Castlevania: Lords of Shadow | Mirror of Fate Review

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Publisher(s): MercurySteam
Developer(s): Konami
Platform(s): Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: March 5, 2013

I want to start this off by saying that Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate is my first Castlevania game. I want to follow that up by saying that I really wish it wasn’t. If you’re looking for a solid action game for your 3DS, stay away from this. Closmof looks and plays like a shitty God of War clone; it tried really hard to keep an old series relevant in a changing medium and fell right on its face.

Most modern games have an in depth tutorial. Closmof ups the bar for hand holding in the beginning to new, pathetic heights. After explaining that the circle pad is for movement and how to attack, you will come across a shrine or something to restore all of your health that you didn’t lose in the first fights. Of course, there is a button prompt explaining how to use the shrine. What you don’t expect is to watch your health bar fill up and then be told your health bar filled up. You probably also didn’t expect there to be a button prompt every time you see a shrine, but this game lacks subtlety.

The reason for the nitpicking on the tutorial is that instead of this being a tutorial, this is setting the tone for the whole game. Prepare yourself to never be able to figure something out for yourself. Button prompts clue you in to every object you can interact with, and a hint pops up telling you what to do. Not only are these prompts annoying, they are unnecessary. The amount of interaction in Closmof is severely limited. The number of objects you can move is less than the number of times I found myself caring about this game, and half of them are different types of boxes.


While a lack of interaction within the environment might be excusable (it’s not), this stems from my biggest complaint with the game: it’s easy. Do yourself a favor, if for some reason you pick up this game, immediately put it on “hard.” After two hours of “normal” difficulty, my only deaths were from personal mistakes in platforming. Every enemy thus far had basically died from my menacing glare. There’s an “easy” option, but I didn’t even bother with it. Don’t think I’m an amazing gamer who can beat any game (I can’t even 720 no scope in Modern Warfare), Closmof is just that easy; your average level is: straightforward platforming, three enemies, hand holding, and a loading screen.

None of these complaints really get across how easy this is though. There are checkpoints in boss fights. Let’s say you’re fighting the first big boss of the game: a naked woman with large breasts who heals herself by making out with other nude, busty women (side note: I don’t remember designing the characters in this game, but I must have), and she somehow manages to kill you. You’ll lose about thirty seconds of progress because there are constant checkpoints in these fights. You’ll even come back with full health and magic. It’s insulting to the player. The fact that every boss is killed by a quick time event is just salt in the wound.

Handholding and lack of difficulty aside, the game suffers both technically and artistically. When you do manage to find enemies to fight, the frame rate will dip noticeably. On top of that, hit detection barely comes into play here. Several times I found myself getting hit by attacks that were nowhere near me. This has little to do with the 3DS itself, as Kid Icarus: Uprising had plenty of enemies crowding the screen and never suffered in its frame rate. As for the hit detection, that’s just shoddy programming at work here. What this really shows is that either the developer was forced to push this out the door by the publisher, or they just didn’t care. I don’t know which is more likely.


Artistically speaking, it’s easy to see where there was a genuine effort put forth. Some of the set pieces have a large scale and are intricate. They are there to impress, and do so. On the flip side, there are two styles of cutscene for some reason: one is your usual style where it looks the same as the game play, and the other is a motion comic style. The motion comic style is cool, but it fails to deliver. More times than not I was staring at the character’s mouths as opposed to the whole scene. I did this because as a character spoke, their mouths opened and closed like an untalented ventriloquist. It was distracting to say the least.

If you see Closmof for five dollars in the bargain bin and have a flight coming up, pick it up. It will serve as a time waster that doesn’t need to be touched ever again. If you’re hoping to relive the glory days of Castlevania or find something that isn’t generic in an over saturated market, you’re out of luck. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate made the mistake lots of long running franchises do. It tried to appeal to a new market and keep its fans; in the end, neither camp will want it.

Final Score “I can’t believe I played the whole thing” 4.0
Graphics
Not the best way to show off the 3DS’s capabilities, but not the worst looking game on the system. The jagged edges and low resolution are to be expected, but nothing about it makes it stand out.
6.5
Gameplay
Casual combat, pointless leveling up, hand holding, and easier platforming than Uncharted. You unlock new combos, but they aren’t necessary and don’t always work.
3.0
Value
Closmof is about four dollars per hour. Not too bad for a good game. Unfortunately, this is not a good game, and those hours are not spent full of wonder and enjoyment. The lack of gameplay modes other than single player seals the deal.
3.0
Sound
The sound effects are completely run of the mill, and the voice acting is atrocious. The score is epic and intense, however it never builds. Or, should I say it never builds. Every level is given the same scale of grandeur in the music, so instead of every level feeling intense, none of them do.

5.5

Review by Chris Lohr
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Chris Lohr is a freelance writer currently in film school. If you’re looking for him to write for your website, manifesto, or Russian bride catalogue, send an email to puddinginasock@gmail.com. Put today’s date as the subject line and include a picture of yourself. Must be DDD free and willing to host. All Articles by Chris.



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