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PS3 Game Review

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow


Format: PS3
RRP: £49.99
4 012927 051931
Age Restrictions: 16+
Available 08 October 2010

The year is 1047 and it is the end of days. The Lords of Shadows have interfered with the natural order of things, preventing the dead from finding their natural resting place. Gabriel Belmont, a member of the Brotherhood of Light, has already lost his own wife, Marie, murdered by supernatural creatures. From her place in limbo she directs Gabriel on his quest to gain two mystical masks, the God and Devil mask, which holds the promise of returning the world to its natural order and returning Gabriel’s wife to life...

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, on the PS3, is a complete revamp of this successful series and as such is not strongly connected to the previous games.

The game shows that the line between games and movies is getting increasingly thin and whilst it used to be true that most games were narrated by unknown baritone voice actors, Castlevania can boast the voice talents of Robert Carlyle (Gabriel), Patrick Stewart (narrator and Zobek, Gabriel’s mentor) and Natascha McElhone (Marie).

To enhance the cinematic experience the games music was composed by Spanish composer Óscar Araujo and features a one hundred and twenty piece orchestra, which included an eighty strong choir. Although the music is original it does use some themes heard in previous Castlevania games. The game's presentation is complete with a visual flair right from the start. Like a film the game has a specific narrative which pushes forward the adventure, although at times this can make the game feel a little too linear, this is reinforced by the ability to revisit completed parts of the game.

So you play Gabriel as he quests for the pieces of the masks. When the game starts it feels like many other third person games in that you can choose your difficulty level as well as your warrior type. The game open on a rainy environment, which immediately shows the game's quality in both its animation and its attention to detail, as there are rain drops on the fictional camera lens. Visually the game is a real treat.

You don’t get to stand around for long before you’re into the first fight, which serves to run you through the very simple to use combat system. Within the first half hour of the game you’ll battle werewolves, Wargs, from the back of your horse, and engage in puzzles on your way to meet the Guardian of the Lake, where you adventure really begins. Between the combat elements Castlevania has a lot of different puzzles to complete and a fair amount of platform elements.

Gabriel’s weapon of choice is the Combat Cross, which shoot out an extended chain which can do damage to either single opponent or many ay the same time. For longer range mayhem Gabriel is also equipped with throwing knives. The whip can be upgraded and combined with magical powers, giving an impressive range of attacks.

The reimagining of Castlevania is nothing short of a triumph and should secure the franchise's future. That said, the game fails to be the spectacular offering that it could have been. While it is certainly lovely to look at, the linier and compartmentalised nature of the game may turn some players off who would have preferred more open ended exploration.


Charles Packer

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