Castlevania: Lords of Shadows 2 – Mercury Steam’s Next Big Hit?

Can Castlevania: Lords of Shadows 2 be as fantastic as the first one?

Konami is at it again, after a few years of having no new Castlevania titles, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is all set to release in February next year. This sequel and the next installment in this series in the long history that is Castlevania certainly looks promising. With it’s iconic focus of powerful, paranormal beings and tactical combat there is a lot to look forward to in this new game.

If you were a fan of the first Castlevania Lords of Shadow game, then this one most certainly is for you. Lords of Shadow 2 is the second game in this series reboot that has little to do with the original Castlevania games. While it still exists in a similar, fantastical world that the original games do, there’s been quite a face-lift and jump in technology for the Lords of Shadow. If you’re expecting Lords of Shadow 1 or 2 to be anything like the old games, than you may be sorely disappointed, but if you’re looking for a fast-paced combat system, Lords of Shadow 2 may be perfect for you, especially if you’ve played the first one.

In Lords of Shadow 2, we play as the Prince of Darkness, Dracula as he has to fight his way back into controlling his Castle after being asleep for quite some time. Dracula has also had his abilities stripped, but you’ll be gathering up all the powers from the previous game, and hopefully plenty of new ones as the player moves forward. Unfortunately this part of the game is a bit derivative. It’s hard to get around such roadblocks as starting a new game with all the bells and whistles from the previous title is just something that everyone has to deal with when it comes to games like these.

Both Lords of Shadow, one and two easily has the feel of the many of the classic Devil May Cry titles from Capcom, though there does seem to be a bit more focus put on the tactical side of combat with Dracula’s abilities. As an example, the player has multiple gauges they’ve got to pay attention to, to maximize their combat effectiveness as well as the ability to steal health from his enemies by consuming their blood. Don’t worry though, if you’re at all squeamish of blood, it comes in convenientlyas  consumed blood orbs with no mess, no fuss and emptied corpses to dispose of. Keeping your attack gauges full means dishing out combos, switching to different weapons to maximize damage and most importantly avoiding any damage from your enemies, since this will cause you power gauges to reset and you’ll need to start all over.

The original Lords of Shadow chronicled the birth of Dracula, the Dark Prince and the sequel pretty much picks up where the first game left off. Our main character, Dracula has quite a bit going for him at the very beginning of this game. That is until he gets word that Satan is trying to return and the Belmont Clan as well as his own son are seeking his destruction. They would like nothing more than to see the immortal Dracula slain and his power destroyed.

Even his own Castle is taken over by guards and soldiers, in hopes of destroying Dracula. He should have known what he was getting into, old homes like these don’t come without any problems. In this case though, I don’t think that a few nails, a new roof and an exterminator are going to cut it. The Lord of Shadows is going to have to get his hands dirty in this game in order to protect his family and take rightful control over his home again.

There is quite a lot to look forward to in this new Castlevania series reboot. Fast-paced action that is completely different from the original NES titles, yet very much in the same vein as the original title that permeate this experience. While other action games have you moving through waves of relatively easily defeated enemies, Lords of Shadow 2 will be throwing difficult and massive beasts at you. It is very much a thinking man’s action game that should have most gamers perfect their combat a bit more during each encounter.

While this game certainly isn’t following the classical story of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, it should still be able to set up its own identity. There’s something to be said for re-writing fiction’s history every once in awhile and tailoring it to the story that MercurySteam and Konami want to tell. They’ve got a developed idea that they are moving forward with which is very promising as well as polished from what we’ve seen thus far. With plenty of time still left in the development cycle before its release, they’ve got a whole lot going for them.

The release of this game won’t be coming until February 2014 and fans of the first Lords of Shadow are certainly going to enjoy the second title in this reboot. Be warned though, if you’re new to this series and expect to get the same experience as the original Castlevania games you may be disappointed. If you are however looking for an amazing new game full of action, magic and demons, then this game may be exactly what you’re asking for.


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