PS3 Reviews: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Review

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Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Review

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Graphics:

 

8.8

Gameplay:

 

7.7

Sound:

 

8.6

Control:

 

7.4

Replay Value:

 

8.5

Overall Rating:       8.1

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

Konami

Developer:

Mercury Steam

Number Of Players:

1

Genre:

Action

Castlevania is an iconic name in this industry. But as most fans are all too aware, no developer has managed to deliver a truly elite, memorable 3D CV experience. Most all those fans will tell you the best entries are all 2D, especially Symphony of the Night on the PS1 and several fantastic incarnations on the GBA (Aria of Sorrow, for instance). Therefore, we’ve been waiting a long time for the modern Castlevania we’ve all wanted for years, and to the studio’s credit, Mercury Steam makes a valiant effort. The combat is smooth, challenging and fulfilling, the visuals are picturesque and downright gorgeous in some cases, and the quality voice actors give life to a solid story. Unfortunately, we fall well short of the hype for a variety of reasons, which I will outline below. Trust me…nobody had higher hopes than this critic right here.

Really, the graphical presentation of Lords of Shadow is more than impressive in most respects. The instant you lay eyes on one of the game’s Titans, you’ll appreciate the amount of design effort involved, and many of the areas are vibrant and a pleasure to behold. Gabriel and the enemies often take a back seat to the environmental beauty, and I often found myself pausing simply to drink in my surroundings. That’s a definite highlight. However, it can be difficult to spot valuable things; too many item boxes, breakable objects, and corpses (which do glow but can still blend into the background) are too easily missed. It’s almost as if the developers tried to put too much detail into the backdrops. But the good news is that despite a few hit detection issues with Gabriel, just about everything, from the well-drawn enemies to the breathtaking vistas, shines.

The sound is another highlight, although I believe they could’ve put a bit more “oomph” into a few of the combat effects. It’s all nicely implemented and crystal clear, though, and you just can’t beat Sir Patrick Stewart as the narrator and voice of Zobek. Robert Carlyle (Gabriel Belmont), Emma Ferguson (Maria), and Aleksander Mikic (Pan) are also tremendous in their respective roles, and the classical soundtrack is both freshly modern in terms of professional orchestration and vintage Castlevania in style. I still don’t think you hear enough of it during your travels, but that doesn’t mean the music doesn’t always fit the atmosphere. On the downside, there is a small balance problem as the music can easily override the effects (especially during intense boss encounters), and we could’ve used more in the way of gut-wrenching impact effects (ala God of War).

Surprisingly, this new Castlevania doesn’t quite embrace the traits commonly found in other massive action extravaganzas of the generation, like God of War III and Dante’s Inferno. It’s more of an amalgam of sorts; the speed and depth of the combat mechanic is more reminiscent of Ninja Gaiden or Bayonetta, while Mercury Steam essentially eliminated large, sweeping levels and instead utilized a more old-fashioned, straightforward linear approach. Although there are often multiple paths to take during a particular stage, there’s really only one place to go, and searching for hidden treasures represents only a small fraction of the overall gameplay. No, the majority of the gameplay centers squarely on combat, which is a good thing, because it’s far and away the most exquisitely developed facet of this harrowing adventure.

At the start, Gabriel only has two basic attacks: the light attack, which whips out and hits enemies directly in front of him, and the heavier attack, which rotates ‘round and smacks foes surrounding Gabriel. But that’s only a very small taste of the hero’s mammoth skill set, which eventually comes into view as you progress. There are plenty of combos to unlock – gained by earning experience in battle – and that includes flashy aerial strikes, powerful up-close-and-personal pounding, and even more elaborate combinations. One of my personal favorites was one where you hold down the Triangle button, and then use the left analog to direct chain sweeps for a short time. It definitely takes some discipline to nail down those combos, and button mashing only seems to work for the smaller enemies. It almost never works against the challenging foes, like bosses, and this, combined with the wonderful fluidity and seamlessness of the mechanic, makes fighting a joy.

Well, it’s a joy until several problems rear their ugly heads. The first is the fixed camera. It functions, but there are far too many times when enemies are hovering just off the edge of the screen, and they’re often so fast, they can zip in and hit Gabriel without ever being seen. Translation: cheap. Then there’s the fact that the block and dodge skills are basically mapped to the same button- you block by holding down L2, and while holding it down, you can also dodge by moving the left analog. This means that if you want to block and then strike from the same position, you have to remember not to touch the left analog…just try it; seriously, it really goes against your gaming nature. Too often, I found myself rolling around when I didn’t want to, and too many of the enemies – even the lower-class ones – seem to be ridiculously fast and able to take a lot of punishment.

Furthermore, I’m not a blind follower of huge, wide open environments (as if all games need to be sandbox in nature), and I don’t mind linearity in video games, as many of you know. Therefore, it means something when I say that I felt a little restricted in those uber-linear levels. Me. I almost never feel that way, especially if the main focus of the game (in this case, the combat) works so damn well. But it’s not just that the levels are linear; it’s that the path you have to follow is actually narrow in and of itself. You just can’t move around very much and despite a few branching paths, it just feels as if I’m heading to another battle, which may be frustrating due to the shortcomings listed above. On top of everything, the story that starts out interesting sort of loses its good pacing and falls apart once you’re through the first five or six chapters. Even great voice acting can’t save it entirely.

