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Author Topic: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow  (Read 9264 times)
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The Rocketman
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« Reply #120 on: December 01, 2010, 11:41:43 AM »

Random thoughts:
(If you want something cohesive, don’t read internet fora).

Just finished it, and I immensely enjoyed it the entire time. I think this will be my console GOTY. (This is also my 2nd game on a console this year, the first being Halo: Reach, so the competition isn’t exactly fierce.)

I was a fan of Ninja Gaiden (on the original xbox) when I was still a student and had a lot of time to master a difficult-but-ultimately-rewarding game. However, since all that free gaming time has since disappeared in a big black hole (and got replaced by more ‘responsible’ activities, like work, housekeeping and making babies), my gaming preferences have changed. So when Ninja Gaiden II came out on xbox 360, I sucked at it, and had no time/enthousiasm to get better at it, so I decided I had outgrown these gore&blood action fighting games.

I was wrong.

Or, at least, Castlevania has shown to me that gore&blood action fighting games could also be extremely fun from the beginning, by easing the player into it. What a novel idea! Don’t insult the puny skills and scare away your 25+ public, but let them have fun! The fighting system itself works just fine. It's fluid, easy (no need to memorise a lot), and rewards the player for being flexible: Do a couple of quick slashes, roll away, throw a dagger, jump when an enemy does an area attack, end your jump with an arial combo, block - Ooh synchronised block, I rock! - turn on shadow magic, do some heavy slashes... Fun! (Okay, for a real comparison, also add a couple of "get hit" sequences in there).

Lords of Shadow clicked for me from the moment I read that the game is set “In the year of Our Lord 1042”. Since this phrase is approximately the 3rd phrase uttered in the entire game, I was gripped from pretty much the beginning.
Now, it could be a different year, that’s not really the point. I don’t get a kick out of games in 1042. It’s the phrasing “the year of Our Lord”. Hot damn, I’m a sucker for some European Medieval asskicking in any year that’s one of Our Lord’s. I don’t know why, I just kind of start smiling when I think of it.

The cutscenes and art in the game is phenomenal. Loads of levels, all beautifully detailed.
A ridiculous amount of enemies. Yes, it’s sort of sad that the really cool ones (skeletons, giant knights, spectral swordmasters) are only encountered in a few instances, and the generic ones (little werewolves an little vampires) are encountered in boatloads. A boat the size of an aircraft carrier. And loads of these aircraft carriers. But overall, the pacing of the combat encounters is phenomenal (again that word!).

Basically the game is subdivided in platforming parts, puzzling, boss encounters and combat encounters. And it mixes these things up nicely, so you’ll never get bored. Or at least I didn’t. Too many games these days are an adrenaline rush from start to finish, and have no pacing to speak of. But they have forgotten that it was the pacing that made Half-Life the classic it is. Don’t let a guy run through a corridor killing other guys. No, make him run through a few empty corridors, then lock the big room he’s in, release the nerve gas, start drowning his puppy, and send a mix of wimpy and tough guys at him. That’s pacing.

So, this game has pacing.
It has a lot of enemies.
It has great levels to kill these perfectly paced enemies in.
You can kill these enemies in a very robust and flexible combat system.

And the story is good too! Truly, the cherry on the cake.

I’ve noticed the game got a lot of backlash, because it didn’t feel like a proper Castlevania game. This didn’t bother me, because I’m not a big Castlevania nut. I only played Simon’s Quest on the NES, and a couple of other ones (on NES emulators and one I downloaded on xbox marketplace a few years back).
I do get where this criticism comes from however, and I found that the proper ‘gothic’ levels (mostly the part against the 2nd Lord, the vampire) fit the theme best.

And here my random thoughts end. I kind of like it I guess.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2010, 11:45:24 AM by The Rocketman » Logged
Andrew Mallon
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« Reply #121 on: December 02, 2010, 05:31:21 PM »

I've been playing this off and on for the last three weeks or so and I think the game is fantastic. Love the atmosphere and the combat system especially. I think someone mentioned earlier in this thread that the game rewards you for learning the combat system and varying up your play style. I love how I can go back and replay the same levels and just by using different elements of the combat system have a completely different experience.

My biggest complaint so far is that it's hard for me to imagine how they could have implemented a worse camera system. Developers, if I am running from East to West, don't change the camera angle so that I now running from West to East. Even worse is when the angle changes so I'm running North to South or South to North. It's completely disorienting. There's no good reason to do this, ever!

