Review: Castlevania Lord of Shadow: Mirror of Fate HD

castlevania info
castlevania story
This game is an origin story. It’s a retelling of the twisted relationship between the Belmont family of vampire hunters and Dracula. The game starts with us controlling Trevor Belmont and how he battles his way through the dark forces of Dracula, to finally meet his doom and that of his wife. Trevor’s section is brief, and is mostly there to show us the motives behind Simon’s reason for desiring Dracula’s destruction: Revenge. As an orphan Simon was raised in the mountains, and when he is finally ready, he walks into the darkness of Dracula, to search him out and destroy him. He meets Alucard along the way, which also has his own motives for wishing his own father’s destruction. It’s a simple enough story, and being able to control three characters in order to understand it gives it a different and more fulfilling perspective.

castlevania presentation
The graphics within the gameplay looked quite dated to me. I feel like the design was somewhat lazy with the environment, comparing it to other settings that I have seen with older Castlevania titles, which always looked solemn and majestic to me, this one falls short. Some other issues that I found were also with the platforming; some places looked reachable but were not, or sometimes I found myself stepping off into a hole because it looked like there was something I could step on. I choose to give it the benefit of the doubt in that regard, because maybe it was just my TV that had a poor gamma adjustment.

astlevania screen1
Cutscenes looked very beautiful in contrast to the gameplay graphics. They were cell shaded highly stylized in design, and really reminded me of the whole aesthetic found in a Borderlands game, which to me is a good thing.

Sound design and music was nothing short of exquisite. Before, I said the game lacked the majesty and solemnity of old Castlevania games, but that was visually. In terms of sound and music, it was there, new and improved. Many times I would sit still, and just listen to the beautifully orchestrated music, which made me feel slight melancholy at times. I would definitively recommend purchasing the soundtrack if you are interested in this kind of music.

Castlevania gameplay
The first thing I noticed, is that the game seems remarkably similar to what God of War would be if it had a side scrolling counterpart. The combat is simple and combo based, where you chain combos together to get build up different finishers for each of them. The main weapon is a whip, and it’s extremely similar to Krato’s blades, with the chains attached and all. The platforming is pretty straight forward; most of the game just requires you to simply follow your next destination which is presented to you in the map through simple colour coded markers.

There’s some puzzle elements to the game, but they are extremely simple and basic. They were only a mild inconvenience in the face of everything else the game has to offer.

castlevania screen2
I say that Mirror of Fate HD is very similar to God of War’s combat in 2D form, but in all honesty, I think this game pulls it off better. Blocking and counter attacking is very satisfying, and when you’re faced with large groups of opponents, it’s much more complicated than just simply blocking and counter attacking.

The highlight of the combat is boss battles. Some of them are very difficult and require quick thinking to come up with strategies to approach them. Their actions have a pattern that can be figured out and exploited, but they aren’t simple and straightforward enough to make them unexciting. Some boss battles are extremely difficult, even after having figured out the patterns to their actions.
Even though the game offers you 3 characters to control through different parts of the story, they are unfortunately almost a rehash of each other in terms of gameplay. Their combos and blocking stances are practically identical, with each character only having variation with their special abilities, which doesn’t provide a big enough sense of difference.

castlevania conclusion
I would say that a game like this is a nice addition to anyone’s game collection, but not really something essential, unless you’re a Castlevania fan, in which case you’re probably going to buy it anyway. The combat is satisfying and the music is absolutely incredible. Some poor decisions were made in environmental design, but not enough to actually break the game. In the end, it’s a solid enough experience.

castlevania end

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