Hey folks, Valkor here. This afternoon I had the chance to get some serious hands on with one of this year's highly anticipated games, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. When I left the house, I had no idea I'd be sitting down and playing through the first two chapters of the game, and now that I have… I want more. Here's just a brief sampling of what to expect, with tons of screens and video to get you by until the game's release.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is a reboot of the original Castlevania series, head up by Kojima Productions (Metal Gear series) and MercurySteam and everything has been changed from gameplay, graphics, power-ups – basically everything you knew about Castlevania, well toss it out the window because these guys are taking things in a whole other direction.
The story of Lords of Shadow follows Gabriel Belmont, who is a part of a group called "The Brotherhood of Light", which are defenders against all things evil and unnatural. When he see him in the game, he is in mourning as his wife, Marie, had recently died by the hands of the monsters whom he fights against. And now he travels the lands looking for a way to communicate with his wife and possibly save her soul, which is trapped in limbo. He later learns that this rise in evil is due to the Lords of Shadows. As you play through the game you'll uncover the mystery of just who is are the Lords of Shadow and hopefully resurrect your wife from the dead.
Gameplay is very God of War-esque, where you rapidly mash buttons in different orders to perform some mean combos with your trusty crosswhip. As you defeat enemies you'll gain experience points, which you can use to upgrade skills and learn new moves. Later you'll be able to gain neural orbs, which will allow you to perform a kind of magic that will heal you as you defeat enemies or heal you of poisoning. You'll also gain weapons new weapons and learn many new skills that will aid you in your journey such. Graphically the game is gorgeous to look at; lush green scenery, or dark dreary caves welcome you as you enter each stage, though some background scenery sorta meshes a bit, it all comes together nicely.
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I had already played the E3 demo, but to be able to sit down and go much further than the demo was a treat I wasn't expecting. If I had the time, I could have completed the game and this wouldn't be a preview, but a full on review. So my opinion of the game thus far: I was impressed. I loved the RPG elements of finding and acquiring weapons, gaining and using experience to increase the strength of the character, plus finding additional weapons to kick some serious ass. I'd thought it had been all about the whips, but there's so much more. One of my greatest challenges in the game was fighting this huge Ice Titan. Yes there's a pattern to follow, but when he hits you, he hits you hard and putting him down won't be a walk in the park. But with patience you'll be able to bust up his runes and move on to chapter 2. There are about 12 chapters with over 50 levels to get through. And what's cool is that as you acquire new skill you can go back and replay those stages to get to an area or an item that you couldn't reach before. Overall Lords of Shadow was loads of fun to play and I can't wait to check out what else is in store. Look for Lords of Shadows to be released Oct. 5 on the Xbox 360 and PS3 platforms. And stay tuned to the pages of TOV for more of this awesome game.