Still, I think the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. First and foremost is the super appealing graphical depiction, which almost never fails to impress throughout. Secondly, and as an off-shoot of the aforementioned element, this atmosphere will undoubtedly satisfy the Castlevania fans. I mean, Gabriel is definitely a Belmont and his weapon is a cross (get it?) between two traditional weapons, and the setting, characters, and enemies are all synonymous with the series. I love it when a developer goes to great lengths to pay homage to an iconic franchise’s roots, even though they still desire to make a modern, polished interactive adventure. Thirdly, if you dedicate yourself to the combat, you will be rewarded. Fourthly and lastly, the longevity: with 12 levels separated out into anywhere between 5 and 9 stages apiece, this one could easily last you 20+ hours, especially if you wish to return to visit completed stages. There’s good reason to do the latter, too.

The game can prove challenging and if you run across something particularly frustrating, you can always return to any previously completed level and stage, and earn more Exp. Eventually, you’ll earn upgrades that will let you access even more hidden goodies, and there are even specific Trials assigned to certain stages. All this means that if you really get into it, you will absolutely get your money’s worth. The secondary weapons (daggers, holy water, etc.) and interesting Magic skills make everything that much richer. Enabling Light Magic by pressing the L1 button means you can then replenish health by beating on enemies, and you also gain access to entirely new – and very powerful – skills. This institutes more strategy and encourages you to fight well. Fighting well fills your Focus Bar and nets you more orbs, which are used to replenish magic…which is then used as a powerful ally and health restorer.

It’s hard to say anything against such a complete, well-rounded system. They clearly put a lot of time and energy into making it this way and for that, Mercury Steam should be applauded. They should be applauded for many accomplishments in Lords of Shadow, in fact. But I just can’t get past too many of the significant downfalls that other reviewers have already mentioned. A definite lack of visibility, due to both an unreliable fixed camera and the oversaturation of environmental detail, sits at the top of my disappointment list. Then there’s the camera, which has a direct impact on the combat, and although it’s more of a personal thing, the weight of Gabriel…in that he doesn’t really have any. He just sort of floats along and it almost seems as if he’s gliding through a picture at times. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; just something that bugs me a little. Lastly, there’s the loss of pacing and interesting story, which happens too soon.

All in all, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is a really good game. Only because the hype and anticipation was so high might the score be considered a cause for concern. Still, I had hoped for a game that flirted with a 9 in my eyes and in the end, I just don’t like it very much. But it’s absolutely worth a try, at the very least.

10/6/2010 Ben Dutka

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Comments (123 posts)

LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 9:47:44 PM
Reply

The score honestly seems a lot better than I had hoped for this game. I wonder what people would think of this game had it not been given the Castlevania name.

You're negatives on the story after a while irks me as well as the linear approach to the levels. As with most games this generation I'll be getting it but not for a while.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 10:01:09 PM

It's worthy of the score, IMO, but personally...I'm not feelin' it.

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to_far_apart
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 10:13:50 PM

Definitely agree. And after this review, just confirms it.

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Shams
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 12:26:36 AM

I'd just like to point out Ben, is that although the path to the end of each level (so far as i experienced) is a linear or looping one for the most part, items and rare finds often involve branched paths that if you miss (say after taking a one-way path), require a return to the level. Other times, a path will require a skill or item to be unlocked in the future. And still others can be safely returned to within the same stage-playthrough. So, if you want, you can't just blast your way through and blow through the game. And if you're a bit of the completionist, each stage will have even hours of additional fun and exploration. I haven't played C:SOTN (a favorite of yours), but in this way, the game reminded me of what you've had to say about the 32-bit prequel, and it reminded me of bunch of other games you mentioned.


I've only played through the first few chapters, but so far, perhaps because of my low expectations (and being a bit jaded after having my fill of the genre), I am pleasantly surprised.

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 12:37:19 AM

SOTN is one of the best games ever made and certainly the best Castlevania game. It's only $9.99 on the PSN (was $4.99) a few months ago.

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Shams
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 12:48:51 AM

Edit: By "If you want, you can't just blast your way through", I meant "if you want, you can just blast your way through"...

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 1:03:45 AM

I know all that, Shams. It's one of the reasons I mentioned that part about the game's longevity, and how great it is.

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Shams
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 1:59:44 AM

Sorry, what i meant to say is that i find the game to be less combat-centric and less linear in design than both GOWiii and DI. However, my general impression of it is similar to yours. It ranks somewhere in between the two aforementioned games. And many of my specific impressions of it (of the graphics, sound, and music) are identical to yours. To me it's a game that doesn't quite cut it as an elite title, however, it does reflect much of the quality of many AAA's. I'd even go as far as to call it an intentional homage to many top Sony exclusives (GOW, Shadow of the Colossus, Uncharted). And in that way it succeeds. Not bad for a multiplat, indeed.

But because of how large the game is, like in the case of AC, i imagine it's a game that wouldn't "review" very well if squeezed into a couple of days. I'm expecting for it to grow on me a bit more, and to hold me over until The Force Unleashed 2.

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Shams
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 11:45:54 PM

After a couple of more chapters of the game, i take my comment back. This is an elite title, every bit as surprising as a Deadspace, or RDR, as multiplatform titles that borderline the greatness of many Sony exclusives...and this is coming from a guy who was even a bit jaded of the whole genre, after playing GOW3 and Dante's Inferno.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 9:54:59 PM
Reply

Sounds pretty awesome to me, I'll either use my New Vegas credit to get this or add it to the xmas list. I like that it's longer than a usual action game too. Funny, I read that the music wasn't at all in line with Castlevania, glad to hear that isn't true.

