Castlevania. A game series that I have never played before, but i've heard alot about it. From what I have heard from many sources Dracula has been a mainstake of this series, no pun intended. This game does not have dracula in it. I was slightly disappointed. He gets name-dropped at the end, but he doesn't properly appear in his full glory as with the other games. So with that out of the way, lets talk about the game.
You control Gabriel Belmont, and I have no idea how he ties to the rest of the Belmonts before anyone says anything. He has a dead wife, and to bring her back he must defeat the three lords of shadow to gain their power and bring his wife back to life. That has NEVER been a bad idea in any situation before has it. He is part of a brotherhood of which the only other person we see is voiced by Patrick Stewart. Although as I said when I first saw him, "Patrick Stewart does not a good game make". The game is littered with puzzles, upgrades and trials that you can replay levels to get more from them, which is good. Especially on the PS3 version as you don't have to swap discs.
You can't ignore the gameplay in this game. It is very God of War-esqe, with a bit of Shadow of the Collosus like platforming sections on the three times you need to do it. The quicktime events are what kill me though. Castlevania: LOS uses alot of quick time events. More than I have seen in any other game. You can't relax during the cinematics, which look very good by the way, because without any indication it could change to a quicktime event that results in instant death. This happened on more than one occasion to me.
One thing that really bothered me about this was what the three lords of shadow were. We have Werewolves which I expected, Vampires which I again expected, and Necromancers? I didn't really see that coming. I know there probably wasn't a huge list that they could have had, but I wouldn't have had that as my first choice. What bothered me more about this concept is when you fight the Lord of Shadow for the Necromancers as well. I didn't really expect Death to show up, because he has never been mentioned before, and isn't mentioned again after this.
The worst thing I found in this game was the Chubacabra sections. A few times in the game, normally in a inconvient location, a Chubacabra will appear and take away all your magic and relics. You then have to find it and kill it to get them back. This is just trivial and a cheap way to add a couple more minutes of play time to a chapter. It just comes off as annoying.
Just a warning. Chapter 12, the final chapter is a lot like the ending cinematic to Enslaved: Odyssey To The West. I say this because it really does come out of nowhere, is not led up to or have any significance on what has happened up to this point, and has little to no bearing on the plot past this point as well. Overall this game was very average for most of the experience, until I got to the post-credits cutscene where it really won me on side, but you will hear no spoilers from me on that.
Lets talk about the characters starting with Gabriel. I really don't like Gabriel for many reasons. The first thing I noticed was that most of the game he just looks bored, even in the opening fight where he is killing waves of werewolves. Even when a horse appears in front of him and talks, his facial expression doesn't change. The same look of boredom makes when he expresses emotion better by contrast, but why couldn't he have been slightly more emotional all the time? The fact that he has a scottish accent also bothers me. But I can't really complain about that when the first time you meet the god Pan, I couldn't figure out his accent. I thought it was russian but I just don't know.
Gabriel is the only what I would call "Main Character", but there are some supporting cast members who I prefer in some cases to Gabriel for one reason or another. Zobek, Patrick Stewarts character, is likeable and narrates most of the story. Obviously getting as much as possible out of what Patrick Stewart is most recognisable for. His voice. Zobek doesn't do much in the story, just tells the player whats he thinks at the start of the chapter. His actions can get a bit questionable at points, but it never gets old. Gabriel's dead wife Maria plays a very small role in this game, despite the fact that she is the one who is trying to be resurrected. She is a very uninteresting character, but with the next character is gets interesting again.
Pan is my favourite character in this game. He is described as one of the last of the "Old Gods", and it shows. He is portrayed as a beastman, who can turn into a horse, or giant eagle when he feels like it. Likewise he only seems to help Gabriel when he feels like it. I love him for that. Just the general attitude of "I will help you in your quest. When I am in a good mood. Also when it is convient for me and I happen to be in the area."
Overall, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow is a very average game with some good parts and a good final ending. I highly doubt it will be the best game you will ever play, but if you can get it new for about £20 like I did it's worth every penny. Overall verdict 6/10.
This is Tyramatt, signing off.