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When I finished up Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate yesterday it really made me want to go back and play some of the older metroidvania games. My choice? Harmony of Dissonance. I chose it because it got a lot of praise, but a lot of fans pan it because of it's easy difficulty, sub-par music, and overall feel of it trying to be Symphony of the Night and ultimately failing.
I've put about an hour and a half into it now and I'm actually enjoying it. It's much, MUCH easier than Circle of the Moon, but not as difficult as Aria of Sorrow. A few of the bosses are somewhat challenging, but move somewhat slow and have easier patterns to learn than most Castlevania bosses.
My only complaints with the game so far is the music and the character animations. Castlevania is known for its excellent music, so much that even less than stellar titles have fantastic music. It's one of the many things the series prides itself on. So when I started up the game and heard this it made me cringe a bit. Seriously, the GBA can do A LOT better than this sound wise. It does have a few memorable songs that aren't bad, but for the most part you won't want to listen to the OST.
As for the character animations, well...you'll just have to watch some of this. If you don't feel like watching the video the best way to describe the animations is "cartoony", especially the walk style for the main character. It just doesn't fit the style of Castlevania and it just feels off. Most of the enemy animations are nice and smooth, but the main character's and other people you meet along the way just looks silly. It shouldn't bother me so much, but it does.
If you're a Castlevania fan I do recommend this game because you will enjoy it as long as you don't compare it to Aria of Sorrow, Symphony of the Night, or any of the other metroidvania games.
So, Mirror of Fate has gotten a lot of hate from the fans, and I can definitely see why: you no longer have to collect hearts, the combat system is somewhat like God of War,but in 2.5D, and the game rewrites the entire Castlevania storyline (or what little there is of one). Is it a step up from the original Lords of Shadow? God yes. I didn't like many things about Lords of Shadow at all. Why? Well, it has a bit of an identity crisis. Gabriel was a cool character, but his attacks and overall feel felt like somewhat of a Rygar or Kratos clone. The game, just like Mirror of Fate, changed up the entire storyline, but they didn't find a way to keep me interested in it until the very end. The graphics and overall atmosphere are fantastic, but the boss fights are uninspired and felt like shameless clones from other games that did it better. I could go on for a while as to why I don't like the first game in the Lords of Shadow timeline, but at this point I feel like I would just be picking on the game. I'm not really calling the game bad, it's just not my cup of tea.
Mirror of Fate on the other hand I am enjoying immensely. Here are the reasons I am enjoying Mirror of Fate:
- The 2.5D and God of War or Rygar like combat feels great to me, and is somewhat unique for a sidescroller.
- Plays like a God of War 2.5D sidescroller, but the environments, special weapons, characters, and bosses give it more of it's own identity and actually feels like a Castlevania game.
- So far I've only played as Simon and Alucard, but each character has their own feel since they have their own individual powers and abilites.
- The music, just like Lords of Shadow is epic and gives you a real sense of adventure.
- The overall castle and level design is unique and each room is different than the last so it you never have the "same room" thing that happened with past "metroidvania" titles.
- The puzzles are fun and rewarding, and taking away experience points to get clues to the more difficult puzzles balances the reward.
- The difficulty is just right for the most part and none of the bosses feel that cheap.
- The games visuals are fantastic on 3DS and I really hope they stick to the 2.5D format for future Castlevania 3DS titles.
I'm making this game out to sound like the best metroidvania game to date, which DEFINITELY IS NOT THE CASE, but it is an enjoyable title in the series. In fact past games like Symphony of the Night, Aria of Sorrow, Harmony of Dissonance, and Circle of the Moon are much better with a few things. Why are they better? Mirror of Fate has a few problems that could really disappoint past fans of the metroidvania style. A few of the problems I can think of are:
- There are secrets to find throughout the castle, but they're not nearly as rewarding as past metroidvania titles.
- The game is more linear than past titles in this style.
- There's not really any weapons or upgrades to use other than the ones that comes with the character.
- Every boss fight has a checkpoint system that really ruins the rewarding feeling you get when you defeat a boss after a long fight.
- QTE's are out of place and honestly should be done away with.
- The checkpoint system in general softens the games difficulty.
- A few sections of the castle have an odd layout and level design that doesn't make much sense.
- Leveling up doesn't feel all that great.
What it all comes down to really is preference. If you loved the stats, leveling, and hunting down secret goodies in past titles, you might want to skip this game. If you want to try something a bit different that is more story focused and less RPG-like, and more hack and slash, then you might enjoy this game, Like I said, I've not finished the game yet, and it's not perfect, but I'm still enjoying it quite a bit. So far I'm leaning towards giving the game a 7.5 or 8.
I'm somewhat excited for Lords of Shadow 2, and at the same time I'm not. I'm afraid it's going to suffer from the same main problem I had with the first Lords of Shadow, having a major idenitiy crisis. From what I've read the protagonist might have a sword instead of a whip this time around, possibly both. Who knows. All I know is, I love the Castlevania franchise. The gothic scenery, the cool characters, some of the crazy storylines, and the epic music. Castlevania was one of the first game series I loved as a kid, and it will always have a special place in my gaming history.
In my last blog I said I'm not buying anymore games until my backlog is finished, and I mean every word of that. If you look at the list th game in the title isn't even mentioned, and that is because a friend lent it to me! I almost forgot that he even had the game, or a 3DS.
So far I'm on world 5-3, and I'm still loving the game. The level design is superb and each level always feels different than the last. The game plays exactly how you would expect it too and I really don't have a whole lot to say about the game yet. I've had too much fun with the game to really think about it.
I'm definitely going to review the game once I'm finished with it.
My Recent Reviews
May 18, 2013 1:25 am GMTtravisstaggs posted a new blog entry entitled A Harmony of Dissonance is such a sweet sound
May 15, 2013 5:18 pm GMTtravisstaggs posted in the topic What's your thoughts on Castlevania: Mirror of Fate? on the Nintendo 3DS/DS board
May 14, 2013 5:22 am GMTtravisstaggs posted a new blog entry entitled Let's take a stroll through Dacula's castle, shall we?
May 8, 2013 10:39 pm GMTtravisstaggs added Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate to their owned game list
May 7, 2013 11:39 pm GMTtravisstaggs gave Dinner Date a score of 6.5
May 7, 2013 8:30 am GMTtravisstaggs posted a new blog entry entitled Now Playing: Super Mario 3D Land
Apr 29, 2013 6:58 pm GMTtravisstaggs gave The Banner Saga: Factions a score of 5.0
Apr 29, 2013 1:26 am GMTtravisstaggs reviewed DmC: Devil May Cry - Vergil's Downfall and gave it a score of 6.0
Apr 27, 2013 10:22 pm GMTtravisstaggs gave DmC: Devil May Cry - Vergil's Downfall a score of 6.0
Apr 23, 2013 7:17 am GMTtravisstaggs posted a new blog entry entitled I just beat Dante's story in Devil May Cry 2 in one sitting...