Castlevania Lords of Shadow : Preview

The plague that has run through the veins of the Castlevania franchise may be wiped away come this October. Mercury Steam, in association with Kojima productions, will be bringing Castlevania Lords of Shadow to the PS3 and 360. But, you already knew that. What you may have not known , though, is that this title may end up finally successfully migrating the franchise to 3d. Prior 3d installments , from Castlevania 64′ to Curse of Darkness, haven’t been quite notable in terms of what makes a good action game, hell not even what makes a good Castlevania game. From what we’ve seen of Lords of Shadow indicates a turn for the good. You have Gabriel Belmont spotlighting the story in a quest to resurrect his deceased wife by way of a Mask with special powers. Along the way you’ll battle the usual Castlevania enemies, and of course, make your way to Dracula’s castle. With 12 chapters making up the narrative, this seems to be an adventure Castlevania fans and action/adventure fans are surely going to enjoy. So how does the beginning of the game play and what does it indicate for the rest of the game?

The year is 1047 and Gabriel Belmont has set foot on a rainy village, the same one we see in almost every trailer. From the get-go Gabriel is tasked with saving the townsfolk from a pack of werewolves. This then kick-starts a brand new story that serves as a sort of reboot of the Castlevania franchise.

When players bring up the map screen they’ll notice that there are 12 chapters, as aforementioned. Each of these chapters entails multiple stages. Making for a total of almost 50 levels. And these chapters can take quite a while to beat. As stated in the IGN preview , it took the person playing almost 8 hours to be knee deep into Chapter 3.

There are collectibles and upgrades galore. Upgrades come in the form of Whip enhancements and ones which grant Gabriel new abilities to use in combat. Upon completing levels , challenges are spawned for the levels already cleared. Rewarding players said accolades.

As for the enemies of the game. You’ll take onhordes of grotesque creatures. And not only that, you’ll also be able to mount and ride certain enemies like the troll. The opening act of the game also sees Gabriel battling Werg riders while on horseback. Don’t expect to always be able to ride any of the specific mountable enemies though, as they serve to aid you in terms of the puzzle-platforming integrated into the gameplay.

As is common knowledge for everyone following the game , Gabriel weilds a combat-cross which is essentially a whip akin to what you’ll use in classic vanias of the 8-bit and 16-bit eras. As noted, you will be able to upgrade this and gain different sub-weapons in classic vania fashion. But it’s not all combat orientation for the whip, as you’ll be able to use it to platform your way through the game’s environments , channeling Super Castlevania IV’s 8 way whipping and it’s ability to swing you across platforms.

Already we can see alot of influences from classic entries in the franchise. But, Lords of Shadow also seems to be taking cues from another game, in terms of boss batles and that game is Shadow of the Colussus. The boss battles are gigantic in terms of the bosses and the battle itself. One noteable boss, which can also be seen in the e3 trailer, is the ice titan. The ice titan, along with other huge bosses require the player to scale the mammoth and find the weak points and go from there. So hacking and slashing against a towering foe won’t do the trick here. It’ll all add the epicness of the entire package. And personally, I’m expecting the final Dracula confrontation to reach these proportions.

As for what the beginning indicates for the remainder of the adventure? Well, all signs point to this being quite a memorable entry in the Castlevania franchise. You don’t reach the castle just yet within the games first hours but it’s promised that you will eventually and you’ll be met with classic foes, and of course remixes of classic tunes.  The game hits in less than two months and it’s sure to be the 3d vania people have been waiting for.

More info on the game as it comes.


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