smash together different games, shake and the result is a shallow clone with no identity

User Rating: 6.5 | Castlevania: Lords of Shadow X360
Forget everything about castlevania.....forget alucard, forget the amazing 2d games with the belmont....now you are ready for the review.

The game is pretty much a clone of god of wars (with not the same amazing results, kinda like Dante's inferno but with less fun), and that would not be a bad thing, if the game would be fun, but sadly it is not.

It plays weird, with the controls that seems to be more similar to fable 2 than to a castlevania game; you can use your cross-with-super-chain-that-extends-miles-away to slash the enemies, buy upgrades to get new combo (the game uses 2 buttons, as you would expect for slow and powerful attacks, or fast and weak attacks), but the aiming system or the collision is somehow approximate, also due the fact that the camera is fixed and you cannot change it; so in the end it looks like you are about to hit that enemy but in reality you started to wiggle your weapon where no enemy can be hurt; good thing that the movement of your character can fix the issue, so once you start the combo you can always move your character to face the enemy and kill them; not bad but could be better if there was just a button with just a single attack plus the secondary weapon, that would adapt to where the enemies are without leaving to you to have to aim....castlevania games has never been like that, so the innovation of porting god of war mechanics in the castlevania world is pretty much a failure.

Sometimes while playing you will hit the famous real time events, where you gotta hit the button at the right time; we enjoyed it once or twice in the past 2 years, but now is getting really old...someone should start to find a way to make these real time events more interesting instead of just copying them as they are.

Then some parts reminds a lot of shadow of the colossus; where you gotta climb huge enemies and basically play the real time events...once again it was good in the aforementioned game because in that context was fitting perfectly; while here it seems totally out of place, like if the developer liked the idea and copied and pasted the idea without doing anything to integrate it in the flow of the game.

The story is so-so; cheesy and emotionally does not really drag you in as much as other games; is not bad but just feels like doing the same old quest over and over again, just changing names, people and giving a stupid reason to fight...i can accept it in a fighting game like SF4, but in a castlevania game i would expect a story a little bit more deep and involving.

Now after the cons (bad controls, static camera, shallow action and cloning without giving character), let's go for the pros.

The graphic is stunning, really a jewel; each single scene has a quantity of detail that is close to nothing seen before, with rich environments and gorgeous scenarios, you will pass trough some of the most amazing piece of art ever made on a console. The only disappointment is that the environment is not really interactive (other than when you use your weapon like indiana jones to cross cracks or other natural obstacles; with some very bad results in some cases when is a matter to hit the right point to interact with it and avoid to fall down), but other than that it gives great atmosphere and is a great eye candy.

The sound is good, with great pieces that reminds that you are playing a castlevania game; but sometimes it feels like it miss the grandiosity and orchestral power of previous games, due some effects that does not really fit in the context of the music that is playing.

The action is just right, with a difficulty level that is appropriate to your skills; as now i haven't found a place where i cannot pass trough or takes a lot of time to understand how to proceed; you can compare it to devil may cry 4 for the difficulty; what is hard is just to find the right spots where to hang and swing due imprecision in the collision and the weird camera angles that the game choose to use for that particular area.

It is fun to kill monsters with the chain combos (when you can hit them); the defense is based on evasion (as mentioned earlier looks like you are playing fable 2), so you gotta time your attacks and also roll around to avoid to get hit by the enemies; the grappling is also another nice feature since let you close to your enemy to unleash your combos and in some cases dismember it.

Sometimes you will find yourself riding a creature in a sort of race on rails, where you will have to hit the enemies while the creature automatically ride you; these are fun but after a bit they get repetitive, since once that you do not complete it, it will force you to do it again starting from the beginning.

In conclusion is a good game, with gorgeous visuals and that will entertain you for a bit, if you don't mind to play a game that has a shallow story, multiple game mechanics taken from other games, slammed into the context of the game without really changing anything.

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