aNewDomain.net — Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2 is a last generation sequel created by the excellent development studio MercurySteam. The studio picked up right where it left off — in the footsteps of Gabriel Belmont, who has transformed into the all-too-familiar terror: Dracula. The game is a direct followup to the last Castlevania, in that it continues the twist from the first game’s epilogue. You are now fighting as Dracula, 1000 years in the future, in a city built around your ruined castle. It feels good, even great, to finally embody the haunting figure we all know and love.
Throughout the game you regain a number of lost powers after your long sleep. Abilities such as the Void Sword (a sub-weapon that replenishes your health with each attack) and the capacity to become mist, which helps you evade attacks and pass through barriers, are two key standouts. You regain these abilities via the familiar “two worlds” mechanic, which transports you back and forth through time to your castle and the city. This traversal is used frequently and, along with the ultra-atmospheric setting that persists throughout the game, the time jump maintains variety and excitement. You are able to witness many differences between locales and time periods, which makes the world rich.
The gameplay itself is very reminiscent of games like God of War and Devil May Cry. Action exists from every angle, while aerial-based combat (jumping, essentially) is just as important as grounded.
As you progress you earn experience points that can be used to upgrade your weapon or sub-weapons. The upgrades unlock a multitude of techniques and combos, which not only give the combat significant variety, but also challenge you to string together advanced techniques for maximum damage and crowd control. The skill required as the game advances increases at a steady pace and these combos will eventually be needed in order to survive dangerous encounters. If you think you can breeze through this game with just the basics, be warned, you can’t.
Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2 is a great throwback to the 8- and 16-bit generation of games — where, of course, Castlevania was born. Playing as Dracula himself is a thrill, to put it lightly. Growing up with these games, I was always on the other side of the situation. Now, though, to be playing as the Prince of Darkness, to see how servants and enemies react and tremble in your presence, provides a rush of nostalgia as well as an overwhelming sense of superiority and power. There isn’t another game out there that goes so far back, and does it so well — for me at least.
The musical score is evocative, and the gothic vistas offer a fantastic living world for a full-player immersion. The voice actors were all carried over from the original game, which creates excellent continuity. These actors/voices deliver powerful, emotional performances that make me feel each character, and I even go so far as to care for or pity them.
The game’s story does carry heavy religious overtones. This felt fairly normal, as the games usually build the depth of the Dracula character through religious iconography and lore.
Overall, Lords of Shadow 2‘s action, story, and masterful audio and visual artistry are worthy of a play through. The game is definitely is recommended. If you are a long-time fan of the series, and especially if you played its predecessor, Lords of Shadow 2 is a must play. I give it 4 bloody fangs out of 5. Make sure to watch the thrilling videos below!
For aNewDomain.net, I’m Demetrius Mandzych.
Based on the Jersey Shore, Demetrius Mandzych is passionate about tech and has worked in game development, programming, graphic design, 3D modeling and photography. Read all Demetrius’ consumer tech articles here on aNewDomain.net. Follow Demetrius on Twitter at @Redestium. On Google+ he’s +Demetrius Mandzych.