WeeklyVania: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate preview

First and foremost, I have to make an announcement. I’d like to think of Rely on Horror as one of the best survival horror web sites out there. With that, I also think of it as a community filled with awesome readers (both frequent and new). Recently I’ve been pushing the concept of weekly columns focused on specific, beloved series. For Silent Hill, we may not have a weekly column (lazy CJ!), but we do have Broken Silence. Then I have Resident Evil covered with my weekly reHorror column– which also keeps our site’s original name alive. So I want to do the same for another series: Castlevania.

You may have noticed DailyVania floating around. Well, you won’t be seeing that anymore. What you’ll see now is WeeklyVania, and it won’t be run by me. I’m giving one of our writers, Mike Angileri, control of that weekly feature. Like me, Mike’s a huge ‘vania fan, and this feature will thrive in his hands.

Rely on Horror will now have three channels, so to speak, one for RE, SH and Castlevania fans (I am trying to put together a Dead Space weekly column, too!). So, I’m kicking off this weekly feature with this introduction and a preview of Mirror of fate, then after that it’ll be all Mike. So, enough talk, have at you!

Mirror of Fate, from a combat perspective, is pretty much a side-scrolling Lords of Shadow. And that’s a very good thing that I’m glad to see actually work nicely. You have your light and shadow magic still, and you can still roll around, sync block (like pictured above) and perform light and heavy attacks with Trevor’s combat cross. Platforming also works in a similar fashion, except now there’s more of it, akin to the classic titles.

The demo was set within the confines of the castle and it truly screamed Castlevania in terms of atmosphere. It also helped that you had skeleton warriors to fight, another classic series staple, as well as vampire bats. They won’t go down as easily as the ones from the past, 2D, games, though. They take much more effort and you’ll have to use combos to your advantage here, as well as your sub-weapon, which in the demo’s case was boomerang cross. The same goes for the shielded warriors, which actually took quite a bit off my health bar. There were two boss encounters in the demo, too. One against a giant armored warrior and the other with the Executioner (pictured below) which proved to be one hell of a boss that kept friggin’ killing me! I eventually beat him and found quite a long line waiting to play behind me. Oops.

There was a good amount of back-tracking, too, all in that classic Symphony of the Night mold. One part required you to pull a lever, opening a gate, making you run back in time before it closes. Then you also had a part where Trever had to pull down a chandelier, sending it crashing down, to reveal an area underneath one of the castle’s chapels. The swinging works fluidly, too, but there was one instance where I kept falling. It wasn’t because of the controls, though, it was because I, for some reason, couldn’t really see the platform to hop on to in front of Trevor.

One thing that didn’t remain true from the original reports of the game was the camera use. There was none of that here. This was a traditional side-scroller set within the Lords of Shadow universe through and through, from what I played at E3. Not a bad thing at all, but I was expecting the cameras to be used in a neat way after what we read and when taking the game’s title into consideration. But hey, maybe they’re saving that as a surprise for later.

I had a blast playing Mirror of Fate and I’m desperately waiting for it to release sometime this Fall. There was no playable demo for Simon, so we’ll have to wait a bit longer to see the iconic hero in acton. However, Trevor plays wonderfully and he’s a worth successor to Gabriel. But before I conclude this, I just have to talk a bit about the music!

Some may hate it, but the battle theme from the original game’s back in Mirror of Fate’s combat segments. It goes along nicely with the action once again, but I know some prefer more catchy tunes. I love Oscar Araujo’s compositions, so I don’t mind seeing this track return. But all in all, this truly felt like a Castlevania game. I still want to see more classic tunes remixed, though! I can’t wait for the game’s release and how it’ll lead up to the events of Lords of Shadow 2. This is the second part of Mercury Steam’s Lords of Shadow story, and it’s shaping to be one fans of the classic series will adore. We’ll be able to whip it good sometime this Fall.


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