Also, the narration at the beginning of each level is just terrible. Patrick Stewart does a fine job with the voice-over, but the dialog is so overwrought and dramatic that I can't believe someone didn't speak up during development or QA. Hire a writer if your developers can't write.
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Kevin Grey
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« Reply #122 on: December 02, 2010, 11:11:16 PM »

Quote from: Andrew Mallon on December 02, 2010, 05:31:21 PM

Also, the narration at the beginning of each level is just terrible. Patrick Stewart does a fine job with the voice-over, but the dialog is so overwrought and dramatic that I can't believe someone didn't speak up during development or QA. Hire a writer if your developers can't write.

My biggest problem with that stuff is that it was a classic case of tell, not show.  The narration talks a lot about Gabriel's state of mind, demeanor, etc but none of it is ever shown in the game. 
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disarm
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« Reply #123 on: December 03, 2010, 02:18:43 AM »

i just finished this game last night and pretty much loved the whole thing...definitely one of my best gaming surprises of the year.  i really enjoyed the combat thanks to a large list of moves and the light/shadow magic system.  i have to admit that i really never felt like it was necessary to use most of the available combos (got by mostly with simple attacks), but just having the choice of completing areas in different ways was enough to keep the combat interesting.  i also found the story interesting enough to hold my attention the entire time...plot was pretty basic, but it provided a good framework for the various environments and enemies in the game, and the ending had a nice surprise twist.  the real highlight of the game, however, was the artwork and level design.  Castlevania is a great looking game and impressed me with its style and creativity from start to finish.  i'll even go so far as to say that the artistry to LoS gives GoW3 a run for its money in many aspects.  combine the fun combat and story with some truly fantastic artistry, and Castlevania turned out to be a surprisingly good game for something that was barely on my radar before i got caught up in the forum effect.  i'll definitely be in for a sequel if they choose to continue the series icon_cool

i played LoS on my 360 (new 'slim' model without installing) and despite seeing mention of occassional slowdown and choppy framerates in a lot of reviews, i can't recall a single time in the game where i noticed any problems at all.  if there were any inconsistencies, they must have been minor enough that i failed to notice them in the heat of battle.  i think it ran very well for a game that looks so great and featured such large areas in many levels.

one last thing that involves a spoiler from near the ending...
Spoiler for Hiden:
how cool was the design of that final level with all the platforming before the final two boss fights?  the size of that entire area with the floating platforms portals was impressive, even if the portals were a little gimmicky.  top it all of with a very cool dragon lich battle, and i think that area rivaled some of the best platforming and large-scale boss fighting in God of War 3.
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The Rocketman
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« Reply #124 on: December 03, 2010, 08:28:37 AM »

Quote from: disarm on December 03, 2010, 02:18:43 AM

i played LoS on my 360 (new 'slim' model without installing) and despite seeing mention of occassional slowdown and choppy framerates in a lot of reviews, i can't recall a single time in the game where i noticed any problems at all.  if there were any inconsistencies, they must have been minor enough that i failed to notice them in the heat of battle.  i think it ran very well for a game that looks so great and featured such large areas in many levels.

I'm playing on a noisy 1st generation xbox, and I didn't have any framerate issues either. I was really worried about them at first, reading about them here. But I really had NO issues whatsoever. Are people here complaining because their framerate isn't 60 fps smooth, or are there technical issues between different xbox models...? It's the same with Halo: Reach. No framerate drops for me there...

Quote from: Kevin Grey
My biggest problem with that stuff is that it was a classic case of tell, not show.  The narration talks a lot about Gabriel's state of mind, demeanor, etc but none of it is ever shown in the game.
Yeah, that's a valid criticism. The game has fantastic cutscenes, but there aren't that many of them in the middle of the game, mostly in the beginning and at the end. A couple of more would have fleshed things out better. 
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whiteboyskim
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« Reply #125 on: January 14, 2011, 09:17:53 PM »

I'm only at chapter 2 bu I'm really enjoying it. The game is gorgeous, I love the creature design, it's fun to play and you can seriously bring the hurt. It also nails the tone and feel of a Castlevania game despite not being in a castle at this point. Really cool. And I don't mind that it rips off so many other games (Shadow of the Colossus being the most egregious example up to this point) because there's so much energy to it that I'm willing to run with it and have fun. Hopefully the rest is just as good or better.
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« Reply #126 on: January 14, 2011, 09:23:13 PM »