The linearity sounds exactly like FFXIII though, lol and boooo.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 10/6/2010 10:00:03 PM

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 10:11:58 PM

Saw an advertisement for Vegas in the latest issue of PSM, thought of you. How creepy!?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 10:44:32 PM

I have that affect on people :)

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Temjin001
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 11:23:29 PM

creepy? or people thinking of you?

I am thinking about how your avatar changes like every other day... =p

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 11:41:36 PM

Every other day is a bit of stretch, perhaps every other month.

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Nickjcal
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 9:56:14 PM
Reply

i liked the demo a lot. Its between this and enslaved.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 11:22:03 PM

If you value a combat action game after the manner of GoW, Dante's Inferno, DMC, NG etc. then get Castlevania.

If you preference an action game with a strong storytelling component that focuses more on thrills (similar to Uncharted), platforming acrobatics, and basic combat design then this is your game.

I prefer the more combat heavy games like NG etc.
But Enslaved has offered just enough of a compelling story (it's really the glue that holds the game together) that it's maintained my interests, and I plan to finish it within the next couple days, or so (gotta do it before the rental time is up=)


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Jawknee
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 11:59:43 PM

Castlevania is prettier to look at. :)

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Shams
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 12:46:02 AM

Graphics, combat, platforming, level design, cinematics sound, and music. The only weakness the game has imo, since perhaps the game was ambitiously built over so many chapters and stages, the story was spread thin...Just like how musical score is cinematic, awe-inspiring, and professional done, the few tracks they were able to get from their hired orchestra were also spread thin over the game, to the point of repetition. Patrick Stewart, as masterful a thespian he is, more often than not was just reading script for level loading times, more like in a book-reading gathering and less like voice-acting...

I haven't played previous Castlevanias, but i will say this, it is a very close contender to GOW3, and in quite a few ways, even bests it. GOW3 wins by a few paces only because of a few more "oh sh*t" moments, and a bit more personality.

...Of course, this is only my impression of the game so far.

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Akuma07
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 10:01:14 PM
Reply

Honestly, this review kinda annoys me.

When i read the article synopsis on the main page, I immediately thought "You've got to be kidding me".

You spent most of the review putting the game down and telling us about the bad things, then in the last couple of paragraphs, say how much of a good game it is, and is worth a try.

Last edited by Akuma07 on 10/6/2010 10:02:11 PM

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Qubex
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 10:38:06 PM

Honestly, I think you are out of line there; Ben does give reasons why he dislikes aspects of a particular game.

There were deep feelings here that Castlevania would turn out to be a stellar title, however, in the end it was a let down due to the annoyances described in the review. Similar annoyances were also written about and talked about in other reviews as well.

In conclusion, Castlevania could have been so good, a must have, but it is not anymore, and it should have been. The graphics look awesome, one of the most environmentally beautiful games I have seen, to bad it fails in other areas :(

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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aaronisbla
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 10:53:28 PM

qubex, how do you know it fails in other areas if you don't give it a try?

I think Ben's complaints are pretty valid though. But they also sound like things that will bother some and others will be able to over look it and still have fun and maybe judge it a higher score.

But until you actually try it yourself, its hard to take what you said as i would from someone who has played it.

@Akuma: i think the reason he listed all of his gripes with the game is so you can see where he is coming from and why he judged it accordingly.



Last edited by aaronisbla on 10/6/2010 10:55:57 PM

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DIsmael85
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 11:15:22 PM

Hey cut the guy some slack he is entitled to just as much of an opinion as Ben is for reviewing the game. While I do not agree myself with everything Ben has said in his review, I can accept it. I love the game, totally awesome. Some of the most recent reviews on here and related comments have made me chuckle. It's almost like everyone eats up every word they say. It's an opinion people, form your own by playing.

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Qubex
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 11:38:03 PM

Fair enough, but I go through many reviews on the internet as well as video reviews, Ben brings it all together as the final review so to speak and he is pretty spot on.

Understandable if those problems don't erk all players, however these particular problems do annoy me as I feel there is little excuse now days for poor technical implementation. The camera problem is not new. Developers know how frustrating poor camera implementations are and should look out for this when building and testing their engines. Is it so difficult to make sure the camera is user movable or able to pan around in order to give you a clearer view of your opponents. Camera seems to always be the issue.

Did any of you guys have issues with God Of War III camera at all?

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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Akuma07
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 11:57:01 PM

Out of line for what?

I seen the score was 8.1, so I thought, thats a pretty good score, so I kept reading the article to find the good parts of the game, the reason why it was scored so high, but I just kept reading about how dissapointing it was.

I ended up thinking to myself, why was this scored 8.1?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 12:21:36 AM

Try reading the article again. I spent just as much time talking about the good as I did the bad, and if I remember correctly, I said the good vastly outweighs the bad. Oh yeah, and then there's the score.

Please don't complain. I'm SO not in the mood.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 10/7/2010 12:23:43 AM

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 12:41:15 AM

Ben, want to go to the stripclub?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 1:00:28 AM

Ben's in busy review mode, he warned you not to make him mad... you wouldn't like him when he's mad. He turns into a green copy of FFT.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 1:05:45 AM

Sad part is, LV, I'd actually pass on the stripclub to do work.

