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The announcement of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 at E3 back in June have both excited and horrified Castlevania fans in equal measure. The original Lords of Shadow offered some fresh takes on the combat side of the series along with some stunning locales, but it also toned down the sense of exploration that the series is so well known for. Despite being a critical and commercial success though, there are many improvements that MercurySteam ought to make to the original LOS formula, if only to ensure that Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 is at the top of its game. No pun intended.
A Proper Link to Mirror of Fate
The Lords of Shadow 3DS spin-off Mirror of Fate is likely to remain unplayed by most console players who dipped into LOS back in 2010, but it would still be decent if their could be some tie in between the handheld title and LOS2. One could pedantically argue that LOS’ break from the core Castlevania mythos makes a link to the handheld title irrelevant, but even spin-offs and franchise reboots need continuity from time to time. It’s a basic request, but one that MercurySteam need to ensure they don’t flake out on.
More Original Ideas
Say what you want about Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, it was a hugely derivative game. It handled its gameplay mechanics with flair and skilfully executed them for sure, but its component pieces were all lifted straight from other AAA games. The acrobatics of Uncharted, the combat of God of war… Hell, even the game world and lore seemed like a cross between a poor man’s Lord of the Rings and the Underworld films. Execution won’t be enough to make LOS2 stand out, as it’s going to need some fresh material to make it worth playing in an increasingly saturated genre.
Less Linear Level Design
As if to further cement how different Lords of Shadow was to the other Castlevania games, it opted for a much more linear approach that often lead you through levels that looked like little more than corridors; albeit very pretty ones. This fact was further compounded by the camera, a beast you had little to no control over throughout the game. Whilst this gave LOS a controlled focus, MercurySteam have had enough experience now with this game type to really break out of the linear structure and try something a bit more open ended.