Quote from: whiteboyskim on January 14, 2011, 09:17:53 PM

I'm only at chapter 2 bu I'm really enjoying it. The game is gorgeous, I love the creature design, it's fun to play and you can seriously bring the hurt. It also nails the tone and feel of a Castlevania game despite not being in a castle at this point. Really cool. And I don't mind that it rips off so many other games (Shadow of the Colossus being the most egregious example up to this point) because there's so much energy to it that I'm willing to run with it and have fun. Hopefully the rest is just as good or better.

I am in the castle right now...   Just got done with a pretty big "boss" fight.. 

This is a good damn game.  (As long as you don't mind that it borrowed from other games)

Silly to me.  Want to sell me a game?  Have the review say "too much like god of war"  heheh
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« Reply #127 on: January 14, 2011, 11:06:29 PM »

Quote from: whiteboyskim on January 14, 2011, 09:17:53 PM

I'm only at chapter 2 bu I'm really enjoying it. The game is gorgeous, I love the creature design, it's fun to play and you can seriously bring the hurt. It also nails the tone and feel of a Castlevania game despite not being in a castle at this point. Really cool. And I don't mind that it rips off so many other games (Shadow of the Colossus being the most egregious example up to this point) because there's so much energy to it that I'm willing to run with it and have fun. Hopefully the rest is just as good or better.

The great thing is that where other games lose their luster after the first few levels, Lords of Shadow remains fun and interesting until the very end. It's always got some new, awesome sight, a new enemy type, a new boss or a new gameplay mechanic to keep things varied. The game also paces itself well, with stretches of continuous combat punctuated by a puzzle or two, followed by a bit of exploring and a cutscene. Combine all of this with a well-told story that'll keep you guessing until the final cutscene, and you've got a winner.
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« Reply #128 on: January 14, 2011, 11:17:55 PM »

I just started this last night and agree with everything said. The game simply looks fantastic and it certainly feels like a worthy addition to the Castlevania name.
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« Reply #129 on: July 12, 2011, 03:10:54 PM »

Quote from: Jimmy the Fish on January 14, 2011, 11:17:55 PM

I just started this last night and agree with everything said. The game simply looks fantastic and it certainly feels like a worthy addition to the Castlevania name.

Just started playing yesterday and really like it.  It's definitely a beautiful game.  One thing I don't like is that it seems you are always in a corridor, even though you can see this amazing world around you.  I hope it remains fun through-out.  I was surprised it was a 2-disc Xbox game though.  Lots of cinematics?
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« Reply #130 on: July 12, 2011, 03:20:04 PM »

This game was one of my favorites last year. Amazing.
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« Reply #131 on: July 12, 2011, 06:54:23 PM »

i nearly picked this game up this morning,(and Dante's Inferno)...because of what you guys say,i will most likely pick it up next time(it was very cheap)

I did like the demo,and i know there is DLC
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« Reply #132 on: July 12, 2011, 09:01:54 PM »

Quote from: metallicorphan on July 12, 2011, 06:54:23 PM

i nearly picked this game up this morning,(and Dante's Inferno)...because of what you guys say,i will most likely pick it up next time(it was very cheap)

I did like the demo,and i know there is DLC

Skip Dante's Inferno, but definitely give this a go.  The only reason I can see someone not enjoying it is if they get too hung up on the license issues.  It's a little weird that Belmont and Dracula were friends together and trying to end the Orcan Ballista Crisis.
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« Reply #133 on: July 12, 2011, 09:05:08 PM »

Quote from: Bullwinkle on July 12, 2011, 09:01:54 PM

Quote from: metallicorphan on July 12, 2011, 06:54:23 PM

i nearly picked this game up this morning,(and Dante's Inferno)...because of what you guys say,i will most likely pick it up next time(it was very cheap)

I did like the demo,and i know there is DLC

Skip Dante's Inferno

Aww but i liked the demo  Tongue


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« Reply #134 on: March 18, 2013, 04:19:12 PM »

PC version coming?
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« Reply #135 on: June 05, 2013, 03:17:08 PM »

Quote from: CeeKay on March 18, 2013, 04:19:12 PM


yep.  August 27th on Steam.
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