In the first Lords of Shadow game, many noticed that the environments that MercurySteam introduced were somewhat linear. Well, in this sequel, MercurySteam took that criticism and made the environments somewhat larger, opening several paths for hidden treasures and items. In the both settings that you will be venturing to, I find Dracula’s castle to be the one to explore as it gives you that nostalgic feel of the side scrolling game. Seeing those dark hallways and creepy monsters are epic, and I prefer exploring them than the gothic London setting.
In addition to the Dracula’s Castle that you will be venturing to, you will spend a large part of your time in the modernized gothic-look London city. While it’s rather new to the series to introduce a modern setting, I find it ruining the whole Castlevania feel to it. One thing that creeped me out are the Satan creatures using guns. It would be awesome if MercurySteam stuck to Dracula’s Castle, but I see why they have to add that other setting to make the overall story work. In addition, there is one more thing that I found very unnecessary and unpolished – that’s the stealth part of the game. When on the modern world, you will be venturing through certain areas where you will sneak up to an enemy using Dracula’s power like the ability to distract them using bats or transform into a rat. Sure, the powers may sound cool but the execution of its stealth gameplay is rather weak and unpolished. Whenever you are detected, expect that you will be dead with no ability to fight back. As for the sneaking around enemies, it’s rather simple and doesn’t revolutionize anything.
When it comes to the visuals of Lords of Shadow 2, not a lot has improved. If you are playing the PS3 version, which I used to play for this review, I suggest to install the optional data it asks you. Not installing it will give you unpolished textures and shoddy graphics. In addition, if you grew fond of the impressive voice acting and storytelling of the first game, the sequel will give you that same feeling as everything from its presentation to the characters are perfectly played by its actors.
From everything introduced in the game, I find the boss fights to be rather enjoyable. No, it didn’t innovate the boss fights we all played in the past but the execution and presentation of what MercurySteam did are exemplary. Each of the bosses that you will get to fight will have a variety of attacks that you will need to figure out. The bosses are well designed, and there are a lot of them in this game. If you want challenging and memorable epic boss fights, you will find it in this game.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is a game that many fans of the reboot will most likely play as it offer things that many have loved in the first game. The combat system is still great with Gabriel’s new powers, the lore will further be expanded, and exploring Dracula’s castle in metroidvania style will be among the things that many fans will enjoy. For those who are looking for big changes that innovates the series, they will not find it here. The new things MercurtySteam introduced like the stealth system and the introduction of a modern setting are the things I find unnecessary and it hurts the game a little. Don’t fret though- Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is still a game for fans to pick up despite the shortcomings.
[Editor’s Note: Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2 was reviewed on the PS3 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 Review,