Sleeper Hit of the holiday season

User Rating: 9 | Castlevania: Lords of Shadow X360
I had my eye on this game as soon I saw the debut trailer for it. I was not sure thought how well it would turn out because Castlevania has had a relatively mediocre transition onto the 3-d scene. Well after completely beating the game I can safely say that any of my worries were laid to rest. To put it simply, THIS GAME IS GREAT! I truly do not understand why Gamespot and IGN U.S.A. both gave Lords of Shadow a 7.5 I really don't get it. Yes it uses similar gameplay formulas like those of God of War and even Shadow of the Colussus. However, it adds enough variety, change, and flavor to the gameplay to make it it's own worthy title that I believe, should not be compared so fiercely to titles like God of War. Also, to say this game "is only Castlevania by title only" is COMPLETELY absurd. Double jump with wings, a chain whip, a clocktower, a Belmont, holy water and throwing knife side weapons, and the character Death (don't worry thats not a spoiler, he isnt a surprise character, he is actually in every Castlevania game) are all things that have been in the Castlevania series.

Graphics: This game looks glorious and beautiful. While most of it is eye candy that you cannot actually visit, it still looks great and adds greatly to the atmosphere of the game. Everything from the snowy levels, to the clocktower, to the foresty meadows looks so good that you ask yourself just how did the developers fit soooo much content onto two discs?(If your playing the 360 version). The only gripe is the framerate can drop a little during execution moves if you are playing on the 360 like I am. Not a big deal but it can bug you a little bit

Gameplay: The controls are perfect. Its awesome to mix combos that hit entire crowds with moves that deal high damage to one specific enemy. I haven't played an action game since Ninja Gaiden 2 so personally, I thought movements and fighting were very fluid in Lords of Shadow and were a lot of fun. Light and dark magic are the two things that really make this game great. You can switch between the two anytime you want while hitting an enemy with light magic equipped will give you back health, dark magic will increase the damage you deal to an enemy. It is really exhilerating to switch from using dark magic to light magic midway through a combo. The only problem with the fighting is sometimes the fixed camera can become a problem when you get hit by enemeies you cannot see. It does not happen too much though. When combat gets kind of boring, the game will swtich it up and hit you with a head scratching puzzle or some platforming that is enjoyable.

Story: I would like to believe that this is what Hideo Kojima helped out with most. If you are a fan of the Metal Gear Solid style cut scenes and cinematics then you are in for a treat. Lords of Shadow has a great story that really pulls you in for a number of reasons. The great voice acting featuring Patrick Stewart, the length of the game itself really gives it time to slowly build up until the final climax. And the fact that all the eyebrow raising questions get answered at the end in some awesome cutscenes makes the story excellent and almost a reason in itself to play this game.

Overall I have to give this game a 9.0 because it is great but not perfect. With so many other high profile games coming out this holiday season, I really hope people will notice Lords of Shadow and give it the credit it and it's developers deserve. It really is a Sleeper Hit.