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E3 2010 games to watch: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow preview

As we mentionedearlier this week, E3 is rapidly approaching with the inevitability of giant stomping bosses appearing in action games. As the second part of our twice-weekly previews showcasing the most aniticipated titles, we're taking a gander at the could-be-good, could-be-meh latest attempt at a 3D Castlevania, the eerily God of War-like Lords of Shadow.

Above: Well, they definitely got the "gothic" feel in there

WhyCastlevania: LoSis one to watch:

  • While it's being done by outside developer Mercury Steam, Konami's creative maestro Hideo Kojima is overseeing the project to ensure quality. He's even said, quite humbly we might add, that he can learn something about game design from the developers. WHA?!?
  • It focuses on cerebral combat instead of mindless flailing. Button mashing, in fact, will probably get you killed. You'll start off with basic attacks, but then develop secondary weapons like daggers, and graduate to magical abilities that can then be combined with your weapons to produce even more effects.
  • You get to play with the Belmont family's signature weapon - the whip. Of course, it's been dolled up and now goes by the moniker of Combat Cross, but c'mon, it's still a whip. There are not enough whips in videogames.

Above: We think that's a leg there

  • Giganto bosses make an entrance. After Shadow of the Colossus popularized them, and God of War III refined them, Castlevania will... um... have them also? Okay, so it feels a bit "me-too" but will we ever get tired of scaling giant monsters and chopping them down? Maybe, but not yet.
  • Despite how it looks, it's not trying to pull a Dante's Inferno and copy God of War - at least according to the developers. They liken it more to Prince of Persia because of the greater emphasis on platforming, puzzles, and exploration, as opposed to visceral combat. The combat will still be more combo-y than previous Castlevanias, but not quite Kratos-levels of slaughter.
  • Boss fights won't involve quick-time events. Everything will happen in real time, with you in control, climbing and slaying the boss inch by inch.
  • While it might not eat up your life as much as Symphony of the Night, it still claims its stake in50 %26ldquo;levels%26rdquo; and a playtime of about 15 hours, so it's nothing to sneeze at and avoids the current trend of 6-8 hour games. We've also seenGabrielastride a horse and agiant bird,which might implyahuge world to explore, although we're not sure just yet.

Above: It also seems to have werewolves riding even bigger werewolves. We hope it's true, because that raises the Stupidly Awesome Quotient (SAQ) by 234%

So are you excited, or worried? Or both?We're all hoping to avoid another Castlevania 64 incident (shudder).Are the Lords of Shadow, whoever they may be, on your E3 2010 gotta-see-its? Or is it at the bottom of your list? Let us know in the comments, or through our portals onFacebookandTwitter.

April 24, 2010

My new approach to play all games on Hard mode straight off the bat has proven satisfying. Sure there is some frustration, but I've decided it's the lesser of two evils when weighed against the boredom of easiness that Normal difficulty has become in the era of casual gaming.