Really late to the party here, but I just played through the whole game again with the Ultimate Collection on PC. Here are some of my thoughts after walking away from the game for nearly three years:
-The game starts off miserably slow. The first areas, environments and enemy encounters are pretty awful. It's easy to get lost, the cutscenes are way too plentiful and don't explain anything, and the game hides the combat for far too long. The first three level barely have any real combat, so you have to play for around an hour and half before things start to open up.
-Combat is pretty good for the most part, but Gabirel isn't nearly as responsive as other characters in this genre. He sometimes blocks immediately, other times he won't. His rolling is also a complete pain in the ass to control at times, and the invincibility on this animation fluctuates wildly. Worse still, the lack of a midair block is just bizarre and feels wrong. Gabriel has no defenses once in the air, but the game practically demands you go aerial during certain scenes or to get the highest possible combos. I can't count the number of times I went for the air lift, realized the enemy blocks, and then fell back to earth helplessly waiting to get hit. Such garbage and a really easy thing to fix.
-Combat ends up broken by horribly cheap enemies who ignore attacks whenever they feel like it. Skeletons and phantom swordsmen are the worst, as it seems like they're stunned by your attacks and then they just break through and cheap shot you for huge damage. You can rarely get off a full combo before having to either dodge or block, and both of these, as mentioned before, just don't work that great.
-The platforming sections in here are all awful. Gabriel controls like a dump truck with a flat tire. You can't even spin around in place; he just starts walking forward in whatever direction you press. This made sections like the music box and clocktower practically unplayable for me. He doesn't really connect with the ground so much as slide around it. I actually fell through the cracks on certain scenes with moving platforms, showing that the game has serious problems with stable geometry.
-Things get really good when you get to the castle and actually fight some damn vampires. It's like all of the good stuff in the game was reserved for these chapters. The enemies feel right, the platforming actually works halfway decently, and the art design is on fire. Weird that the rest of the game is so much fluff that never really plays properly. I died three times in the necromancer area from invisible walls that i could actually hop over by accident. The fuck?!
-The last DLC boss fight is a pile of fucking puke that should have been balanced properly. Gabriel isn't responsive enough to deal with all of those attacks.
I don't know. I was really excited for the sequel in Februrary, but playing the original game again really started to piss me off to the point that I might wait and see if they really did make some improvements. I can live with the awful platforming and crap like that, but I refuse to play a game when the combat is frustrating simply because the enemies cheap attack you every two seconds. Thank God they're putting in a fully 3D camera, because that may be the most inexcusable thing about Lords of Shadow. Someone should have been shot for that travesty...
Should point at that in this thread WAY back when I said Gabriel was super responsive. Maybe it was the PC controls or I was drinking way too much scotch back then, but he really isn't as maneuverable as I thought he was three years ago. Blocking just never feels good, and you'll often roll right into attacks and end up hit because the invincibility timing is all sorts of screwey.