Review

Castlevania: Lords of Shadows 2 - Revelations Review

  • First Released Feb 25, 2014
    released
  • X360
  • PS3

Bled out.

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It took a while for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 to find its footing, but once combat became more prevalent and the story took off in an unexpected direction, it finally came into its own. One of the most interesting aspects of the latter half was the appearance of Alucard, but he wasn't playable, and though he played a pivotal role in the overall plot, there were a lot of missing pieces to his story. This is where the new downloadable content, Revelations, comes in. You no longer have to imagine what Alucard was up to while his father searched for Satan's acolytes, and given his secretive nature, you may expect to find that the truth is more interesting than the main game let on.

Sadly, this isn't the case. Alucard is effectively a secret errand boy, and though there's room for some interesting character development, you'll quickly discover that there's only a pittance of new information to be found. There's obvious room for surprising aberrations in the telling of Alucard's motivations, and with a title that's such a tease, it's reasonable to expect the unexpected. Alas, any high expectations you bring to Revelations will only increase your disappointment by the time the credits roll. There are moments that feel ripe for twists, or revelations as it were, but the game never makes the most of its potential, and there's almost nothing of value added to the preexisting tale.

Likewise, if you're hoping for more of the series' great combat, that too is in short supply. You're still working with the solid foundation established in the main game, which feels great when you get a chance to dive into battle, but such opportunities are few and far between. Alucard's timing and momentum give him a distinct feel compared to his father's whip and gauntlets, but it doesn't take long to adapt, however, and it's not until the final battle that you feel the need to master his repertoire. With so little combat to sink your teeth into, there's hardly an occasion where it’s necessary to upgrade your skill set unless you're playing on a harder-than-normal difficulty setting.

Likewise, if you're hoping for more of the series' great combat, that too is in short supply.

Outside of combat, you've got three new powers for exploring your environment and solving puzzles, and you have to familiarize yourself with them as quickly as possible to make much progress. Most of the puzzles require the use of at least two of your powers, but you occasionally need to juggle all three. This can be frustrating when Alucard's time reversal skill is involved, which allows you to fix architectural elements in disrepair. Given that its effect lasts for only a limited amount of time, you inevitably need to repeat every step along the way if you happen to fail at the last second. These puzzles also tend to have minimal tolerances for mistakes, causing a lot of repeat trips that weigh you down with their tedium. Puzzles aren't great by nature; they're great by design, and there's nary an example of great design in Revelations' puzzles. They simply exist and stand in your path, rarely challenging your intellect or problem-solving skills in a meaningful way.

The vampire-hunting Belmont clan has endured myriad deaths, rebirths, and about-faces over the course of this three-game story, and their struggles elevated the series' once perfunctory narrative to something worth paying attention to. These twists, plus an array of haunting set pieces and an enjoyable combat system, were for the most part all you needed to enjoy these games in spite of their shortcomings. Though Revelations thankfully lacks the boring stealth sections of Lords of Shadow 2, it fails to deliver an interesting story, and with only a couple memorable fights amidst the meager helping of standard enemy encounters, there's almost no reason to get excited about playing as Alucard. It might be an interesting diversion if you can't tear yourself away from Castlevania, but if you come in with high expectations, you'll wonder why you ever felt the need to return to Dracula's castle in the first place.

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The Good
A good variation on the series' solid combat foundation.
The Bad
Short, uneventful story
Infrequent combat opportunities
4
Poor
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About the Author

Peter's completed every game in the Lords of Shadow series, and he played through Revelations on the default and highest difficulty settings for this review.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 More Info

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  • First Released Feb 25, 2014
    released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
    • Xbox 360
    Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 brings the conclusion to the Lords of Shadow saga as Gabriel Belmont returns to face off against the forces of darkness.
    7.5
    Average Rating331 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Mercury Steam
    Published by:
    Konami
    Genre(s):
    Action, Adventure
    Theme(s):
    Fantasy
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language, Nudity