The games...they're...they're everywhere...I'd never be able to relax.....I'd probably start seeing things that aren't there.....

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DIsmael85
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 1:40:43 AM

? I don't understand why you wouldn't be in the mood? He's just expressing his opinion, and he has a right to reply to a comment made about him. Or her, I wont discriminate. Honestly guys and gals, it's just a fricken video game. You'll either buy it or you wont. I like coming to this page, but sometimes this site gets a little to defensive when it comes to the "Opinion" factor. No one can ever be satisfied sadly, but hey this is what makes us people I suppose.

Oh and yeah I love me some God of War, but they also had their fair share of issues. And don't even get me started on the fixed camera crap, but you know what, the games were so awesome I let it go.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 2:13:23 AM

DIsmael, I don't think its about disagreeing with the review, I think it's about picking on the reviewer for just doing his job.

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DIsmael85
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 2:31:51 AM

Yeah I guess I could see that. So my point to the original comment is to just buy the game still and enjoy it. I was hoping that would get across to him as well. :) Also, Ben shouldn't get to annoyed, this happens across all gaming sites. I guarantee that that IGN and the others were no exception. It's the price you pay I suppose to being a critic, especially when you're as big as PSXextreme. But yeah game rocks way harder than Enslaved and is something refreshing after the drought of games over the summer break. ^_^

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aaronisbla
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 5:32:56 AM

i agree with Dismael85 to a certain degree. Sometimes it can get a lil bit too defensive in here, its not like Akuma went on some rage over how bad the game was scored and honestly, whether he's in a bad mood or not, why threaten a viewer of the site with a "don't test me" statement when he isn't doing anything wrong?

Akuma wasn't picking with the reviewer but was wondering why it scored a 8.1 when the negatives in his eyes seemed as if they out weighed the good.

Last edited by aaronisbla on 10/7/2010 5:35:39 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 10:19:37 AM

First of all, Akuma's statement that I spent most of the review putting the game down is just plain wrong. So I'm going to say that it's wrong. Feel free to dislike the review all you want; just don't tell me I did something I didn't do.

Secondly, not being in the mood has nothing to do with this review or that comment. It was just a general statement. I'm a little overworked right now, that's all. In all honesty, the only people turning anything into a drama are the people SAYING it's a drama...when it's nothing of the kind.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 10/7/2010 10:28:04 AM

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Akuma07
Friday, October 08, 2010 @ 3:15:30 AM

aaronisbla and DIsmael85 said it perfectly!

They get where i'm at :D

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piratedrunk
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 10:10:46 PM
Reply

I think this is a fair review. I would say that in spite of its flaws this is really a fantastic game. I find it gets better as you gain more abilites and can backtrack to pick up things you missed the first time through. I can tell I am definitely going to get my $60 worth of quality playtime out of this one.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 10:12:08 PM

I get the distinct feeling all those hidden things are meant to help with the replay value in particular.

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Kiryu
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 10:22:14 PM
Reply

As soon as i played the demo,for blocking u should hold L2 and even for evading i really can't get used to it,the camera was not good i couldn't see the enemies attacking from behind me.
If you see it God of War has the best controls for this type of game and with no camera fighting.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 11:57:13 PM

I didn't have a problem with the camera but it do agree the use of L2 to guard and evade felt odd. They should have just went the GOW route and make the right stick evade.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 10:24:45 PM
Reply

I eventually plan to play this one. Too bad it's something of a let down. Not a bad game, but not a stellar one. I suspected something was amiss when I watched Gamespot's review (a seasoned critic vet did the review)

I think GoW and Bayonetta own this category for this year.

Concerning Castelvania and something I really do like about it, contrary to Ben's preference.
I'm a big fan of the block and evade mechanic.

NG, Darksiders(a surprisingly excellent combat system), and this game utilize block/evade.

While I've adapted to the GoW style of evade, I really would prefer not to pull my thumb away from the face buttons to flick the r-analog and then quickly re-orient my thumb back to the face buttons. I actually find I lose a fraction of precision by having to perform this maneuver.. Thankfully, GoW is slower in combat and it works fine because of it.

Similar to what Ben said about Castlvania's in-descrete items, I also think Vanquish has a major problem with this. It takes way too much effort to pick up weapons etc on such a fast moving game. The drops need to flash bright like the orbs in games like NG or Enslaved etc. And they should've just made ammo pick-ups automatic.


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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 10:46:27 PM

When you are a GOW aficionado, you are used to holding the block button down in order to execute certain special moves. I think Ben fell prey to that.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 11:04:57 PM

It reminds me of the preferences gamers have in fighters (Tekken, SF, MK etc)
Block Button vs holding back
6 buttons vs 4
canned combos vs combos

Anytime I spend too much time on one fighter I find it "un-natural" to adapt to another fighter interface structure. But like most anything, after an adaptation process it feels just right.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 10:23:05 AM

World: No, I didn't. I fell prey to the block button being part of the dodge maneuver, which doesn't really work that well, IMO.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 12:59:56 PM

Alright then. But I'm with Temji, it can work.

