Mercury Steam surprised the gaming world and Castlevania fans with Lords of Shadow back in 2010 with a bold new look and take on the immensely popular series. The world was larger with grand landscapes, intense action and enormous boss battles rivaling God of War in terms of scope and execution. Mirror of Fate was then released continuing the story line first for the Nintendo 3DS and later for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Is Lords of Shadow 2 a worthy successor to these two excellent titles?
This final and thrilling chapter in Konami’s Lords of Shadow series has a fantastic introduction. Gabriel Belmont, a previous member of the Brotherhood of Light, has succumbed to what he swore to fight against and has become no other than dark lord himself, Dracula. The game begins with Dracula sitting at his throne sipping blood from a chalice when his front chamber doors are in danger of being breached. This appears to be more of an annoyance to him than a concern. Once the knights break through, players take over and the carnage begins. For those new to the series, this short skirmish is a nice tutorial to get familiar with the basic combat mechanics which are once again rock solid.
Once the knights are disposed of, Dracula walks out to the castle balcony overlooking a huge army below with fireballs lighting up the sky and a gigantic mechanical titan looking to take down his estate. His gaze is taken off this titan when a Golden Paladin lands on the balcony ready to end his reign over the region. Players are thrown into some serious chaos quickly as they fight the Golden Paladin and soldiers as Dracula makes his way up the towering titan. He defeats it in a rather exorcist like manner sure to shock some players. Once the titan falls apart and crumbles to the ground, the final confrontation with the Paladin and Dracula take place with a crowd of soldiers watching looking like a medieval fight club. This fight doesn’t end well wiping out the Paladin and remaining army in a final blast reminiscent of a nuclear bomb going off. If this amazing cinema wasn’t awesome enough, Alucard soon appears which firmly kicks off the plot for Lords of Shadows 2.
Centuries past after what was thought to be the demise of Dracula but he awakens, frail, weak and angry. He must feed and slowly reclaim his powers and strength before he can accomplish his greatest desire…ridding the curse of immortality.
Dracula has 3 main weapons which are his whip, claws and sword. Players will find themselves switching between these often in battle. They are fueled by magic which one only has so much of, so gamers have to use them wisely. When faced with a shielded enemy, Dracula use his claws break through while the sword will help gather needed health for the player while in use. With experience points comes an impressive attack list to unlock for players. You’ll be combing through the different options for quite some time carefully choosing what looks the most devastating or possibly the most fun to use in battle.
The game transitions from modern day to times past throughout the campaign telling the story in a very unique way. Graphically Lords of Shadow 2 does not disappoint. My favorite areas are the dark gothic worlds that scream Castlevania. With that said, the modern day city is still well done and beautiful to look at in its own way. A younger Trevor leads Dracula early on and gives him the White Wolf Medallion. This is what allows players to transition from both worlds. Rest assured this sequel contains the epic boss fights found in the first entry which made it such a popular hit. The enemies seem a bit odd at times but that’s usually found in the modern day setting where we haven’t seen Dracula before. Another new implementation in Lords of Shadows 2 is stealth. While it wasn’t exactly necessary, it did mix up the gameplay giving gamers a break from the heat of battle.
MercurySteam has added several new features to this exciting sequel to Lords of Shadows. Players wage war in a more open world like environment and transition from modern day to the past all while trying to end the curse of mortality. The combat has been improved and it’s beautiful graphically. Fans of the first game and Mirror of Fate owe it to themselves to get their hands on this one. “Blood is family. Blood is power. Blood is everything.”