Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pocket Peak - Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate is a sequel to 2010's console title Lords of Shadow and is set to bridge the gap between that game and the upcoming Lords of Shadow 2. Though Lords of Shadow largely created a successful Castlevania experience in 3D after years of blunders, this Mirror of Fate returns to the 2D gameplay the series is was founded on. Instead of working from the template many past 2D Castlevania titles used, this game successfully converts the 3D gameplay of Lords of Shadow into 2D. Though this provides for a fun experience, the 2D gameplay creates expectations that there's no way this 3DS game could possibly reach. It's a shame that Konami didn't bring in experienced Castlevania development staff for this, as it offers loads of potential.

Serving as the Lords of Shadow take on the original Castlevania and Castlevania III, Mirror of Fate has you exploring Dracula's Castle as Simon Belmont, Alucard, and Trevor Belmont. Each has their own sub-weapons and magic, but they share melee cross combos that are unlocked via a shared experience system as you progress through the three acts of the game. Like Lords of Shadow, gameplay is segmented between platforming and combat. While this worked fine in the console title, here it just serves to magnify the fact that this game attempts to present itself as a classic Castlevania despite not playing like one. It also makes the castle feel lifeless at times, especially when going through long platforming stretches with no combat. Thankfully, this largely improves as the game progresses, with more frequent combat and challenging platforming. The combat really does successfully bring the Lords of Shadow feel to 2D, with combos and synchronized blocking feeling just right. There aren't as many combos, but still enough to keep things interesting. Quick time events show up at times, but they aren't especially bothersome and do add some tension to the game's exciting boss fights.

Mirror of Fate can't quite live up to the long legacy of brilliant 2D Castlevania games, but at least manages to provide a fresh handheld experience that will feel familiar to fans of Lords of Shadow. The graphics are some of the best on 3DS, and with the 3D effect on, provide a fantastic amount of depth that make the details of the castle come to life. This is one of those select few 3DS games that plays best with the effect on. It's shame they didn't work more from the classic template the series has built up over the years, but Castlevania and action game fans who can get over the hurdle of high expectations will find an entertaining and worthwhile experience.

1 comment:

  1. I disagree, I think this is better than some 2d castle games. But the ones that beat out LoS Mirror would be CS1, CSIII, CS:Bloodlines, CS: Rondo, Symphony, Dawn and Portrait. I think then that it is better than simon's, Circle, all GB entries, and Ecclesia and yes, CS IV.