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Teddie9
Monday, October 11, 2010 @ 4:24:14 PM

I too loved Darksiders and are a fan of NG but both those games have camera control...It just sorta gripes me when a game doesn't utilize every part of the controller. Although I do plan to buy the game eventually. [Just a side note, the dodge maneuvers are either very fast (NG) or atleast can get you much out of the way (darksiders), LOS doesn't feel so responsive in the demo, but that's critizing the actual mechanic than the controls]

Last edited by Teddie9 on 10/11/2010 4:29:30 PM

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Jotun
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 10:35:14 PM
Reply

I don't see how an 8.1 makes this game "not that good." This game has been getting good reviews, not amazing ones, but it's clear it's a very good game.

I contend that people stop trying to compare everything to SotN. That game is never getting made again and it's unfair to keep calling a game lesser for not living up to one of the best video games ever made.

I got my CE today and have played Castlevania since I was 4(it was the third NES game I ever played) and, after the two abismal PS2 gen games, this one does many things right. I haven't been this pleased with a Castlevania experience on a console since SotN and I'm glad it turned out as varied and fun as it is.

The bottom line is that if you enjoy Castlevania and enjoy then action/adventure genre, just get this game and stop letting reviewers ruin it for you.

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Temjin001
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 10:57:26 PM

the expectations were high because it looked like a very promising return to Castlevania, and also under the guidance of Hideo Kojima. It looked to have the makings of a 9+ game, not a sub 8. So no, it's not bad, but rather a great game, but everyone was really hoping for something spectacular.

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aaronisbla
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 11:00:07 PM

Kojima was involved with the game, but the game was mostly under the guidance of David Cox

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Jawknee
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 11:55:03 PM

In the new Qore episode Cox said the only thing Kojima did for the game was advise them on Gabriel's character design. He took a over see but ultimately hands off approach.

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Temjin001
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 2:04:17 AM

So just enough involvement to flash the "Kojima Team" icon at the start of the game.

lame

BUt this wouldn't so lame.
I wonder if there's a Solid Snake unlockable, or something, in it.

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aaronisbla
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 5:36:56 AM

if a game states " a Hideo Kojima Production" then you know its all him.

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tridon
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 8:10:44 AM

Apparently after you beat the game, you unlock a Solid Snake costume for Gabriel to wear.

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Jawknee
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 11:31:36 AM

But it doesn't say "A Kojima Pro Game". It says "In Association With Kojima Pro" when you boot the game up. That coupled with Cox's statements tells me he largely took a hands off approach much like Akira Toriyama did with Dragonball GT.

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Alienange
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 10:50:20 PM
Reply

Thanks for a great review Ben. The details you've given have helped me decide whether or not this game would be interesting to me.

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 11:06:15 PM

Suck up!

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Qubex
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 11:42:13 PM

Lol :)

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 11:52:35 PM

I'm guessing not.

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aaronisbla
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 11:01:04 PM
Reply

Thanks Ben, though so far from what i've played id judge it a bit higher, but then again you bring up valid points. One thing i appreciate is that you didn't judge this game by its past entries, and judged it for what is is, a new game.

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Akuma07
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 12:00:04 AM

It is compared to other action games.

And also, the 'dissapointments' of this entry are also brought up several times.

It is HARDLY reviewed as a 'new game'. it is reviewed as the latest entry in the CV series.

Last edited by Akuma07 on 10/7/2010 12:00:44 AM

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aaronisbla
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 5:45:06 AM

What i meant is, his complaints about the game were strictly about this game and not because its not like previous Castlevania games like some others have done.

As far as camera and controls, yeah he compared them to others in the same genre but thats to be expected at times

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Akuma07
Friday, October 08, 2010 @ 3:29:30 AM

Agreed.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 11:46:01 PM
Reply

I actually only expected about an 8 for this game based on what I had seen. I'm not too sure why anyone thought it would be a 9+ but whatever. What's important is a bit of research shows I am likely to like this.

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 11:49:37 PM

I'm going to get back into Gamefly come Nov. and I'll add it to my queue then. So basically the game will arrive at my place by June.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 11:53:38 PM

Decided not to cancel your Gamefly sub after all LV?

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aaronisbla
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 11:54:46 PM

if ur lucky it will get there by june

Last edited by aaronisbla on 10/6/2010 11:55:00 PM

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 12:40:21 AM

No, I canceled it back in April. Took forever to get games that weren't at the bottom of my queue. Gamefly is certainly no Netflix. But over the past few months they've been begging me to come back and evidently have added several more locations across the US to ship games to and from.

I figured I'll take them up on the offer come Nov. and see if they actually improved.

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Temjin001
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 2:05:35 AM

Gamefly blows. I know. Chunks, blows chunks.

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ColTater
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 11:59:14 AM

Hmm, such a knock on GF. I have it and it works fine for me. I'm in CA and one shipping location is in Los Angeles. As long as you have a new release, say Enslaved and Castlevania LOS, at the top of your queue and you have an available space open then I get it one day after street date release.

Example, I had both games as 1 and 2 in my queue. I have the 4 game plan, and had Madden and Heavy Rain at home already. Well, Enslaved and Castlevania shipped on 10/4/10 a day before street release, and I got it on 10/6/10, which is the day after.

I guess it all just depends where you live. Never had Netflix, so I can't compare it, but I do have Blockbuster online, and it is the same time table as GF.

