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Author Topic: Castlevania - Lords of Shadow  (Read 26631 times)
Uru
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« Reply #75 on: October 23, 2010, 09:56:37 AM »

Im playing through hard right now for my first playthrough. Havent beaten it cause shit keeps coming up, but I can say this: fighting any of the lords of shadow on hard, while pulling off a massive combo, while dodging attacks, and the theme starts playing, all is right in the world.
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Uru
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« Reply #76 on: October 24, 2010, 12:32:35 PM »

Alright, I just beat it and that was pretty crazy. I need 10K more experience to get the final move; looks like im playing the vampire wargame 10 times...
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Booboo
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« Reply #77 on: October 25, 2010, 08:25:19 AM »

Firstly I would like to say that this review contains important spoilers and I would recommend not reading it if one hasn't finished the game.

Secondly I would like to adress the problem of the derivative nature of the game. When I first saw this game in motion one thing struck my mind, the same thing that everyone is constantly shouting, and that being a God of War clone. Combat looked similar and so did some platforming sections so I dismissed the game right from the start, but did promise myself that I will give it a shot because of the heavy fantasy influences, Castlevania lore and it being an action game, a genre which I really love. What did I think of it, now? Well, let's see..

Story: Even if I warned readers of the potential spoilers I won't retell the story because it would be so lame of me. Instead I will say the premise is simple. The player takes the role of Gabriel Belmont of the Holy Order and goes on a quest to purify the land of dark beasts that shadow the world. As the game goes on, he finds out he must kill the 3 lords of shadow so that he could not only cleanse the entire world but bring back his beloved wife, Marie. There are some plot twists, here and there, more obvious or not but as a whole, the story hits the right notes at the right times making the game a believable tale.

Graphics: I have played many great looking games and these revolve around the names everyone knows (including GoW III) and I can safely say Lords of Shadow blew my mind with what I saw, but not because of sheer power of the graphical engine or stellar textures but because of something more dear to me, artistic direction. This game has the most breathtakingly beautiful levels I've ever seen in a videogame and the diversity of it all is simply staggering. Every scenery is unique and it comes with it's unique enemy type and judging from the 45 creatures that are present, you can only praise the amount of work that went into crafting this game. The only negative which I can point out here is a sometimes low framerate, considering the big budget of the game but it's nothing of vast importance for me, it doesn't break the fighting nor the platforming, but it's just THERE.

Sound: It's needless to say voice acting it this is the best I've heard in any game, ever. Not only because of Patrick Stewart, but also the rest of the cast, especially Robert Carlyle which gives Gabriel this strong resonance which I haven't felt before in a main character in an hack/slash game without feeling the need of growls and screams ala Kratos. The music fits what the game portrays beautifully and with all honesty I loved the OST of this game. Some rearranged classics tucked in there but it would have been great to hear others like Bloody Tears, even tho I predict they will be featured in the future.

Gameplay: I will split this one in 4 parts - Combat, Platforming, Puzzles and Boss Battles.

  - Combat: While apparently it comes off as a GoW clone, I say to all those which think this that it has no resemblance to GoW's battle system at all. The Combat of the game is more strategy focused making the player adapt to the situation he faces and to play agressive or defensive by circumstance. Taking the Vampire Killer/Combat Cross aside, the combat is more infused with NG than anything else. Then you have Light and Shadow magic which have their own effects, either health regen. based light or hitpoint enhancer shadow. But magic can't be used for free of course and that's where the focus meter comes in play and by far the best mechanic not only of this game but of all I've played. When not using magic you have the chance of brawling expertly without being hit and build your focus meter, and when this meter hits maximum potential every hit from then on will spout neutral orbs. It's up to the player to choose if he absorbs the orbs for either light or shadow magic but if he activates them, the meter will fade and the key only lies in finding the perfect balance of filling the meter and using the magic appropriately. There are also sub-weapons, besides the Combat Cross, such as silver knives, fairies, holy water and dark crystals and Gabriel can also block, evade and counter. There are also special abilities to use such as movement enhancing boots, wings which act as a double jump, and a gauntlet which can be devastating if used right. All of these elements sum up a very solid fighting system which is neither rudimentary nor overly complex. It is just right.

