Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 review

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  • BladedFalcon - February 24, 2014 2:18 p.m.

    Man.. the thing that depresses me about this, is that i am almost positive that I won't get to play the game tomorrow, or maybe even in the next few days... Because I have to wait for a retail copy to arrive to my local brick and mortar store, and even when i ask for the game beforehand, it always takes a couple of days if not weeks for it to get here >.< The wait is gonna become more unbearable knowing that the game is technically out, but I STLL can't play it ): Anyway, super excited for the game and also the review, specially if you're the one reviewing it Mr. Hougthon! ^^ You seem to have a good grasp of what made the first game good, and I trust your opinion on this one, be it good or bad.
  • shawksta - February 24, 2014 3:53 p.m.

    That sucks man, hope you get it soon and enjoy it. Im still weeping at my 3DS that wont read my SD cards and i havent gotten to play Ace Attorney 5 yet D:
  • BladedFalcon - February 24, 2014 4:51 p.m.

    Oh, you had that problem too? My 3DS actually refused to read the SD card I had when I tried to download bravely default. I solved this by putting the card in my lap, copying ALL the files, formatting the card, then pasting everything back together. Maybe that can work for you, if not, still copy the files, but try pasting them to another card? one way or another, there has to be a way to get the 3DS to read your files again. I did it, i hope you can too.
  • shawksta - February 24, 2014 5:26 p.m.

    I did that before but it seems like its the card itself being ruined, possibly by the 3DS's reader, something mustve jammed it and puts pressure on the card. I copied them on my computer and put them in a new SD card, and it worked. Except now my 3DS is ruining my new SD card, but i got too much space in my card that it takes decades to actually copy it into the computer, otherwise im just being patient till i get a new 3DS XL before i go out and buy a new SD card. I havent done anything for quite a long while, ill try to do it again.
  • GR_DavidHoughton - January 10, 2014 4:43 a.m.

    Re: the No Russian scene that everyone's understandably discussing: Yeah, as far as I'm concerned, it was totally justified. Fact is, Gabriel/Dracula is no longer the hero he was in the first game. There's been a drastic change in his personality, circumstances and outlook. And that NEEDS to be established. As a video game protagonist, if the developers aren't careful, his monstrous nature (and thus some of the heavy dramatic beats of the story) is going to be forgotten as soon as the player bonds with him as an avatar. Previous to this scene, the tutorial/opening mecha-titan level play out with very little introduction or background context, meaning that it would be very easy for the player to forget the bigger picture of what is going on and who they're controlling. Narratively, the feeding scene is absolutely justified as a short, sharp shock to snap the player out of any perception that this might just be a superpowered version of Gabriel. It's a total 'Not in Kansas any more' moment, and it's really necessary in the cementing of Dracula as a desperate monster, waiting for death, rather than a troubled hero.
  • mafyooz - January 10, 2014 3:26 a.m.

    REALLY looking forward to this game! :D The "No Russian" scene wouldn't bother me to be honest, I used to love vampire based fiction in the good old days before Anne Rice started the shitty slide towards making them sympathetic, tortured romantics. I seem to recall the Wamphyri from Brian Lumley's Necroscope series being particularly ruthless and sadistic examples of how vamps should be, and if it didn't bother me reading about that kind of stuff (especially with my hyperactive imagination) there's no reason anything in a game should.
  • GOD - January 9, 2014 9 p.m.

    The fixed camera is basically why I didn't get the previous game, so that alone makes me want this one, let alone all the other nice changes. I ultimately just want to form a rat circus though.
  • Vonter - January 9, 2014 8:46 p.m.

    Hmm slide 16. Could it be?
  • GR_DavidHoughton - January 10, 2014 2:22 a.m.

    'Fraid not. That's Trevor/Alucard in child form.
  • Outofmanyone - January 9, 2014 5:42 p.m.