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Gimmedat
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 6:22:34 PM

Ive been a Gamefly member for 4 years,the longest Ive waited for a game was 4 days.Got quite a few in just 2 days,so it depends on your location and they have opened more supply points through out the country.Iam loving Castlevania right now by the way.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, October 06, 2010 @ 11:53:04 PM
Reply

Oh wow, i expected it to be a bit higher. Hmmm...well i liked the demo enough to warrant the purchase. I do agree its hard to see items or bodies. I noticed he would disappear in the shadows at some points in the demo too. Hard to see the action.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 12:23:12 AM
Reply

And by the way, anyone else who feels like yelling at me for not giving it a higher score, go yell at GameSpot and IGN first. You must be far more pissed at their 7.5s.

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Jawknee
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 12:37:08 AM

Ha i think the score is fair, i just thought it would have been higher. I read IGN's review. Daemeon Hatfield's review was just a whole lot of whining. Yours is a lot more fair.

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 12:38:43 AM

Ha, your score is higher than I expected. Doesn't seem like a true Castlevania game IMO thus I treat it differently than if it was a standalone game.

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Jawknee
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 12:45:28 AM

I just watched one of the videos in Ben's video updates. They reminded the viewer multiple times this was meant as a reboot and for people who have never played a Castlevania game as well as the old fans. Considering i have never really liked Castlevania much until SotN i think i will like this more than i expected since it takes a more GoW approach.

Last edited by Jawknee on 10/7/2010 12:46:07 AM

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Temjin001
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 2:08:47 AM

In other words or the words of Castlevania, what Ben really means is "HAVE AT YOU!"

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aaronisbla
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 5:40:03 AM

I liked your review but i think you are taking what Akuma said get to you too much.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 10:21:13 AM

aaron, READ. It has nothing to do with the statement. It's like you WANT it to be something more than it is.

Just let it go.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 10/7/2010 10:21:28 AM

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GuyverLT
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 3:35:50 PM

Ign gave it like a 7.8 which didn't make any sense to me, I hate when games get like 7.8's or 8.9's just round to the nearest whole number already. I had a feeling this game was going to get at least an 8.0, but I'm definitely picking it up 4sure, I love playing these kinds of games.

Last edited by GuyverLT on 10/7/2010 3:41:55 PM

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aaronisbla
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 4:39:07 PM

i did READ ben and what i saw was the reviewer getting defensive over a post wondering about the score, nothing more , nothing less. Hell, let the review speak for itself, its well written and explains itself pretty well.

I even said i agree with it for the most part from what i've played so please stop accusing me of wanting it to be a big deal, as clearly thats not my intention.

Last edited by aaronisbla on 10/7/2010 4:41:05 PM

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Jawknee
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 5:04:10 PM

They gave it a 7.5. IGN doesn't do in between anymore. Its either 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5 etc.

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Kai200X
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 12:54:21 AM
Reply

I tried the demo last night, and it was way too short for my liking, but I really got God of War vibes from Castlevania and that's not a bad thing. I think I might actually give this game a try.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 1:02:34 AM
Reply

Is the Demo on the US store yet?

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Jawknee
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 1:15:45 AM

Yup.

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___________
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 1:50:17 AM
Reply

still really looking forward to this game, the combat and story seem much more engaging than in enslaved.
the combat in enslaved is so shallow, really did not have the depth or complexity i was hoping for, kinda expected it because all the reviews were saying it but still disappointed.
the story is where i was really left begging, you never really feel for the characters nor does it suck you into the atmosphere.
the storys really cheesy, typical Hollywood which i really hate with a passion!
developers need to lay if this revenge plot for stories, this guy did this so im going to embark on a life threatening x day journey to seek revenge, its really starting to get old!

where the story in CLOS, albeit still typical hollywood i have to go save my dead wife it actually sucks you into the story and makes you feel like your in the set time.
in CLOS you feel like your back in the time the games set, but with enslaved you really dont feel like your in the future.
CLOS makes you feel like your in the game, where enslaved makes you feel like your at home, in 2010 playing a game set in the future, it really does not suck you into the atmosphere of the game which i was hopping and positive it would do.
the story was really suppose to be this games strong point, but sadly its really not up too expectations.
story wise heavenly sword was a MUCH better title!!!!!

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 2:27:49 AM

Be honest, you're a famous novelist hiding behind purposely misspelled words and incoherent tangents.

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sirbob6
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 2:24:17 PM

Suggestion: Go ahead and write a user review.

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xXxSeTTriPxXx
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 3:53:46 AM
Reply

the camera isn't much of a problem to me.it have it's time when you get hit by a off screen mob(like in most games of this ilk),but it wasn't ninja gaiden bad.and sometime it could be alittle hard to see where a branching path,with a much need cystal shard is(to up your hp bar,magic etc),but hey it's a sercet area so i guess they wanted you to work for it.at any rate this game is amazing despite it's sort coming (witch aren't many)every cv had a little tedium in them (it's what i've come to expect in a cv game).i would give this game a 9+ and would recommand it to anyone who love action/adventure games,with good story.a 7.7 for gameplay and a 7.4 for controls seems a overly harsh(i'm use to one button being dodge and counter,played alot of kingdom hearts).but over all it was a decent review.

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SmokeyPSD
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 4:33:09 AM
Reply

Even just the demo extremely impressed me. I'm honestly not quite getting the negative reaction or it falling below some peoples expectations.

It still looks the same as what I was expecting months ago, I looked forward to it then and I'm still looking forward to when I pick it up now. A great reimagining of a classic series in 3d in the action genre, nonthing more nothing less done with breathtaking presentation and drama.