 - Platforming: Despite the media backlash of this segment of the game, I found the platforming in LoS very good. The grapple points were better done than in GoW, and everything had it's own take on the matter not feeling copy/pasted or too reminiscent of other games. What I also enjoyed in these parts was the fact that the game didn't held your hand or hinted you on where Gabriel should go next like in Enslaved or Uncharted for example.

 - Puzzles: I have to say I really enjoyed these. They really make the pacing of the game and didn't feel tedious one bit. I particulary enjoyed the directional one where Gabriel has to hit different colors that match directions so that he can reproduce the path onscreen and of course the music-box.

 - Boss battles: If there is one thing I must complain about is the derivative nature of the titan boss fights. Not that they are bad like everyone seems to make them or boring because I actually found them quite atmospheric and cool but the fact that they are copy/pasted from Shadow of the Colossus without the puzzle elements. But it's not the first game to inspire itself from SOTC (Darksiders) so I can pass over it since it reproduced them in the most original way and the best also. The non-titan bosses are really a blast to play and every one of them is impressive in it's own way. From the Black Knight to Cornell or the Crow Witch, every boss fight felt meaty and not so scripted like in other titles. If we're talking bosses, I can't help but applaud MercurySteam for their design choice of the last boss which instead of cliche-mega-big-bad-boss made a human-like appearance.

Another complaint which seems nauseating and overused is that LoS doesn't have what it takes to be a Castlevania title. Well I always ask myself, what is a Castlevania game? It certainly isn't a 2D platformer, nor an anime vampire killing fest since vampires belong to the land of Transylvania, where Vlad Dracul used to rule (I love my history). Tell you what, Lords of Shadow defines what Castlevania is all about and for the fanatics, it really does resemble one of the dearest CV games I've played, Super Castlevania IV (and also Simon's Quest) .

There are barely negatives in my review, and aside from some framerate drops which don't concern me that much and some copied titan battles, the game hits me in all the right places so I can't help but praise it for the work and effort of this underrated developer. The visuals, the notes, the storytelling, the feel and most importantly the meat of gameplay make this not only my game of the year but the most solid game I've played since Playstation 2. The only thing that got me thinking is the epilogue sequence and if the setting happens to be true, I will feel somewhat dissapointed but I have faith in these guys.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2010, 08:36:16 AM by Booboo » Logged

Yggdrasil
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« Reply #78 on: October 25, 2010, 08:50:40 AM »

Well, I think that I need this game in my life. Thanks for the review Booboo, can't wait to play it.
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PaleRobbie
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« Reply #79 on: October 25, 2010, 09:09:11 AM »

Nice review!

I found the game to be quite enjoyable, but I do think it repeats itself a bit too much at times.  It always feels like I'm doing something just a bit longer than I should be (riding monsters, tombstone puzzle with Zobek, etc).  Again, a minor complaint, but something that points out just how awesome the God of War series in terms of pacing, imo.  The combat in LoS is quite excellent, and I can't wait to see what they do with the eventual sequel.  A very enjoyable game indeed.

Also, that epilogue certainly sets up for an interesting sequel.  We'll see what they do!
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CDFN
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« Reply #80 on: October 25, 2010, 09:45:34 AM »

I think the review is a bit too positive. The game needed a bit more polish, there are several examples of bad game design, they didn't bother me very much but they are there.
VA is good but definitely not the best ever, it's not even the best of the year, that title goes to Nier and it's not even a contest.
As for the graphics, I agree completely, the art is great. From a technical point of view, it's frustrating though, like I said before, MLAA would have done wonders for the game and it's so easy to implement and "cheap" to boot. As for the framerate, it really shouldn't be that low, it would've been possible to have those visuals at a sustained 30 fps, especially with no AA.
Though I think it's definitely one of the best games of the year, you just can't shake the feeling that with a bit more polish the game could've reached it's full potential.
Maybe it's unfair to compare the game to Sony's first party efforts when it comes to visuals but looking at how much aliasing hurts the game's IQ and knowing that there's such a great tool as MLAA available on the PS3, it's frustrating.

