Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2 is the follow up to 2010’s Lords of Shadow, and 2013’s Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate. In this 3rd person action/adventure game you play as Dracula, fighting in a city built on the remains of your castle, while trying to stop Satan’s acolytes and uncover the mysterious link to your castle in the past. As a fan of the first game in the series I really enjoyed this games story, and newcomers will even be happy to know that the game does a good job at filling you in on the events that took place in the first two games. There were a few things that really stood out to me, like the game’s beautiful gothic art direction. It’s what you would expect from a Castlevania title, and is even more impressive every time you encounter a new boss. What I enjoyed the most though, is this games deep combat system.
With three main weapons, each with its own style and plenty of combos to unlock, the combat rewards you for using each one respectively. With every combo and move you successfully pull off, you increase that combo’s mastery; once at 100% you can then put that towards a weapons overall mastery and increase its damage output. You also gather Relics to use in combat that serve a number of purposes like slowing time, healing yourself, and a Relic that unlocks every combo and full mastery for each of your weapons, temporarily of course.
At times you’ll really feel like the prince of darkness himself, but these moments of greatness can be easily forgotten once you encounter the games odd stealth elements. For a vampire that is supposed to be feared by most you wouldn’t really think of him as the sneaky type, but these stealth sequences will make you feel less like a lord of shadow and more like Peter Pan’s shadow. In most situations there isn’t even a way to correct a mistake and try again without being turned into guano. In a game where you control a guy that’s immortal, dying does a good job at breaking the illusion. Keep in mind though that these stealth sequences, although frustrating and weird, don’t happen so often as to break the game.
There’s a lot of enjoyment to be had in Lords of Shadow 2. Between the challenges and collectibles I still managed to pull a few more hours out of my first play-through and for the hardcore fans there’s even a “New Game +” option. Fan of the franchise or not, this game is still very accessible from both a gameplay and narrative standpoint. If you want to play Lords of Shadow 2 you can pick it up for the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and for PC as well.