Review – Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate

Posted: March 5, 2013 in 3DS, Reviews
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Castlevania LoSMoF

The second title in the reboot of the Castlevania franchise, Lords of Shadows: Mirror of Fate is set 25 years after the original Lords of Shadows released on Playstation 3 and Xbox360 in 2010. Published by Konami and developed by Spanish company Mercurysteam, this once again finds the Belmont family and the forces of Darkness sparring against each other in a selection of creepy locations.

81545_ACFP-MirrorOfFate-Screen1a-ALL

The key theme in this game of that of vengeance. After Gabriel becomes Dracula during the events of the original Lords of Shadows, his son Trevor marches into his father’s new dark castle with the intent of avenging the death of his mother who died at the hands of Dracula’s dark forces. In turn Trevor’s son Simon later enters Dracula’s domain to avenge his father. Alucard on the other hand… Well, I won’t spoil that bit. The story unfolds in cel-shaded cutscenes with each character aided by a mysterious entity known as the Lost Soul, whose motives aren’t all that clear…

image2012_1026_1251_36 copyTrevor_on_the_castle_parapet_tif_jpgcopy

As with other handheld Castlevania titles, Mirror of Fate is played in 2D but with a stereoscopic 3D background. Although this does look very nice at times it occasionally likes to focus more on showing off this visual possibility as opposed to focusing on your character; however, it really does offer a sense of grandness that 2D Castlevania titles simply cannot offer. You can’t help but think when evading an enemy that you wish you could go around the room instead of the standard left and right motions when it decides to show off the impressive scale of a room.

image2013_0110_1913_1_tif_jpgcopyimage2012_1128_1635_1 copy

There are three main playable characters: Simon Belmont, his father Trevor Belmont and Alucard. The timeline takes place in reverse so the continuity is disjointed and it sometimes leads to getting your Belmont’s mixed up. There is a fourth brief period of play with Gabriel Belmont in the prologue before he became main baddie Dracula. Each chapter contains a wealth of hacking and slashing with the occasional puzzle thrown in, but it would’ve been nice to have more puzzles instead of block pushing and pulling.

The primary weapon for everyone is a trusty Belmont whip with the prime variety coming in the form of each characters secondary weapons and magical capabilities. In true Metroidvania style these aren’t given to you straight away, you must earn and discover them. Some are just for optional use but the majority are essential to progress, even if it is to open just one door. Other optional doors can be opened to find health and magic increasing chests which naturally involves some degree of backtracking. However due to the 81541_ACFP-MirrorOfFate-Screen1b-ALLgame’s occasional difficulty spikes and the chunk of health stealing obstacles it is heavily recommended that you do so as you only start with half of your health bar being at maximum capacity.

The unchangeable primary whip is clearly a reference to the original Belmont action in the first Castlevania in 1986 and although a nice sentimental touch, it can lead to dull combat moments when button bashing is the quickest way to defeat your foe. Since there isn’t a plethora of weaponry to collect, the controls are simple; Y is your standard whip motion and X offers more of a ranged attack. Additional heavy damage whip combos can be learnt by levelling up via the usual way of defeating enemies as well as reading the last testaments of fellow Brotherhood of Light knights left by their corpses throughout Dracula’s castle, yet another reason to return to a previously visited area with a freshly acquired ability. Other collectables include bestiary entries which can offer a nice description and a 3D model of each enemy in the game. The touch screen is primarily used as a map screen and little tags can be placed anywhere with custom notes to act as reminders of areas you may have been unable to reach the first time you pass them.

Alucard_avoids_the_flames_of_a_Gargoyle_tif_jpgcopyimage2012_1026_1513_0 copy The trailer boasts that the game offers 20 hours of gameplay, yet I managed to complete Normal mode with 100% in under 11 hours. Completing the game unlocks Hardcore mode for those who want a more difficult whipping adventure.  Sadly gone are the catchy, yet gothic tunes previously associated with the former handheld Castlevania titles composed by Michiru Yamane, instead the reboot has decided on the standard orchestra providing the atmosphere composed by Óscar Araujo with vocals performed by the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra and all feel suited to a game this dark and foreboding but doesn’t feel as Castlevania-y as it used to. If like me you enjoy playing your games with the volume on high, headphones may be required as if the volume is set to the max the sound can go tinny when the sound starts to hit those high notes and can spoil the atmosphere as you find yourself forced to turn the volume down.

image2013_0111_1133_8_tif_jpgcopyAlucard_and_the_Mirror_of_Fate_tif_jpgcopy

Mirror of Fate is an enjoyable game, but those expecting something akin to previous handheld entries best prepare themselves for the shock that this is something new. The game is designed to amaze with the vast chambers given impressive depth by the 3D visuals and mystify by withholding many of the games intentions until later into the game. It’s hard to see where the series will take us next, but it wouldn’t be a decent reboot if some things were different. Mirror of Fate is an enjoyable game and there is potential in what Mercurysteam are trying to achieve, but it may
take a few more titles before this reboot starts to really take off.

Gameplay 3Alucard_tackles_a_puppet_of_the_Toymaker_tif_jpgcopy
Playability 4
Visuals 4
Sound 4
Lifespan 3

Pr0s:
A] Fantastic 3D visuals
B] Simple controls
C] Intriguing storyline

Cons:
A] Combat can be repetitive
B] Shorter than what I was expecting
C] Not enough puzzles to offer variety

Final score:

8/10

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Strider Nemesis says:

    The game was not published by MercurySteam. It was developed by MercurySteam, and published by Konami.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s