Copyright Adam Schlosser
Contact:
aschloss@gmail.com


Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser


Posted by Pip

LFL7- Beer Pressure

Really that's all you need to establish up front. If you're hitting on some random person in a bar, why wouldn't you like to be reassured that she's not evil. Why isn't that a standard greeting or on business cards? “Hi, my name is Pip and I've never murdered anybody.” I would feel better hearing that.
I don't think Lust's line of thinking would go over well in the medical community. Nurses tend to frown upon being referred to as “minions”. “Henchmen” and “goons” don't fly either. Go figure!


Long, I've played... questionable things Review: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow- What LoS does well is establishing the "world" of Castlevania. It's not just the usual Earth circa way back when, it's the Middle Ages with mysticism and myth every where in the land and architecture. Even just reading enemy profiles there are little blurbs about how human's building villages has effected the environment and led to a decline in the goblin population. Little stuff like that is great. Just about everything, eh, kind of lousy. The part of the game I soldiered through was far too vastly weighed towards combat over everything else. Combat that is ridiculousy QTE heavy. Enemies with about six times more health than is even remotely necessary Combat that is unashamedly cribbed from other games but misses out on the finer points. Regular fighting is right out of God of War but it doesn't have the flow or speed and by not assigning the evade move to the right stick, it has a really clumsy block and evade system. Boss fights are ripped from Shadows of the Colossus but they're tedious and annoying, forcing you to redo large sections, being unclear on what some of the goals are, and have terrible hit detection. Combat that feels like that you're dialing in moves rather than Gabe acting when you press a button. If you jump and press jump again while still in the air, Gabriel will hit the ground and then hop up again even though you pressed the button a second or two ago. You wind up leaving yourself open to damage frequently because you pressed the attack button one too many times and the game dials that in so you keep swinging after the enemy has already moved. There there are even terrible vehicle segments in the form of not fun and unnecessary beast riding segments.
The bits that aren't combat don't shine either. There's really no reason for most of the game to be in 3D. There are invisible walls everywhere and you're frequently on very small paths boxed in by invisible walls so you can only move forward and back. You might as well just leave it 2D and not worry yourself with the camera and control problems. Even in those tight spaces with a static camera, the angles for the platforming and trying to figure out your depth perception doesn't always go smoothly. Then there are traps strewn about just to make things more annoying. One area has you trudging through a swamp at speeds where old ladies would lap you and there are timed sections where you have to navigate from safe spots and around hazards. Since you move so damn slow, sections come down to blind luck. The first time I went through a long area, the hazard and safe spots weren't synchronized so I couldn't help but get damaged because while waiting for one spot to turn safe, the spot I was standing in became a hazard. Then there were hazard spots that overlapped with safe spots so even standing in a safe zone, I'd still get hurt. After I died and got back to this area, I passed the whole section without taking damage and didn't encounter any of those problems. So either I hit on a bug or I got ridiculously awesome in the span of two minutes.
One area it does fantastically in is sound. The music is very different from the usual Castlevania fare. Some of the pieces lean towards the beautiful and sweeping side of the scale compared to the more upbeat and energetic CV classics. I'd definitely pick up the soundtrack for the right price but you could only get it if you pre-ordered the game. To not stick soundtracks up on Amazon or iTunes a year after a game is out is ridiculous. Even the voice acting is good. Patrick Stewart is a perfect choice for the narrator. He has a great voice and he speaks in a refined way but it's still really hammy and that suits CV well.

Ultimately, it was a beast riding section that had me call it quits just a few hours into the game. I got to a wall, the game prompt told me to jump to start climbing, so I hopped off my beast only to find out that Gabriel can't climb the vine, the warg could. Which, you know, makes complete sense. Since dismounting a beast automatically kills it, I would have had to run back a minute or two, fight another warg, ride it back to this spot, and the move ahead. Those steps were enough for me to call it quits. Five minutes of backtracking were enough to get me to admit that I didn't want to play this anymore and that wasn't even remotely having fun. It's a poorly designed game and not worth your time, Castlevania fan or not.
Sins Committed: Bad controls, Bad camera, Repetitive combat, Took much combat, Bad platforming, Ridiculously gratuitous nudity shoved in your face without warning
Virtues Acted: Good music, Good world, The way Castlevania is cheesy no matter how seriously you approach it