We really liked it, but Lord of Shadow didnt please everyone. Some didnt like how it took after modern hack and slash games, and complained about a, shall we say, overuse of the third dimension. Thats why Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate really has our curiosity. Itll continue the intriguing new plot line established by the first game, and as a 2.5D game, its a chance for the series to go back to its side-scrolling roots. Weve had enough time with this game for a preview, but were still wondering just how Metroidvania this game will be
Make it like Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
The plot revolves around Gabriel Belmont, on a quest to rescue his murdered lover from purgatory. Ok, so its a tad Dantes inferno, too. But lets discuss what elements of this 2012 console release wed like to see in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate when it hits 3DS
It has to be big
It wasnt as big as, say, Symphony of the Night, but well get to that game later. Lords of Shadow just knew how to go large and do it right. Plus, it kept the series tradition of big enemies, even bigger bosses, and had us climb up giant foes in a way like God of War IIIs Titan sequences combined with Shadow of the Colossus.
How about riding levels, and a talking horse?
Oh, and that horse? It could talk. No big deal or anything, Lords of Shadow tended to be very no nonsense about the craziest stuff. Eventually we were riding giant spiders, trolls and even Wargs ourselves. These crazy, adrenaline pumping sequences were an awesome variation to the pace of combat. Wed love to see something like this in Mirror of Fate. Imagine how awesome the forest would look, whipping past us in 3D, as we rode whatever horror creature the game had thrown at us.
Can it be grim and goofy?
Castlevania games are always dark, but we dont mind the right amount of humor to bring some levity to all undead slaying. Remember that talking horse, how it just leapt out of the bushes like, yep, Im a talking horse and this is completely normal. Sure, it was actually the forest spirit Pan, helping us out in the form of a magical steed, but that doesnt make it any less crazy. Were hoping that Mirror of Fate can maintain this sort of tone. We may be in luck; if those mischievous hunchbacks weve been seeing in clips from the game are any indication, it wont be taking itself too seriously. Hopefully it can walk that fine line between goofy and grim.
No more tap to escape
Lords of Shadow also had system of timing-based hit the buttonnow quick time events. These usually happened when climbing around on a monster, finishing off a bad guy, or sometimes to escape an environmental peril. Theyre a step up from the typical spam this button to not die affair, but with the 3DSs touch screen, we think Mirror of Fate could do something even more unique. Thats what were hoping for, anyway.
The puzzles need to be compelling
This was one of the games best puzzles. A simple logical challenge yes, but by integrating a story element i.e. wanting Marie to not be chopped in half into the situation, it becomes all the more compelling. Not every puzzle in Lords of Shadow was so great some were a tad obtuse or rather rote, just there to break up all the demon slaying. However, a handful of them were close to brilliance. Were hoping for more of those.
Make it like Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
Plot-wise, it was pretty much the same old song and dance. Dracs castle appears, he and his monster army start making trouble in the neighborhood of Europe, and Trevor Belmont is tapped to bust some demon heads. Of course, as we mentioned, Belmont isnt the only undead fighter undertaking this mission
Distinct characters, please
Now, the twist: Trevor could only have one sidekick at a time. Switching between the two was as easy as hitting select, but players could only have one companion at a time. Again, this was a game designed to be played over and over again, since knowing the map was key choosing the most useful sidekick. We doubt Mirror of Fate will have instant switching like this, but we do hope the characters and their abilities will be as distinct.
Make it like Super Castlevania IV
The 16-bit SNES made for better graphics, bigger characters and more complex environments including some that were outside of the castle. Also, Super Castlevania IV made a big new addition to the series signature penchant for platforming. Simon could now use his whip to swing off of hooks scattered around the castle, something that Lords of Shadow really latched onto.
Take it out of the Castle
Since Lords of Shadow used IVs system of swinging on the whip extensively, we know it will be a given in Mirror of Fate. Were hope well also get to see some of the weird enemies that haunted Super Castlevania IV the flying horseheads, evil porcupine creatures and pole vaulting skeletons that smashed themselves to bits.
Make it like Castlevania: Rondo of Blood
Rondo of Blood had a pseudo remake of sorts, Castlevania: Dracula X, which ported the game to Super Nintendo. For some reason though, the games art style, level design and music were all tweaked, mostly for the worse, making it more of a knock-off than a port.
The bosses need to be massive
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow did a great job of keeping this series tradition alive, but were intrigued to see what Mirror of Fate will do on 3DS. With its more 2D style, it doesnt seem like the kind of game where well be climbing on and hacking apart bosses, a la God of War. Were hoping for the dire, side scrolling showdowns like in Rondo, with the horror brought to life by stereoscopic 3D.
Make it like Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow
Dawn of Sorrow featured a colorful style and nasty, fleshy monster designs. As far as continuity goes, its a sequel to Aria of Sorrow, and employs similar gameplay mechanics. Like Aria, its set in the near future of 2036, but it doesnt do much with the setting other than throw a handgun or two into play. This is a likely sign that MercurySteams reboot was just what the series needed.
Ingenious upgrades and a better use of the touch screen
Were also hoping Mirror of Fate will make a better use of the 3DSs touch screen. Dawns Magical Seals system used the stylus to trace shapes and deliver the finishing blow to bosses. It felt a bit tacked on, not really adding much to the already robust combat. As far as touch features, the Mirror of Fate developers have said players will be able to write notes on the map using the stylus. It sounds like a great concept, since it suggests that the maps will be big and complex.
Make it like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Symphony was gigantic and built for exploration. Best of all, it was constantly doling out new gear and abilities. When you first encountered an enemy, hed be deadly. Then, after leveling up a bit and finding the proper move to dispatch him, hed be like a gnat. This might be the fan favorite-ist Castlevania games of all time, and while the team behind Mirror of Fate has said theyre not interested in remaking Symphony of the Night or any Metroid game, theres still a ton they could glean from this classic title
Alucard needs to be awesome
While its been confirmed that Alucard will be playable in Mirror of Fate, since this is a new story continuity, were not sure how much of his old backstory will be relevant. Thats fine, but we would like to see some of his classic spells and abilities. Dark Metamorphosis and Wing Smash, which allowed him to heal by killing enemies and attack in bat form, were great nods to his vampire lineage. Wed also like it if he had his shield and backwards dash ability from Symphony those two are sort of the classic combo.
Build level upon level
Backtracking is one aspect of Metroidvania gameplay we know will be part of this new 3DS game. The developers have said the game will let players use the stylus to write notes on the map, as reminders of places to revisit after acquiring new powers or switching to a new character. This is an intriguing feature, and the sign of some big possibilities for the campaigns structure.
More Gothic hyperbole
Let us go out this evening for pleasure. The night is still young, was the phrase from Symphonys game over screen. We never knew quite what it was in reference to. Was Dracula trying to encourage us to try again, or to put down the controller and take a break? We may never know.
Make it like Castlevania: Legends
The team behind Mirror of Fates has announced three playable characters: Trevor and Simon Belmont, as well as Alucard. Theyre being tight-lipped about the fourth and final cast member, but since this is meant to be a story about the Belmont clan, could an appearance by Sonia be in the cards? We hope so.
What should we slay next?
And if you want more downright horrific speculation, check out What We Want from Dead Space 3 and Diablo III Expansion - Six character classes we want to see.