It's a lot of fun though and really nails that whole fantasy vibe, I didn't play any of the previous castlevania games so I couldn't care less if it feels like a game of the franchise, all I know is that it's one of the best action adventures of this generation.
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Booboo
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« Reply #81 on: October 25, 2010, 10:24:29 AM »

I think the review is a bit too positive. The game needed a bit more polish, there are several examples of bad game design, they didn't bother me very much but they are there.
VA is good but definitely not the best ever, it's not even the best of the year, that title goes to Nier and it's not even a contest.
As for the graphics, I agree completely, the art is great. From a technical point of view, it's frustrating though, like I said before, MLAA would have done wonders for the game and it's so easy to implement and "cheap" to boot. As for the framerate, it really shouldn't be that low, it would've been possible to have those visuals at a sustained 30 fps, especially with no AA.
Though I think it's definitely one of the best games of the year, you just can't shake the feeling that with a bit more polish the game could've reached it's full potential.
Maybe it's unfair to compare the game to Sony's first party efforts when it comes to visuals but looking at how much aliasing hurts the game's IQ and knowing that there's such a great tool as MLAA available on the PS3, it's frustrating.

It's a lot of fun though and really nails that whole fantasy vibe, I didn't play any of the previous castlevania games so I couldn't care less if it feels like a game of the franchise, all I know is that it's one of the best action adventures of this generation.

Yeah, I realised I am a bit too positive but its surely a 10/10 game for me even with it's flaws you mentioned and about the VA... I dunno, they just nailed that fantasy vibe and I always am a sucker for LOTR-related stuff so you could imagine I loved the VA.. but that doesn't mean Nier's VA is not on par... I'll do a review of that once I'll finish it because iunno I love it.
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GrimReality
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« Reply #82 on: October 25, 2010, 11:26:35 AM »


It's a lot of fun though and really nails that whole fantasy vibe, I didn't play any of the previous castlevania games so I couldn't care less if it feels like a game of the franchise, all I know is that it's one of the best action adventures of this generation.
How is this possible? How long have you been gaming? You've never played a single Castlevania game? Wow.
Did you own a SNES? I can't imagine owning a SNES and never playing Super Castlevania IV. God, the music alone makes it a must play.
Perhaps you are younger than I thought you were...
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CDFN
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« Reply #83 on: October 25, 2010, 11:59:16 AM »


It's a lot of fun though and really nails that whole fantasy vibe, I didn't play any of the previous castlevania games so I couldn't care less if it feels like a game of the franchise, all I know is that it's one of the best action adventures of this generation.
How is this possible? How long have you been gaming? You've never played a single Castlevania game? Wow.
Did you own a SNES? I can't imagine owning a SNES and never playing Super Castlevania IV. God, the music alone makes it a must play.
Perhaps you are younger than I thought you were...


I'm 30 years old and I've been gaming since the commodore 64, for 22 years to be more precise. I owned a megadrive/genesis during the 16 bit days, I dunno, it just never happened, it's not like I was avoiding them lol. I guess it's just impossible to keep up with everything. It's like when someone tells me they never played doom. I'm like "where the fuck were you in 1993?!" lol
« Last Edit: October 25, 2010, 12:02:57 PM by CDFN » Logged

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« Reply #84 on: October 25, 2010, 01:41:32 PM »

So I just played through chapter 2 on hard
Code:
I like claudia and her golem
and I'm still having a lot of fun, going back to the early chapters with the new powers is nice, there's a lot of hidden treasure to be found.
Regarding those bad game design issues I mentioned above, I want to elaborate with 3 examples:

During the
Code:
clocktower
level, there's a part where you have to climb up a wall using you're grappling hook and jump over an electric barrier. To make the jump you have to
Code:
double jump away from the wall, a simple jump wont allow you to cross the barrier
, the game never tells you you can do that. This was the only part where I actually got stuck and I only figured it out by accident. I mean, it's obvious that you have to keep climbing while jumping but
Code:
a normal jump
wont give you enough time to pass the barrier.

