User Rating: 7 | Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate 3DS

Mercury Steam's take on Castlevania is a refreshing one. Sadly, there's just too little life in this game.

It plays like God of War but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's bad. In fact, the combat is smoother than ever before. The real problem lies in the scant amount of enemies to contend with. Whereas in the past Castlevania handheld titles had a nice balance of exploration and combat, here, the emphasis is on the plot and exploration part. Mirrors of Fate's potential to become an action-packed platformer is there but is sadly rendered as impotent due to the fact that there's only tiny bits of combat involved. Not even the awesome QTEs could redeem what is lost. The hands-on combat isn't mostly there to begin with.

The inclusion of the checkpoint system is both a blessing and a curse. No need to go to the nearest savepoint anymore to save your progress. Checkpoints will automatically save the game for you. It is a good thing to help you focus on progressing through the game without having death burden you. BUT. B-U-T. But it does take away the challenge of the game. Even playing it on hard is easy compared to the "normal/default" settings of past series. With death having a little impact now, Castlevania isn't what it supposed to be. The Castlevania spirit isn't there. It has been sold to the dark lord himself.

As for replay value, there's not much. Once you finish all four scenarios, you unlock hardcore mode. Getting 100% completion would net you a minute worth of a bogus...errr...I mean bonus cutscene. In which, should've been included in the ending scenes. And where the hell is boss rush mode? The game have awesome boss fights that it needs to have a boss rush mode.

The game is divided into chapters, with you starting off as Gabriel Belmont then ending it with Trevor Belmont(in a back-to-the-past-and-present style) . The thing is that each characters is so confined to the plot that there is only a few parts of the castle to explore with each character. You can't really explore the whole castle in only one character. It defeats the purpose of exploration. Although one thing I liked about this is the chance to try out as anyone of the famed(and refurbished) Belmonts. While the Belmonts share the same attack moves, there's still enough variety to make them unique from each other. For example, Simon is able to shield himself from most attacks. Trevor can syphon life out of his enemies. And coolest of them all is Alucard, who is able to turn himself into mist to get past enemies.

If you to take it all together(the checkpoint system, lack of enemies, button smashing combat), you got one hell of a very short game. Mercury Steam's Mirrors of Fate falls short of being an impressive platformer for the 3ds. You gotta hand it to them for at least trying to but still. Play it in one sitting and let it gather dust forever.