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Deleted User
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 6:36:56 AM
Reply

i'm sorry fellows but i don't get the hype on this game I tryed the demo and it just didn't do it for me. This game will be a twenty dollar game for me down the line. Just not worth the sixty bucks this time of year.

currently playing
Ps3: WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2010
360: Halo Reach

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tridon
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 8:24:58 AM
Reply

After playing the demo, I don't regret pre-ordering the Collector's Edition one bit. This game is of epic scope. From the little I played, it's right up there with God of War.

I do agree that the camera was annoying at times when enemies ran off the screen but I was able to overlook it because the rest of what I played was incredible. In fact, I can overlook something like that a lot more than I can overlook something like screen-tearing and glitches in Enslaved. For that alone, I think I definitely made the right decision with my October 5th purchase.

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Temjin001
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 10:32:00 AM
Reply

The DF just did a 360 vs PS3 face-off feature of this game.

PS3 gets the win =)

Both games look identical but the PS3 version offers an overall smoother frame rate AND (I did not know this before hand) the 360 version is a 2-Disc game with disc-swapping. Multiple swapping when re-visitng earlier levels.. ouch!

It would seem this face-off was based on the retail release and not the review code.. but they don't specifically state it--the face-off happened after the game's release and they mentioned nothing of the "pausing" or "halting" IGN experienced in their 360 review. This suggests to me they did, in fact, use the retail code for the comparison.
But they did claim that the review code version didn't let them play from one disc when both discs were installed to the 360 HDD..

Either way, having one disc is a major plus and, as always, any FPS advantage to me makes it a sure win.

Take that multi-plat shoddiness!
Plus they've created one of, if not, the best looking multi-plat on the market today.

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Jawknee
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 11:34:41 AM

Disc swapping is suoooooo 1997. ;)

See, I told you it largely falls on the developer. If they don't use Unreal and build on the PS3 first you either get Identical games or slightly better on the PS3. The Xbox versions may suffer a bit but not nearly as much as they do when you port from Xbox to PS3.

Plus with Kojima being an overseer of the project, he would never let the game release with one version being crappier than the other like NT did. He'll find a way while others devs just b!tch and moan.

Last edited by Jawknee on 10/7/2010 11:39:25 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 10:50:44 AM
Reply

I find it interesting that when people really want to like a game, they'll go by the demo if they enjoyed it. If they DIDN'T like the demo, they'll just say demos don't mean anything.

...self-fulfilling, much...? ;)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 1:01:15 PM

seems relatively true, but I gotta say I really wanted to like inFamous and in the end I did, but that demo was no fun at all.

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aaronisbla
Friday, October 08, 2010 @ 12:45:16 AM

the demo for Uncharted wasn't exactly a great thing either, it didn't do the full game any justice

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hadouken
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 10:54:38 AM
Reply

Why all the fuss about a reviewer's opinion? At the end of day it's just a review score. A review score is overrated because the only to know if you like a game is to play it. Rent, borrow it from a friend or dl the demo.

Sorry for the rant. My therapist says I should express myself lol.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 11:03:50 AM

Eh, everyone's entitled. It's no big deal. When it comes to franchises that have been around for decades, you'll never satisfy everyone. In fact, it's inevitable you'll annoy plenty. We've come to accept that. :)

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GuyverLT
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 3:39:00 PM

@Ben *cough* the new DMC *cough*

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 6:57:31 PM

Yes yes, I know.

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Akuma07
Friday, October 08, 2010 @ 3:40:48 AM

Why all the fuss about a readers opinion? LOL

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hadouken
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 11:11:29 AM
Reply

Yup!

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Frenchy17
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 12:53:58 PM
Reply

Great review Ben, I have some of the same issues that you pointed out, but I feel this is a great game with plenty of stuff to do to warrant a full price purchase. The ability to replay levels to find items that you miss adds to that as some games do not let you go back until you start another playthrough. The camera issue did not bother me as much as it mostly was annoying when enemies were at the bottom of the screen. But I would just move towards the top of the screen and it would be okay. Overall I am really liking it and I hope I like Enslaved as much.

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 1:04:15 PM
Reply

Always interesting to see the backlash Ben gets from certain people regarding his personal experience with a game. Especially when you realize those having a problem with his opinion have yet to play the game he's talking about.

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coverton341
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 1:34:44 PM

Whoa whoa whoa there little lady. You coming in here with your fancy logic and your reasoning skills. It just isn't needed or wanted.

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 1:42:41 PM

Mary, I desperately wanna make love to a school boy.

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Jawknee
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 1:44:07 PM

Yea LV, you know better than to spit irrefutable logic in these parts.

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xXxSeTTriPxXx
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 3:04:45 PM

well i think that reviews are more then just opinion and heres why.the whole kayne and lich thing with gamepro,M$ tossing $1000 swag bags at reviewers,sega deciding to take their games of metacritic etc (see where i'm going with this?).you think a million or billion dollar corp gives a hoot about someones "opinion" unless it directly influence their over all bottom line?...people read reviews to see if a product is worthy of a purchise.their not in it for a opinion their in it for facts about a product.there are plenty of people who would rather read a review,to see if there hard earned money is well spent on something,their interested in.thats why theres a market for game reviews.metacritic scores (or reviews in general)infulence protential buyers.go to any review site,an then look for a so called tripple a title scoring anything less then a 9+.then go to the comment section and see how many people say,"i was about to buy this now i'm not" or "i'll wait tell this game hits the $20 bin etc.influence is a power (and in the great words of ben parker) with power comes responsiblity lol.i think people get heated over reviews (namely their favorite franchises) because sometimes this power isn't used in a responsible way.with bias and fanboyiam afloat(reviewers included),so when it comes to someones favorite franchise,of course their going to get heated because they hope the game reviews well so they can get sequels.reviews only say it's just a opinion when it's convenient for them to say so.big business and reviewers know these reviews influence people so how come we don't?...

