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Lords of Shadow 2: A New Spin on Castlevania

/ Jun 7th, 2013 No Comments

Lords of Shadow 2

[adsense250itp]Lords of Shadow 2 is not the Castlevania many gamers grew up playing, but try to forget that. Forget that Alucard was using a whip in Mirror of Fate, that in this continuity, the Belmonts are both the lineage of Dracula and his hunters, and that it does not follow the same “kill Dracula” format that is the series staple. Instead think of Lords of Shadow 2 as a great “what if” scenario. Remember that this is a short spin off on the series and this will be the last game of the trilogy. There is no telling what they will do with the series next, but Lords of Shadow is not burying the series gamers have loved for years on end. It is merely providing them with an alternate story offering a new take on familiar characters.

Lords of Shadow 2

Lords of Shadow 2

Lords of Shadow 2 lets gamers play as Dracula; not his reincarnation, not his half as powerful offspring, but the man himself. That is pretty damn cool. The first Lords of Shadow allowed us to witness Gabriel’s rise to power, but ended right as he obtained the dark abilities that turned him into The Dragon, Dracul. It was infuriating to be cut off right as our protagonist reached his peak, but now we get to finally see the fruits of our labor in action as Gabriel takes his vengeance on the world while defending himself from the many people who want him dead.

Letting players take up the role as the villain this time gives Lords of Shadow 2 something that is very rare for videogames: an unpredictable ending. There is plenty going on in this story that does not seem like it will end with the typical “good guys beat the enemy” concept we’re used to. Gabriel’s complex past makes it difficult to decide what kind of ending fans should root for.

When he was a man, Gabriel expunged the Lords of Shadow from the world. He was a noble man who defended those in need, and while his motivation was the selfish desire of resurrecting his wife, he still stopped to do right by people. Even his transformation into Dracula was a means to save the world, not just to gain power. On the other hand, he has also done some despicable acts since his transformation including destroying villages and even killing his own daughter-in-law. He is a tortured villain/protagonist whose end is probably not going to be markedly happy.

Further complicating the story we have both Alucard and Satan seeking revenge on Gabriel for two very different reasons, and another yet to be revealed Belmont out to kill him as well. Gabriel’s only ally is Death who has already betrayed him in the past. The stage is set for a very interesting game that promises not to be a cliché “hero slays the villain” event.

Lords of Shadow 2

The Belmonts are a family bitten.

Another interesting concept integrated into Lords of Shadow 2 is city exploration. Gameplay will not be confined to Dracula’s castle as players will also get to go out into the modern world. While this might be bothersome to many old school fans who just want the castle exploration aspect, try to put nostalgia aside and think of this as a new experience. Dracula roaming a modern city is an interesting gameplay aspect. It promises to be stylistically remarkable as the designers have said they are designing it to fit with the gothic themes found in the series.

Mirror of Fate was a bit of a disappointment. It was both tragically short and the story did not seem to be all there. It was definitely a bridge game to lead us into the sequel. So far Lords of Shadow 2 looks to be far more of a complete game than its handheld predecessor. It is clear the game developers have spent more time on it. They have in their hands all the elements for a complex and interesting story, we can only hope they do not drop the ball.

Taylor Scott

Taylor Scott

Associate Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
Taylor is a newcomer to Gaming Illustrated and part of the Editorials team. He's an avid writer, gamer, and explorer. He has aspirations to write graphic novels but when he's not working on that or tromping through the mountains he's probably playing games.
Taylor Scott
Taylor Scott
Taylor Scott

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