The concept of playing as Dracula/Gabriel Belmont in the Castlevania series seems like a pretty awesome one. However, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2‘s demo at E3 makes me unsure of its execution.
At the Konami booth at E3, I got a chance to play the new Castlevania game. I’m a fan of the series, but the two Lords of Shadow titles deviate wildly from the standard formula of the series.
In the demo, you get a tutorial on how to play, including how to switch between Dracula’s different weapons. You can use a whip type move that seems to be made out of blood, a sword that can drain your enemies health to fill your bar, and a sort of claw attack that destroys your enemies’ armor.
One pretty cool feature was that Dracula could drink the blood from stunned enemies and kill them. It looked really interesting and added a nice flair to the combat.
The combat system felt more like a God of War or even Dynasty Warriors-ish style game than a Castlevania entry. This is the same of the original Lords of Shadow, I believe, so if you liked that, then you’ll like this one.
Dracula had a few different moves he could do to setup combos. There was a decent amount of variation, but even by the end of the demo, I was kind of wishing for more ways to kill my enemies.
When the player holds the block button and moves Dracula, they can evade enemy attacks by gliding around. This mechanic was probably my favorite as it was just kind of fun to whoosh around your enemies.
During a cut scene in the demo, there was a throw back to Dracula’s “what is a man” bit from Symphony of the Night. It felt kind of out of place, but it was still kind of funny.
When you are not in combat and are exploring around or evading enemies in a non-fighting fashion, there are some platforming elements that fell kind of flat with me. There was a lot of climbing and it felt a little bit like an uninteresting Tomb Raider.
The character designs and stage designs all looked amazing. The graphics themselves are good, but not amazing. The designs, however, really stand out.
One enemy in particular was a giant mech sort of thing. It had a really great, almost Steam Punk design.
The game’s camera was surprisingly good. However, it did have one fault: it did not have a button to press to center the camera behind the character. This was a bit annoying. Other than that, though, it was easy to control.
All in all, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 seems like it could be a decent game. As someone who is a fan of the more traditional games in the series, I kind of hoped Konami would reveal a more Metroidvania style game. Nonetheless, if you’re a fan of this genre, you should probably check it out.