Developer: Mercury Steam
Release Date: 2/25/2014
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Whether you like it or not I have to start out by saying Lords of Shadow 1 was a masterpiece. The game was finely crafted in all angles that make up a great video game. It was the best Castlevania reboot ever done and a fantastic action adventure genre. It was challenging, beautiful, and memorable. Lords of Shadow 2 is not so much. In fact, I don’t know what happened. They took everything that made Lords of Shadow 1 great and threw it out the window.
The story picks up after Mirror of Fate. Gabriel wants to die and have eternal peace. He already has to deal with the death of Maria. Zobek (voiced by Patrick Stewart) will give him the Vampire Killer in exchange for killing Satan. In order to do this you much help out various other people and find 3 of Satan’s Acolytes. You see, even the story got screwed up. The first game’s story flowed and was touching, Lords of Shadow 2 takes forever to get interesting and has very few cutscenes until the very end. The setting also really throws the game off; being set in modern times just ruins the whole thing. The level design is terrible and confusing with a poorly implemented “open world” design that just makes you want to tear your hair out.
The game starts off with a nice pace, but once you step out into the present times all that magic from the first game just disappears. Secondly, the combat hasn’t changed much and the upgrade system feels meaningless. While the combat is still responsive, and quite good, the enemies that defined the use of the combat system have been simplified and cut down to a mere half-dozen. Yes, the same half-dozen enemies through the entire game. It’s repetitive and irritating and you will end up just running past most of them if you can. Not to mention the increased amount of collectibles in the game require going back through these labyrinthine levels and remembering where these spots are.
If that isn’t disappointing enough the ending is just terrible. Unlike the sad tearful ending of the first game we just get a “what the hell is this?” ending leading into another Lords of Shadow game we know will never happen. At least the boss fights are fun and honestly the best part of the whole game. They are super challenging and the designs are pretty cool. Satan is a very challenging boss and worthy of being an end boss. Chipping away at health and scrounging your items is fun, but it should be through the entire game, not just the boss fights.
It also doesn’t help that the only store is in one part in the entire game. You have to go all the way back just to buy something. I honestly wanted this game to be a more linear path so it feels more unique. But here’s the worst part about the game: Stealth sections. Yes, why the hell are there stealth sections in a Castlevania game? They are broken and just boring and completely slow the game down. Some are confusing, most are boring, and they are all completely unnecessary. Instead of the clever puzzles of the first game, the developers lazily through in stealth sections to replace them. Lords of Shadow 2 is just a lazy excuse of a game that never should have been.
At least the graphics are fantastic and the voice acting is superb. None of that matters if everything around it is sub-part to a masterpiece. As it is, Lords of Shadow 2 won’t please fans of the first game and definitely won’t draw in haters of the first game to give it a chance. If you never play this game you won’t miss out on anything even if you played the first, do yourself a favor and just forget it even exists.