Punching those switches on the floor. No, I'm not going to post that ridiculous youtube video of the guy who couldn't figure out how to do it, that was pretty obvious imo. The problem is hitting them, especially during the boss fight of that level, it's really annoying, because gabriel will aim for the monster instead of the switch.

During the titan fights you can "sprint" while moving on ledges by pressing the jump button, just like in the GoW games. Not only doesn't the game tell you can do that (and it really helps when you want to dodge the hand of the first titan), but you can only do it during these fights! Why can't you do that during the rest of the game? It's crazy!

There's some really nice music in this game. The framerate during the second titan reminded me of playing SOTC on the PS2. LOL at the
Code:
portal
references, you find one very early in the game in a scroll, I never thought there would actually be a whole level based on it later. During that level there's another scroll with another hilarious reference
Code:
"they call it aperture magic"
lol
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Booboo
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« Reply #85 on: October 25, 2010, 03:33:00 PM »

and all the things you listed above make it a good game for me.. i love it that at least at the platforming bits it doesn't hold your hand, we gamers are not brainless.
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« Reply #86 on: October 25, 2010, 04:04:39 PM »

You're missing the point, you can't just neglect information that is essential to progress in the game. What's your point? "Let's make the game hard by not telling the player what moves he has at his disposal?"
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Booboo
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« Reply #87 on: October 25, 2010, 04:10:50 PM »

You're missing the point, you can't just neglect information that is essential to progress in the game. What's your point? "Let's make the game hard by not telling the player what moves he has at his disposal?"

The game told the player that he can swing on his chain when attached to a grapple point. In most cases you cant swing if hitting square or triangle and this certain element with the electric fence seemed the only possible way. Must it give out all information for free. Cant the player think for himself?

I dunno what's the code for the spoiler tag on this forum.
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CDFN
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« Reply #88 on: October 25, 2010, 04:17:47 PM »

You're missing the point, you can't just neglect information that is essential to progress in the game. What's your point? "Let's make the game hard by not telling the player what moves he has at his disposal?"

The game told the player that he can swing on his chain when attached to a grapple point. In most cases you cant swing if hitting square or triangle and this certain element with the electric fence seemed the only possible way. Must it give out all information for free. Cant the player think for himself?

I dunno what's the code for the spoiler tag on this forum.

I already said that it's obvious, the problem is that you have to do
Code:
a double swing, you can get more distance between yourself and the wall by pressing square/triangle a second time while in the air and you have to do it to get over the barrier

And the game should allow you to move fast when hanging on ledges, it doesn't make the game easier, it makes it faster, the move is already there, why limit it to certain boss battles? It doesn't make sense.
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GrimReality
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« Reply #89 on: October 26, 2010, 10:49:23 AM »


It's a lot of fun though and really nails that whole fantasy vibe, I didn't play any of the previous castlevania games so I couldn't care less if it feels like a game of the franchise, all I know is that it's one of the best action adventures of this generation.
How is this possible? How long have you been gaming? You've never played a single Castlevania game? Wow.
Did you own a SNES? I can't imagine owning a SNES and never playing Super Castlevania IV. God, the music alone makes it a must play.
Perhaps you are younger than I thought you were...


I'm 30 years old and I've been gaming since the commodore 64, for 22 years to be more precise. I owned a megadrive/genesis during the 16 bit days, I dunno, it just never happened, it's not like I was avoiding them lol. I guess it's just impossible to keep up with everything. It's like when someone tells me they never played doom. I'm like "where the fuck were you in 1993?!" lol
I tend to forget that there are people out there who didn't own both consoles. Then again, there WAS an excellent iteration of Castlevania released for the Genesis. Bloodlines rocked.
I alos forget sometimes that Castlevania is not the triple AAA franchise that I have always viewed it as. Screw the Halos, Call of Dutys, and Fallouts. I want my Castlevanias and Metroids!
The sales so far of LoS show this is the case. The new Castlevania has sold just 130,000 copies between the PS3 and 360 while titles like Medal of Honor or FO:NV sell over a million in a couple days. WTF?


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