    Great preview Dave. I'm glad to hear good things so far about the free-roaming camera; MercurySteam has said that was the biggest complaint they've received from the first game and they put a lot of time and effort into the camera's redesign so, this shows they are listening to feedback which I respect of the company. LoS is a personal favorite of mine and the I think the main reason being I really felt like Gabriel cared for his wife Marie, especially during the ending of LoS after the final battle. There aren't many games that focus on the relationship between husband and wife--let alone without it feeling forced--so I'm curious if there will be any mention of Gabriel's wife, if he reflects on the events of LoS or if the human part of him just cease to exist. I'll have to go find and play through MoF, before the LoS II is released.
  • Vonter - January 9, 2014 6:41 p.m.

    I think the last trailer hinted visions of his wife still haunt Gabriel. But also, of course it'll be mentioned it his obsession. I hope MoF story bring the family concept in a clever way and not just to add more tragedy, since that has been the only key these series seems to play.
  • Vonter - January 9, 2014 2:01 p.m.

    As for the sequence I imagine is something like Poseidon death sequence, did it go to black when killing the girl? Also didn't Ninja Gaiden also tried to do this? I think in the end is personal if its warranted or not. Also No Russian still gave you the choice of killing or not several civilians. I think the one that mostly bother me was the death scenes of Garcia's girlfriend in Shadows of the Damned and the death sequences in Tomb Raider.
  • BladedFalcon - January 9, 2014 2:33 p.m.

    "you stumble towards the mother and daughter and - in first-person perspective for added effect - feast on the hapless young woman while her little girl whimpers in the corner. Having drained the corpse you then reach out toward the child; the camera cuts away and the little girl screams." Ripped off straight from IGN's preview of the game. So that should put an end to the question of whether it fades out in time or not. See, good thing you mentioned the death sequences in Tomb raider, because I actually feel that THAT is a good example of a dark sequence that's purely exploitative, because first, it's not really consequential at all to the story or the character, (because obviously, you're supposed to DIE on those moments int he story.) and they aren't really consistent with the rest of the tone of the game. To me, THAT is what makes scenes like that gratituous, when they are shown for the sake of it, but have no point to make. I can't judge the scene described in LoS2 fully yet until I see it for myself, but overall, it sounds lie while it may be hard to swallow, it DOES serves a very important purpose to the story. Which is to remind us that however sympathetic and whatever good left might be in Gabriel, he has effectively become something else, something monstrous. Furthermore... it's a scene that makes complete sense within the context of the story and the characters. The essence of vampires is that they feed off human blood to survive, is it not? Thus, you have a vampire, that has not fed in Millenia, who's incredibly weak and powerless, and needs to become strong again. it makes sense he'd need to feed again, and, like Dave Houghton aptly compared him to, a Vampire might as well be like a hungry lion, tiger, or any other kind of carnivorous beast. You lock it up in a room with humans, and that's exactly what happens, regardless of the human's age or gender.
  • EmiyaLightbringer - January 9, 2014 11:57 a.m.

    Thanks for the preview, Mr. Houghton! Though there're some concerns on the Stealth parts I believe MercurySteam will deliver them, and everything else in the game, in adecuate amounts to satisfy the player. Ready or not, my body needs this NOW!
  • shawksta - January 9, 2014 11:25 a.m.

    Not bad, pretty thrilling. looking awesome. The scene was in first person specifically? Damn
  • Moondoggie1157 - January 9, 2014 8:54 a.m.

