Castlevania has been introduced to the public back in 1986, and since then the series has been a great success with thousands and thousands of fans dying for a brand new title every single year. While the majority of them were great games, Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2 is one of those few exceptions that breaks the rule.
Unlike its predecessor, the action in Lords of Shadow 2 will take place in a modern-day setting and will follow Dracula’s tragic story. The whole story is tailored around Dracula’s attempt to regain mortality and to prevent the return of the prime evil, Satan. Throughout the whole game you will be fighting Satan’s minions at every single corner.
Combat wise, the game stays pretty much the same. The primary weapon being a whip, while two more additional weapons can be activated in order to either regain health or to use brute force against your enemies. The sword and gloves (the two additional weapons we mentioned before) draw their energy from two finite pools. In order to recharge those pools, you have to kill enemies and take their souls.
Certain situations will also require for you to use special powers only contained in the sword/glove, by either breaking a shield or freezing an entire waterfall in order to climb it. One of the most annoying parts of the gameplay are the Quick Time Events, that occurs way more often that I’d like to see. You will be required to use QTS when trying to suck the life of a weakened enemy or when you will have to recover from a forceful enemy attack. Good thing the developer realized this before us, and made the Quick Time Events optional, as you can disable them from the menu.
There’s also a new stealth segment in Lords of Shadow 2, one quite unique if you ask me. Dracula will have the ability to transform himself into a rat, and will travel using sewers in order to avoid enemies that can crush him almost instantly. While the idea seems pretty good in theory, the stealth zones of the game seemed pointless and a bit boring to me. When Dracula is not the most feared vampires, he likes to hang out with a bunch of rats.
The atmosphere in Lords of Shadow 2 is completely changed from the first title. The holy purpose pursued by Gabriel disappears and the bad intentions of Dracula emerge. MercurySteam’s vision of the world presented in the game is a bloody and disgusting one. Every transformation that occurs in the game and almost every scene ends with a river of blood. Is it to much? Maybe not, but it’s sure not recommended for the young audience.
The open world of the game will allow you to travel between zones and to go back if you missed anything. Sadly, there are not much things to be seen in Castlevania, as you’ll often wonder on dark hallways or sewers. But it’s still a good addition to the game, and personally I think with a better implementation this idea could have been a wonderful part of the game.
Perhaps the most disappointing thing in Lords of Shadow 2 is the story. The game starts strong, with a good premise but forgets to advance more throughout the game, and the lack of plot twists makes it even more boring that the stealth based areas.
Lords of Shadow 2 is changed in many ways, but almost none of them are good. I sure enjoyed the balanced combat system, but I was in no way delighted by anything else in the game. It’s not rare for a sequel to be worst then the original game, but I sure hoped it wasn’t the case with Castlevania.
As a bottom line, Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2 is only a mediocre game that will be forgotten the minute you actually finish playing it.I hate to be so harsh on a series that I love so much, but I’ve kinda expected for a real progress and received the total opposite of it. The game sure has a few qualities, but they are well hidden under the huge amount of disappointments.
Final score: 3 out of 5.