I have to admit, it IS a little disappointing.

User Rating: 7 | Castlevania: Lords of Shadow X360
There are good games and there are bad, but worst of all there are disappointing games. Games that intrigued you from their announcement only to fall far short of your expectations. Thats what I felt when playing the latest installment of Castlevania. Is it a bad game by any stretch of the imagination? Not at all, but I just cant seem to get into it.

-Long Game. I don't think I've ever seen a non RPG console game come with two discs before. It is refreshing to have a nice, long journey to play through that you wont tear through in an evening.

-Great looking environments: Speaks for itself. The environments are amazing to look at and theres a surprising amount of variety. Indeed some of the best looking environments I think Ive ever seen in a game, each one mixing a sort of dark ages realism with some exaggerated fantasy.

-Combat actually takes some skill: Ive been tired of games that hold your hand and are piss easy even on the hardest difficulties. This game is an actual challenge on the harder difficulty with fast and fluid pacing that rewards skill.

-Constricting level design: Invisible walls... oh the invisible walls. They are absolutely everywhere. Sometimes they are there to keep you from wandering off a cliff while other times they aren't and you can walk right off the edge. Sometimes you'll seem to clip one while trying to make a very long jump, making your jump fall short. Sometimes perfectly passable looking paths or platforms will be impossible to reach because of these walls. There is one path and one path only through each level. Normally not so strange but they try and throw in an almost Assassins Creed style climbing system, only horribly constrained by the walls. As such it provides only the illusion of freedom and exploration. Usually your one path is highlighted as the ledge you need to use will inexplicably glow when you enter a room. It all leads to very oppressive feeling platforming gameplay where you simply go through the motions of jumping from one glowing ledge to the next.

-Annoying Camera: Yes we're back to uncontrollable camera that will often end up infuriating you during combat while making platforming puzzles a mix between hard and easy. Often times you find yourself with very little warning of where baddies are due to the camera watching the other direction. On the other hand, as soon as you enter a room it will almost always zoom right in to the puzzle solution or at least the ledge you need to climb. I even caught it doing the annoying zoom in to twice in a row, once during a cut scene and then immediately after once you return to your regular game screen. On the other hand there are times the fixed camera makes finding your path more difficult as you arent able to look around and get a feel for the environment.

-Off feeling physics: Simply put, Belmont often feels weightless. Perhaps its simply an aspect of the genre but it felt off putting for me. For instance you can be hanging by your whip and push off the wall to catapult into an impossible and silly jump. Your dodge makes you fling a great distance at ungodly speeds with very little physics to it. One minute you can be flung off a hundred foot tall Titan with no worries and the next you can jump down 15 feet to what looks like a floor or solid surface only to have it count as falling off a cliff to your doom.

-Somewhat disappointing characterization: Now I wasn't expecting Metal Gear or Final Fantasy, but when they listed off all the celebrity and quasi celebrity voice actors, some with huge nerd cred like Patrick Stewart, I thought the cut scenes and character development would have to be awesome and well developed... but they weren't really. Gabriel barely speaks, and when he does it is in this quiet and unexcited tone that leaves very little character impression. He barely seems to give a crap about anything that goes on around him with the occasional strange outburst of anger. Most of the major characters are boring while the more interesting ones seem to play only a tiny role.