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Akuma07
Friday, October 08, 2010 @ 3:39:13 AM

@LV

You know what's even MORE interesting.

When someone here expresses their opinion about an article, and every single person who doesn't agree, flames them.

So much for freedom of speech.

@xXxSeTTriPxXx
Well, my OPINION is that reviewing games as a full-time job CANNOT be based on opinion, it must be professional first. All those corrupt reviewers don't deserve their job titles.

Last edited by Akuma07 on 10/8/2010 3:40:13 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, October 08, 2010 @ 10:28:10 AM

Nobody flamed you. I told you that you were wrong about what you said.

That's not flaming. It's stating a fact. It's nobody else's fault that you can't admit your error, so quit complaining.

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KNG201
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 1:05:53 PM
Reply

not even on chapter 4 and I cant wait to see what a second Castlevania will be like. i mean if enough people play and give their feed back like ben did. like the camera (i feel u on that big time) and such. so when or if they make another one it will be reborn to greatness. look at infamous and compare it to pt2 or uncharted & U2....its only the beginning. i think the order needs a female belmont hmmmm....

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Ergi
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 1:17:18 PM
Reply

I wonder if the combat gets repetitive, from the review i get the idea it doesn't. It seems it works really well and there are many moves to master. I tried the demo, but that apparantly wasn't a good representation of the possibilities combat wise.

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Jawknee
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 1:46:10 PM

Well there's over 40 combos to unlock and from what I can tell from most reviews(Besides the IGN review) the combat is quite good.

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Ergi
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 1:47:50 PM

Great, thanks Jawknee, I now know enough.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 3:07:36 PM

No, the combat certainly won't get repetitive. The mechanic is far too refined and deep for that.

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Ergi
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 3:20:03 PM

Thanks to you too Ben, in that case it sounds good enough to me and I'll be buying this soon.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 3:08:11 PM
Reply

For the record, I would probably recommend most ANY game that gets over an 8 here. As in, yeah, if it sounds good to you, it's definitely worth $60.

...it's just too bad that so MANY will get such scores this fall, as usual. ;)

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 10/7/2010 3:08:27 PM

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tes37
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 3:50:38 PM
Reply

I like Castlevania: LoS a lot, especially the combat and I agree completely with the review except the not liking it part. All the pros and cons are addressed very well and it gives you an accurate assessment of what to expect from the game.

The lack of camera control is the biggest upset for me. I catch myself using the right stick to try and spin the camera even after knowing it doesn't let you. Off screen enemies can be a pain, but I just throw a few combos out, followed by a dodge and most of the time I come out ahead.

Last edited by tes37 on 10/7/2010 3:53:08 PM

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 3:53:17 PM

Of all my PSN buddies I think you and Jawk are the most avid gamers. I always see you 2 playing multiple games every week.

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Jawknee
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 5:07:03 PM

That can be a good or bad thing i think. ha!

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ebterp
Thursday, October 07, 2010 @ 8:22:20 PM
Reply

Couldn't agree more with your review on this one Ben. I have put a couple hours in and feel almost the same way about it as you although I may not be quite as high on the combat. Little suprised this got a higher score than Darksiders though which I think overall is a more entertaining game.

EB

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gungrave
Friday, October 08, 2010 @ 7:00:25 PM
Reply

Look we already have a great Castlevania 3D game, it goes by the title of Devil May Cry. I remember playing it for the first time thinking that this is what a Castlevania should be like...but with more classical music. I would love to see Dante up against Dracula.

I plan on picking this up when it's $40, only games that score a 9 on this site get my $60 :)

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YashaZz
Monday, December 13, 2010 @ 6:50:16 PM
Reply

Lords of Shadow will for sure get me into the franchise, because I'm really into GoW series and all types of mythology and folklore.
I'm sure once I get my hands on this I won't regret it.

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dork02840
Friday, May 27, 2011 @ 9:42:29 PM
Reply

thanks ben for the honest review. so far the only issue i can see so far is the camera. i prefer the restricted path style to God of Wars cookie cutter open style. god of war feels like sonys MK and Golden Axe Love child. castlevania lord of shadow plays like it looks, and it delivers. difficulty is tough but not to the point of angering. god of war i just feel like is meant to piss you off. i hate God of War, it has no originality. i feel like this title is just better in terms of gameplay, depth, and rewarding the player. plus i bought the limited edition at Best Buy for 32 dollars after tax. it came with the score a comic and a metal case, plus a free download of Symphony of the Night.

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Lone Wanderer
Saturday, February 01, 2014 @ 11:20:48 PM
Reply

I am a time traveler from the future coming from the year 2014. I'm here to tell all what i have learned from this game.The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. This game is EPIC! true Masterpiece! A revision of Castlevania done perfect!! THE FINAL REAL SCORE IS 9.3 PERIOD!

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