incorporation of a sprawling map. This may lead you to believe that they'll fall back on the "Metroidvania" token of discovering power-ups that grant access to additional portions of the map, but again, they're taking a new approach. Exploration will net you items and secrets, but those won't necessarily extend your ability to explore every nook of the map. Instead, it's the additional playable characters and their unique abilities that will allow you to discover every secret of Castlevania.

We anticipate fans of Castlevania will have a lot to say once the game ships this fall. Mercury Steam is dedicated to their craft, and some fans may have a hard time swallowing the changes to their beloved formula, but like us, a bit of reeducation and shedding of expectations may open their eyes to the potential that lies within. If one thing is certain, it's that David Cox has a vision, and it's doubtful we've uncovered every surprise that's in store.

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Discussion

113 comments
koyettsu1
koyettsu1

No thanks, give me more SoTN or I will save my  money for other games.

ProdigyPoop
ProdigyPoop

Looks cool, but I think I'll wait for a demo to come out for it first. Whatever the case, this is definitely a 3DS I'm gonna keep on my mind.

BlingFlickin
BlingFlickin

bling flicking bling- another- razzle dazzle- shooter- with big FLASHY FLASH BLING- no actual real FEEL gameplay- just CINematix BLING FLICKIN BLING- NO FRICKIN BLING THANKS_ ILL PASS AND save my HARD EARNED CASH for a SAck of FLickin POtatoes- ya Frucks~!

toy809
toy809

lol,god of war 2d

logans_run_82
logans_run_82

Day one purchase for me.Or whenever I have the money to buy it, may or may not have some saved up before hand. PLAY IT BY EAR.  

canx12
canx12

god of war much?

vallan2
vallan2

I find it funny how people are saying that this like God of War, when in fact Castlevania did this style of gameplay earlier.  Anyone remember the PS2's Lament of Innocence?  I thought it did a fairly good job of marrying the Metroidvania formula while keeping the action fairly upbeat.  Mind you that's not what I felt when I played Lords of Shadow.  Felt too linear.

SlappyDog
SlappyDog

Lets just hope its different from the other Castlevania games.

noobody1
noobody1

2D God of War. Can't they stop trying to be God of War

 

nate1222
nate1222

Looks like another reason to get a 3DS.

StuffHobbes
StuffHobbes

Really like the idea. But the graphics are TERRIBLE. This looks like a downloadable game.

Vinth
Vinth

"Sadly" 2D will own low res 3D anyday. And this game didnt change that.

TJW1996
TJW1996

i hope its 30$ if its 40$ the game better be wroth it

nonfanboygamer1
nonfanboygamer1

Yeah it does look like god of war...but there's nothing wrong with that.

ekalbtwin
ekalbtwin

This game has really caught my eye! 

Alutard78
Alutard78

Looks interesting.  The clip reminded me of God of War though.  I'm a huge Castlevania fan, so I'm picking it up either way.

chazy035
chazy035

I was born in 2000 and I approve of this game.  It looks better THEN the other castlevania games that ever came out.  And I also love tween wave and being a hipster is cool! XD

drgribb
drgribb

vampire killahz!Too excited to be able to play as Simon again after all these years!... they should totally put Simon Belmont in the next smash bros game

grimhope
grimhope

Another classic franchise bites the dust :(

Naylord
Naylord

There's nothing worth appreciating in 3d castlevania; every iteration has either been terrible or mediocre. Why not just give us some more amazing 2D castleroids?

Gekko135
Gekko135

Well this is a disappointment. The DS has such a strong lineup of beautiful 2D sprite Castlevania titles and I was really excited for the fans with the announcement that the 3DS was getting a title. I'm not really a Castlevania fan myself, but I have a few friends who are really big into the series and who felt rewarded that the series had been preserving the sprite based side scrolling graphics on handhelds whilst trying new things on the console platforms. Trying to emulate the style of the console versions sorta takes away from handheld owners having a unique option of their own and making it into a chopped up hand me down. If you had your choice would you get Black ops 2 on the Vita or the ps3? This preview honestly looks ugly. Wanna call me an old man for going on about change? This isn't change, it's a step back. Think of what the 3DS could do with sprites. 

trent44
trent44

Well, I guess that is ok...

Being that I so thoroughly enjoyed the three GBA and three DS Castlevania games, it is a shame that this game does not look fun enough to buy... :/

On the bright side there are a lot of other games to play :)

Akijo
Akijo

Dang not interested at all. They should've kept the old formula they had with the last 2D Castlevania games on the DS (All 3 of them excellent games by the way)

jack_is_cool
jack_is_cool

Okay, so I love the reboot of Castlevania and was really looking forward to this. But, uh, now that I've actually seen it... Well, I think it's pretty undeniably ugly. I mean really, really ugly. Dunno if I could play it. Shoulda been a Vita game.

