With an abundance of recycled content and short length, the $10 asking price for this DLC is hardly justifiable.

User Rating: 5.5 | Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Reverie PS3
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow was a game I pegged as my personal favorite of 2010 because of how it successfully blended a multitude of different genres into a satisfying, visceral gameplay experience unlike any other. It also paid a well enough homage to one of my all-time favorite video game franchises without directly tying in to its complex and interwoven universe. In the interest of avoiding potential spoilers, it's safe to say that Lords of Shadow's ending was left ambiguous, leaving behind a cluster of dropped jaws. Reverie is the first of two DLC extensions of the main game (the other being Resurrection) that attempt to shed light on specific story elements and tie up a crucial loose end involving an important supporting character, but it does so in such a manner that negatively impacts the overall experience and fails to rightfully justify the $10 asking price.

Spread out into three chapters, Reverie picks up almost immediately where Lords of Shadow left off, and continues the adventures of the anti-hero Gabriel Belmont. He has been summoned back to a familiar environment by a lonely soul whom he encountered during his previous journey---a soul in need of help. She warns Gabriel of a horrible evil that is now slowly beginning to awaken, and he is reluctantly tasked in preventing it from coming to fruition. Reverie extends the awesome gameplay of Lords of Shadow by providing most of the familiar platform and combat ingredients that made the game such a joy to behold, and even goes so far as to allow the player to take control of a character other than Gabriel for the first time in an effort to keep things fresh and interesting. During the course of Reverie's story, you will learn a great deal about the challenges Gabriel will face ahead, gain knowledge surrounding the foreboding new enemy he will encounter, and gather all the necessary little bread crumbs that will ultimately lead to the truth behind Lords of Shadow's ending. It may not answer all of your burning questions right away, but it will give you a clearer idea as to why certain things occurred and the reasons behind them.

However, depending on the level of enjoyment you may have had playing Lords of Shadow, these chapters come across as brief in both length and content. The puzzles aren't terribly challenging, and most platforming situations can be easily negotiated with little to no real effort. Furthermore, there aren't any new combat skills to learn, no new music, no new enemies to fight----the latter are simply retreads of bland skeletal goons and ghastly creatures you fought and have killed many times before. Taking it one step further, a lot of stuff seems to have been recycled and regurgitated from Lords of Shadow, making Reverie not only a rushed effort, but a lazy and uninspired one at that. Story cutscenes have been downsized to animated vignettes and, while they look good, it serves only to disrupt the narrative pacing of the game. All and all, there just isn't a whole lot of depth and variety in these chapters---the only notable exception is taking control of the young vampire pre-teen Laura---albeit only temporarily. In all fairness, this vicious little brat with a penchant for murder, a love for senseless brutality, and a hairstyle that would make Gary Oldman's Dracula proud, comes across as a hideously fun character to use. Despite her weak physical frame, she can do a lot of cool vampire things---like suck blood from enemies using her fangs to regain health, throw lightning bolts with reckless abandon, and dance swiftly and effortlessly around the play environment in a huff of black smoke. You don't really get to use Laura all that often, and the opportunities you do have with her, much like Reverie as a whole, are over before you know it.

Helping Reverie along, to some degree, is a mini side-quest that requires the player to find the hidden "Frankenstein fingers" interspersed throughout the play environments and chapters, but the only reward for your trouble is a trophy. Nice. Speaking of trophies, you can nab a few new ones for your collection by taking part in new, DLC-specific Trial challenges if you so desire. In addition, the game also opens new artwork relating to the Reverie DLC as well as a new section containing a portfolio of ridiculously deformed caricatures of the game's development staff at Mercury Steam. Apart from these, Reverie more or less makes due on its promise in attempting to fix the broken story bridges of Lords of Shadow and give some insight into certain narrative elements that left many people with wide eyes and colorless expressions. But it does this in a way that feels rushed to production with little to show for it.

If you're looking for some closure following the unexpected ending of Lords of Shadow, Reverie will set you along the path before Resurrection, but its brief length and lackluster content hardly make it worth the money, leaving you with the only sensible alternative of just going for broke on YouTube.