    "I’m in a dark, locked room. I hear whimpering, eventually growing to full-blown screaming and pleas. I find a young family in the room with me. They’re freaking out in the way that you would if you found yourself locked in a cage with a hungry lion. Because effectively, they are. I have no choice but to feed on all three of them, saving the little girl ‘til last" Maybe there are some things that just shouldn't be simulated, I understand creative freedom, and I get that it's "not a real world" in a video game. But, there are just some things that we should be kept ignorant to. If this was a movie, or even a cutscene in a video game I would have no problem with it, it's the fact that you the player are made to commit the act. I felt really wierd after "No Russian" and I don't think I've played it more than once. I'm a horror movie fan, I love gore, cheesy or "scary". But when it comes to situations involving rape, or the murdering of an innocent family they should be merely insinuated, greek-play style. I know MANY movies, TV shows, whatever or guilty of this, and I have seen MANY movies, etc that are guilty of this. I just don't feel that we need to experience everything we can in the first person to make whatever creative medium involved more "realistic", or sorry, not realistic "gritty" is the word we use now. I don't need to feed on a young girl in first person as Dracula to feel like I am a monster, I'm mothafuckin' Dracula. Don't get me wrong, I'll likely play the game at some point, but this does bug me. I have a question for Houghton, do you think the scene with the trapped family was needed to portray Dracula's true nature? Or do you see it as something that was added mostly for controversy like "No Russian"?
  • gilgamesh310 - January 9, 2014 10:03 a.m.

    Well that's you then. Just because you feel uncomfortable with it doesn't mean that none of us should be prevented from experiencing the moment.
  • Moondoggie1157 - January 9, 2014 10:53 a.m.

    Your comment made me feel even more uncomfortable, are you saying you WANT to experience that moment? I sure hope not...
  • BladedFalcon - January 9, 2014 11:23 a.m.

    I don't think he meant it that way. I think showing a scene like that, within the context of the game, and who you're playing as, is meant to drive home a point. And the point may not be pleasant, but it may be necessary for what the developers are trying to tell. As such, I think that what Gilgamesh meant to say is that if that's how the developer wants to tell the story, then he wants to experience that, even if some scenes or moments are challenging or hard to swallow. Concerning your point of view. I can understand it, but at the same time it feels like a hypocritical, conformational kind of stance. You're going to play a M rated game about a vampire, a MONSTER who's going to murder hundreds of humans and soldiers in brutal, gruesome ways, and you seem to be completely fine with that. But the moment the game says "okay, let me show you a more personal moment of evil to show just what kind of creature you are" You think that's unacceptable? even though it's all simulated anyway? Also, answering a bit of what you mentioned in your first post: No, the game doesn't actually show you when you feed on the girl, it cuts away before that. So it's not going THAT far and it's not being exploitative in that sense.
  • gilgamesh310 - January 9, 2014 11:50 a.m.

    Yes, I meant that.
  • Vonter - January 9, 2014 10:50 a.m.

    This. Games used to be about having fun. I know engagement has been a new high for games but if it has to be less fun I'm worried about the medium. Is like if movies go only for dialogue and exposition scenes instead visual narrative.
  • BladedFalcon - January 9, 2014 10:58 a.m.

    Games can be a variety of things, just like films can tackle a vast array of subjects and themes. Not all of them have to be a single thing, not all of them have to be sup0er serious, and not all of them have to be mindless, unchallenging fun. Also, just because a game wants to challenge you and actually THINK about what you're doing, or WHY you're doing it doesn't necessarily make it any less fun, specially if the game itself IS fun. But again, gaming is plenty varied, if that bothers you, you have plenty of other options for you. Gaming and it's creators don't have to adapt to only your tastes.
  • Vonter - January 9, 2014 11:08 a.m.

    The first game was beautiful, somber and very dramatic. The gameplay dragged because the first section took too damn long making the other two sections feel rushed at times. Still not that is bad I didn't had fun memories of that game, mainly because it took itself very seriously (and the chupacabras was more annoying than a comic relief). Not all games have to focus on the fun, or being funny, I liked Killer 7 even if its a tedious game. Still I hope this Castlevania doesn't try to hard like the first LoS because I felt it was why it didn't achieve expectations, and also I'm hopefully optimistic that it ties loose ends and not leave it as DLC. (when did Gabriel became a vampire exactly?)

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More Info

Release date: Feb 25 2014 - Xbox 360, PS3 (US)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3
Genre: Action
Published by: Konami
Developed by: MercurySteam
Franchise: Castlevania
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language, Nudity