KenshinVX
KenshinVX

Some people still complaining like and old man! ....things from the past brign back ur old 2D games and yes they were awesome! but hey! remember most of them were because of the dificulty and challenges but they are base on some enemies who will atack you whit tree diferent or two moves! some times (for example )... and you have a hard time .....because you lack movements! and SOTN start whit a new idea more moves more stuff to play whit! and that was really a briliant idea! now they moving forward whit what we need to get our games smart and realistics whit out leaving a good gameplay and there we go! blablabla! some times seems like you people want the same one whip move back and forward from the 80's (great games by the way) but! simple! i want to see improvement not same old stuff whit diferent costumes and castle's! old games are great! but now we have a lot more bite's and memory space in our consoles ... let's put it to work!.

hi-buzz
hi-buzz

Look like SOTN will remain the best 2D castlevania ever ... the genre is moving to a different 2D formula

logans_run_82
logans_run_82

 @canx12 So, I guess literally every action game involving melee weapons is "God of war much?"

DWraySweZ
DWraySweZ

 @vallan2 u know what get the F off this linear BS crap... it's old and played out.   EVERY GAME HAS A POINT START AND A POINT END... and a lot of BS in the Middle... EVERy Game is linear, want to play a game that's not, play Connect 4

DWraySweZ
DWraySweZ

 @StuffHobbes R U Stupid?  It's a portable game on a portable system, want HD graphics play a console... 

DredWulf
DredWulf

 @Naylord because 2d CastleVania has been done to death and are quite boring. I enjoyed immensely Lords of Shadow. 

comiccollector5
comiccollector5

 @Gekko135 This is on the 3DS.  The console version was still Castlevania.  It can not emulate something that it already is which is a series.  They can never take a step back because they are still building what it is.  This is some harsh first impressions of a game.  Do you see how technical that game is?  that screen platforming is amazing and looks like fun to master.  I bet they have hidden things everywhere.  Trust me, Lord of Shadows had a very thrilling story and it was 20 hours.  You might want to get off the handheld i.e. train and move video games into your living room not your boring commute. 

DWraySweZ
DWraySweZ

 @jack_is_cool how old are you .... A game can be good with dot matrix graphics... ever play original gameboy?  some of the best games ever looked like crap... People like you are the reason the gaming market is going to crash

Selznick
Selznick

 @jack_is_cool   These videos are crappy streams on a screen that is vastly larger than the 3DS screen. All 3DS videos online look MUCH worse than they do on the system.

Vinth
Vinth

 @jack_is_cool

 Totally, if they HAD to do this, make it for the VITA, and leave the 2d vanias to the DS handhelds. :(

3v1LR0n1N
3v1LR0n1N

 @jack_is_cool i agree this should have been a vita game but i definitely cant agree on it being ugly... especially considering the tech

nate1222
nate1222

 @hi-buzz

 For years SotN was my fav. It actually beat out Bloodlines, for the Genesis, to get that honor.

 

Today? Portrait of Ruin for DS is my fav. PoR managed to edge out SotN just a bit. No easy task, mind you.

vallan2
vallan2

@DWraySweZ Well other than your tautology, I actually liked LoS. The storyline was better than most recent Castlevanias. But I don't see your point by saying all games have a beginning and an end, that's like saying all people have a brain: it's a given. It's what's in the middle, and how that story is fleshed out, and how long story is told, that makes a game what it is. If a game didn't have a beginning, it wouldn't start, and if it didn't have an end, it wouldn't end. By your definition, even Connect 4 (which I also enjoy) is linear. Get your head out of your ass.

StuffHobbes
StuffHobbes

 @DWraySweZ Doesn't change the fact that it looks awful. This is bad EVEN for a handheld game. And at $40? They should be embarrassed to put this out.

poopinpat
poopinpat

 @DWraySweZ the main character looks like a lump of jaggies...I'm sure they could have figured out something better.  and you can get better on a portable just not on Nintendos' apparently.  

 

I Agree with the comment below.  If you can't pull off decent 3D stick to 2D.

nate1222
nate1222

 @DredWulf

 The 2D Castlevanias are far from being boring. I love Portrait of Ruin and Dawn of Sorrow. Hell, I love that mix of platforming, RPG and exploration.

Vinth
Vinth

 @DredWulf

 So let it stay on the consoles, and leave the 2d roidvanias to the Nintendo handhelds. :(

Gekko135
Gekko135

 @comiccollector5 I think you misunderstand or just misread my post entirely. I'm honestly stumped on what you're trying to say to me. 

abcdefgabcdefgz
abcdefgabcdefgz

@nate1222 @DredWulf The best castlevanias were all 2d. 3D just turns this game into another god of war clone. How many god of war games do we really need where you run around and mash attack combos?

matsukunkioake
matsukunkioake

@KenshinVX You just made a hell of a coming out here; congrats. To each his own. There is nothing wrong with what you are, be yourself! Good for you.